Build Your Immune System In Cold and Flu Season

Other than a vaccine, How do I change my Immune system?

Poor Sleep can affect the immune system.

Research shows that Adults who are not sleeping well or not sleeping 7-8 hours a night are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. This happens because the cytokines produced to defeat these viruses are low if lack of sleep or poor quality sleep occur. The research also shows that kids age 3-20 need closer to 10 hours of sleep per night for the same protective effect. 

How do I train myself to sleep better? Or My Kids?

This is always a hot topic. Sleep deprivation is as dangerous if not more dangerous than driving under the influence. So how do we change your outcomes? 

  1. Start by setting an alarm on when it is time to go to bed. Regardless of what you are doing, stop, finish in less than 5 minutes and go to your bedroom to get ready and get into bed. 
  2. Stop using electronics, including a kindle or iPad to read, after 7pm. Studies show that the stimulation from the blue light on devices like computers, television, tablets, and cell phones disrupt the normal cycle of melatonin production. This disrupts the brain’s ability to shut down and calm. That lack of calm can cause difficulty sleeping. 
  3. Get up at the same time EVERYDAY. Yes, even on the weekend. This is important because you’re teaching your body a cycle. When you get up, try not to hit snooze. Around time changes, the week leading in, start adjusting your alarm setting by 10 minutes daily so that you can adjust your body to the new time. 
  4. Stop all caffeine: tea, coffee, chocolate, stimulants in supplements; by 12 noon, or 9 hours before bed time. 
  5. Drink more water. One of the major causes of poor sleep at altitude is dehydration. Drinking more water can help your body rest more fully because it has enough solution to dilute the toxins it is processing and producing while you sleep. If you have a weak bladder and find yourself needing to wake up to go to the bathroom, stop drinking sooner in the day. As people are drinking more water, I ask them to do it gradually. So take what you have now and add 8oz to the day every day for a week. Then next week add 8 oz more. Do this Every week until you are drinking enough water (80oz/day).
  6. Exercise. This helps expend some of the energy you have and can help your body rest more fully. 

Did you know that there are more heart attacks, strokes and Motor vehicle accidents in the 2 weeks after the time change in the fall AND spring? Sleep Rules!

Supplements: What you need to know for immune health. 

A lot of people have no faith in supplements. The reason is the difference in the information about supplements. Some say they do nothing, some say they are necessary. Here is what you need to know about supplements: They are not all created equal, but they are mostly all created in the same spot and sent for labeling. Test your supplements. If it can not dissolve in 4 oz of white vinegar in 4 hours, your body can not get out what it needs from the supplement. Find the parent company. If they are a traditional Pharmaceutical company, the supplement is likely more valid. For instance: Whos is the parent company of Flinstones Vitamins?

Wish supplements help for boosting my health in relation to the immune system?

Vitamin C, D3 and B6 are considered the classic trio needed to boost immune system health. 

  • B vitamins help the nervous system, creates red blood cells and helps metabolize carbohydrates and fats. 
  • C is an antioxidant and fights for the body. 
  • D Helps absorb calcium, phosphorus, and is the backbone to MOST hormones produced by the body. 

Probiotics. 

While controversial, Probiotics are needed to help restore the gut. The gut is the primary place your immune system acts. Immune system is 80% in the GI system. Like other supplements, Probiotics have become a popular place to deceive. Make sure you by doctor formulated probiotics that require refrigeration. 

Consider Pre-Biotics and digestive enzymes. They help break down the food and get enzymes present that you need to break things down before you get it into the gut. 

ZINC

This is a mineral that you need in the body to help with many processes. IT helps fight invading bacteria and viruses. Dosage is 8g for women, 11 for men daily. The problem is, you can start to taste everything as metal. This means you need to back off the dose and then start taking a binding agent like psyllium husk powder so that you don’t overdose on metals. 

 

Eat healthy!

Cold and flu season kicks up in winter months, but they are there year round. One thing that happens in the warmer months is that the opportunity for fresh fruits and vegetables is more readily available at more favorable prices. Green leafy vegetables are a daily need. You should strive to achieve 10 servings a day and 5 servings of fruits. A serving is ½ cup. 

Lower your sugar intake. 

Many use the holidays, starting at halloween, as an excuse to eat whatever they want. Then, wonder why they get sick. The increase in sugar causes bad bacteria, like candida, to grow and overtake good bacteria in the gut. You can fight candida by taking a supplement called sacchromyces boulardi, but what if you just ate reasonably? I am not saying give up your one piece of pumpkin pie or the cranberry sauce. But do you need all the cookies, candy, half the pumpkin pie, etc? 

 

Make sure to checkout this link for great supplements

References

https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/daylight-saving-time-4-surprising-health-effects-falling-back-ncna929546
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757

What Is Coronavirus?

Why the Hype about Coronavirus?

When the pandemic first started you could see a lot of misinformation spreading. There were those that new other corona viruses existed and those that didn’t. Some would post pictures of Lysol cans on the internet and say “see, nothing to worry about. Lysol kills this so its not new.” Others would look at that same label and say “Lysol is just trying to make money.”

