Naturopathic Swine Flu Prevention Strategies
No one quite knows what to expect with Swine Flu this winter. The best way to stay healthy is to prevent getting sick in the first place. Here are the strategies we suggest that you and your friends and family can employ to make your immune system as strong as possible to fight off the flu.
By Kristina Lewis, ND and Eric Lewis, ND
Minimize Exposure. One of the best ways to prevent getting the flu is good, old fashioned hand-washing. This doesn’t mean running your hands under water for a few seconds. Instead, use warm water, plenty of soap, and really rub your hands together vigorously while singing “Happy Birthday” to know how long you should keep washing.
- Get enough sleep and minimize stress as much as possible. Your body cannot fight off illness without adequate rest. Exercise, yoga, and meditation can all reduce the effects that stress has on the body.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, good carbs, fats and protein. Some special immune boosting foods include garlic, onions, and brightly colored vegetables.
- Stay away from ARTIFICIAL FOODS and SUGARS. This fall and winter in particular, avoid artificial sugars and processed carbs as much as you can—including sodas, white bread, and refined pasta.
Prevention with Nutritional Supplements:
There are many ways to support your immune system with nutritional supplements. These are our favorites and what we are recommending to our patients this fall and winter.
- Take 2 a day starting now and throughout the flu season as a preventative measure.
- If you feel like you are starting to get sick, bump your levels up to 2-4 every 1-4 hours.
- If you are pregnant or breast feeding, contact us for an alternative suggestion as this formula should not be used by those patients.
- For kids under age 3, take ½ tablet once a day for prevention, and ½ a tablet 3 times a day when sick.
- Ages 3 or older, take 1-2 full tablets a day for prevention, and 4-8 tablets a day when sick.
- Vitamin D has well-known immune boosting properties, and has been directly associated with fighting influenza in a recent scientific review.
- During an active infection, your body uses extra Vitamin D, so making sure you have enough going into flu season and then taking extra if you do get sick are both important.
- It is generally recommended that up to 2000 IU a day of Vitamin D is safe for most people. If you are taking higher amounts it is suggested to have your blood levels monitored.
- A recent study (August 2009) showed that daily probiotic dietary supplementation during the winter months was a safe & effective way to dramatically reduce the occurrence of colds and flu. It has long been known to be beneficial for the immune system.
- To keep your immune system boosted, we recommend HMF Forte, 1-2 capsules a day, taken with meals.
For more information on these supplements, please refer to the Flu Prevention section of our website.