1.) EAT WELL. People underestimate this one. Most of your body's immune defenses are in your gut. If you have digestive issues, have been on anti-biotics (these kill the good AND bad bacteria in your gut), or are a heavy starch or sugar eater, watch out. You are starting the race at a disadvantage.
The Sugar Factor. It's so sad that there is a sugar factor and that it is bad. I have the biggest sweet tooth (should I tell you that I save the frosting from cakes and brownies for the last to eat them straight? Makes me salivate just thinking about it). The sad truth is SUGAR DEPLETES THE BODY OF ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS.
"Sugar impairs the functioning of your immune system by weakening the white blood cells. White blood cells are essential to your state of health; they eat-up foreign invaders and seek to destroy cancerous cells. Flu Season starts in America around Halloween and continues through the Spring." (45-47, Dr. Bob's Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days)
Interesting stuff! Now listen, I'm not a total fanatic and I have my treats but eater beware! Make sure you are eating well, getting enough sleep, keeping your hands clean and cuing in to your body's stress signals. This is why mama always forbid sugar the moment a sore throat cropped-up. However, by then you are already too late.
Here is one final bit to chew on that I find fascinating; also from Dr. Bob's book: A 12 -ounce can of soda contains 9 tsp. of sugar. An 8-ounce serving of fruit-flavored yogurt contains almost as much. Your white blood cells can process a certain amount of bacteria in 30 minutes. Twelve teaspoons of sugar (equal to a frosted brownie, mmmmm) lowers your immunity by 60% - your white blood cells can process 5.5 bacteria in 30 minutes opposed to 14 bacteria when no sugar has been consumed.) That's nuts!
And finally, if you are avoiding the bad stuff, make sure you are eating the good stuff! Clean, real foods! Salads are a great way to get your veggie on (homemade salad dressings are the key here!), healthy fats and oils, good quality proteins.
2.) SLEEP, SLEEP and SLEEP some more. I'm finding that sleep is something that needs to be written into our planners. It is nearly impossible to get to bed at a decent hour these days with all of the running around we do and everything we fill our days with. Funny though that we skimp on the one part of our day where all the magic happens.
"You release most of your slimming hormones when you sleep, like HGH (Human Growth Hormone, which helps control and regulate appetite). Conversely, when you don't sleep, you release hormones like cortisol (which promote fat storage) and grehlin (which stimulates appetite)." (177, Slim for Life).
True, Jillian's information is all about your slim. I quoted it here simply to give you an idea of some of how your sleep affects your body processes. Interesting that you start storing fat when you aren't getting sleep eh? Sleep is when muscles repair, growth happens and immune systems are bolstered. Get your 7-8 hours of shut-eye and pencil your bedtime into your planner depending on what time you wake-up. I get up to work-out at six so I know that I will have to skip it if I go to bed later than eleven.
3.) Stop sweating the small stuff. Or in other words, it's time to stop the stress. Stress also lowers your body's immune system and ability to fight infection. Do you remember the last time you ran yourself ragged skimping on sleep, eating poorly and stressing out about that thing? You wore yourself out and became wide-open to illness. There is no better time than now to take care of yourself and stay calm!
4.) Wash your hands and keep surfaces clean. We've heard it a million times, but it has to be re-said. Keep your hands washed and away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Give your kids a chance each day to participate on 'Germ Patrol,' meaning they go around the house with an antibacterial wipe and scrub down all door knobs, light switches, cabinet knobs and TV buttons and remotes. The wipes are easy and quick to use, just be sure to wash your hands well when you are done. Make everybody wash their hands after they blow their nose or exit the bathroom regardless of what they were doing.
Okay, so you've done what you can to prevent illness. Now that it has bypassed all of your barricades, this is what you do when you start feeling 'off.'
1.) At the first signs whip out the following:
- Umcka. I found the syrup to be more potent than the chews.
- Herbal Tea. Herbal tea makes me shudder; I've never been a fan. Until I found Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice tea. To make it a truly delightful concoction, I add one drop of cinnamon essential oil and 1-2 drops of Wild Orange oil. Give it a good stir and oh it is divine. I favor DoTerra Essential Oils.
- Coconut Oil. Cold-pressed, un-refined coconut oil not only boosts your metabolism but is also anti-bacterial AND anti-viral. Three tablespoons a day is the key. It is totally unpleasant but I just plug my nose and swallow a spoonful. Don't be afraid of the fat, really.
- Essential Oils. If I can be totally honest here, I have had more success with essential oils than I have with OTC meds. Melaleuca works better on a cough than Robitussin. Peppermint oil behind the ears and being diffused in a room works amazing as a decongestant. Lavender and peppermint oil help bring fevers down. On Guard, Thyme and Oregano taken in a capsule have antibacterial properties. I take my oils with me everywhere I go. Invest in them and you won't regret it.
- Vitamins. Vitamin D is actually more important in fighting bugs than Vitamin C (although C is still important). Try to get a vitamin that is plant-based and made from food versus synthetically (chemical/fake) made products (most of the stuff available at your grocery store is pointless). I like Standard Process.
- My delicious autumn soup. :) There was a chill in the air a couple of days ago and my husband caught the fall bug (excitement for autumn) and started craving my autumn soup to the point that that is what I made for dinner last night. It is delicious, healthy comfort food. The recipe is on my recipe page. Throw everything in the crock pot and anticipate the goodness.
And yes, a ton of water, lots of sleep, chicken noodle soup, no sugar and no stress. (I've long since ditched Campbell's for all of its processed nastiness and since found a soup that I LOVE that doesn't have any of the junk in it, Annie Chun's Chinese Chicken Soup. You can get it in bulk on Amazon). And people, if your kid is sick, keep them home and help stop the spread. If your kiddo has a fever, they are contagious for up to 48 hours once the fever has broken. Good luck. May the force be with you.