Here is what you need to know. Some form of Coronavirus Causes Most Colds and Flus. 

In fact, there are 4 different types of corona virus that cause common colds. They are more prevalent in cooler months, but are present year round. Hence “Summer Colds”. The most common way you contract them is by touching surfaces that have been contaminated, someone coughing or sneezing, sharing cups, etc..

Symptoms of any coronavirus include: Runny Nose, Headache, sore throat, Mild to moderate fever, cough and sneezing, Chills. More aggressive symptoms can include Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, body aches and fatigue. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to use a facemask in public if you have to go out. You should avoid public places if you are running a fever, unless you are going to seek medical treatment. 

On the CDC Website, You can look at data covering the last decade on reports of number of tests reported to the CDC, number of cases of influenza treated and reported in the season, number of hospitalizations and number of deaths from the disease. Most hospitalizations occur because the virus progresses into pneumonia. Pneumonia causes inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs. This causes fluid to accumulate. That means that oxygen can not be produced to be utilized by the body. There are approximately 3 million cases of Pneumonia each year in the United States.

What’s Different about Sars-COV2?

In a previous blog on November 20, 2020 I talk about the fact surrounding the current pandemic and what you should know. This is a continuation.

The Main Difference is Severity of symptoms. However, the addition of loss of Taste and Smell is of significant note. It can persist for months after the person has recovered from immediate symptoms as well. Another note is that while children with the flu may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, with SARS-COV2, this is more common across all age groups. 

Testing: WHAT IS BEST?

Traditionally, about 60% of persons in the US with symptoms of cold and flu receive a standard flu test each year. Tests for flu virus usually are a nasopharyngeal rapid test with results in as little as 15 minutes. This test has been fairly specific at 90%, but only 70% sensitive, meaning you can get up to 30% either false positive or false negative tests. Tests like this have been available since the 1990’s. If the rapid test is positive, the Point of Care provider will likely prescribe some antiviral. Ask you to drink plenty of fluids, Remain home, Rest and do some light activity. It has been shown that light cardiovascular activity can reduce the risk of pneumonia and decrease time of symptoms of cold and flu. 

You will likely also be asked to make sure you are following proper hygiene. This means frequent hand washing. Handwashing should be done for at least 20 seconds and cover all surfaces of the hand including under the fingernails. It should be done before and after each meal. Any time hands come into contact with the face. Always after using the restroom.

Testing for SARS-COV2 can be done in 3 ways, but one way is more effective. 

First test is the Antigen test.

It is the most common test currently used in the United States. It is very similar to the Flu test in that it is a nasopharyngeal swab. Results come in a few hours to a day. The test is given at Point of Care facilities and Providers. These include Urgent Cares, Primary Care Doctors, Pediatricians and most Emergency Rooms. The test is done because it is the least expensive, Results come quickly and it is then easy to report. However, the test is not as specific to SARS-COV2 according to the FDA.Gov website. A positive test is likely positive for cold, flu, or COVID-19 and should be followed up. 

Second is the Molecular PCR test.

This test is both highly sensitive and specific. It can take up to 1 week to get results. The test is also a Nasopharyngeal swab, but includes saliva testing as well. If you have a positive test at a Point of Care facility, you should ask for it to be followed up with a molecular test before it is reported to the county health department to rull in COVID-19 versus traditional Flu.

Third is the Antibody test.

While antibody testing is not recommended to actually diagnose an active case of the SARS-COV2 virus, it can catch the presence of it if you have had mild symptoms for approximately 2 weeks. According to the FDA.Gov website, best testing for actually accounting for positive cases would be a combination of the molecular PCR test and the Antibody Test. 

What Do I Do Now?

If you feel like you have Flu or Cold Like symptoms, call your primary care provider in the first 48 hours to get a FLU TEST. If it is positive, you can be given antivirals right away and begin recovery. If it is negative, then you can ask for and insist on the Molecular PCR test. 

Stay Home!! Recover away from family, including spouse or partner. Most cases of cold and flu take 7-10 days. Non-hospitalized SARS-COV2 are averaging 3-4 weeks. 

Clean up after yourself! Wash hands thoroughly. Wipe down surfaces that you touch with gloved hands after washing them using a disinfectant wipe. 

Try and do 20 minutes of walking daily.

Drink Plenty of Fluids. 

If you are going to miss work in your recovery, ask your employer about their short term disability policy through the Human Resources Department. There are likely a specific number of days in a row that you need to be absent prior to qualifying. If you come back at day four and go back out at day 6, the process starts over. You want to be mostly symptoms free for 2-3 days before returning to work.

Do Your Research! From websites that are giving facts, not social media. 

Stay healthy out there!!

 

References:

Please be sure to FACT Check all information that you see. 

Most information for this blog was taken from the CDC WebSite. 

FDA.gov/media/140161/download

FDA.gov/media/143737/download

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862331/#:~:text=The%20most%20significant%20of%20these,intervals%20averaging%20approximately%2040%20years.