By Dr Joe
How do you prevent the flu naturally?
Well, it’s easy when you know how. Being a doctor and working in a hospital environment as a result, I am always in close contact with the flu virus, if you like.
Being in contact with something contagious and at the same time trying to avoid catching it can be a challenging sport.
A sport I have been playing for over 3 decades. Sometimes I succeed. Other times I fail miserably.
The usual advice we get offered as medical personnel is to get the flu vaccine. Even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the “first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses“. The CDC also says:
“Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations”
Great advice. Except that using the flu vaccine to prevent a flu attack is a bit ‘hit or miss’.
What do I mean by that? Let me illustrate with a short story.
I have a female friend who used to work in a Call Center. Let’s call her Lisa. You know how Call Centers can be really busy with Incoming Calls. At least working in a Call Center dominated by Incoming Calls is way better than handling Outgoing Calls.
You know, the ones who always seem to interrupt you at home when you are right in the middle of something important. Like when you are having a nice hearty meal and the blinking phone rings because some folk somewehere wants to sell you Life Insurance that you don’t need.
Those are the unfortunate folks made to undertake Outgoing Calls. Not an attractive proposition. 99.8% rejection.
Anyway, because of the busy nature of the Call Center, anyone working in Lisa’s office needed permission to leave their desk…even if you needed to visit the bathroom. Because the phones have to be answered as they were very keen to cut down on Caller’s Waiting Time.
Decent strategy for great customer service. Not so great, if you are one of those manning the phones.
You pushed a button if you needed to exit your desk for any reason. Your boss received the signal and hopefully he gives you the green light to go.
Sadly, according to Lisa, if you needed to visit the bathroom, you have to cross your legs because this “kind boss” nearly always ignores your shout out. Yep, 9 out of 10 times, he simply ignored your request.
Makes you ask the question: what’s the point of such a policy if the boss just ignored your request. How bizarre!
Well, the flu vaccine is like that. The flu virus simply ignored my flu vaccine protection. Every year I had the flu vaccine, I still had a flu attack.
Makes you wonder: what’s the point of receiving the flu vaccine, if I still get sick every year.
That’s why I have not had the flu vaccine for the last 5 years and have not had the flu over that period. Now I am not saying you should not use the flu vaccine as a means to protect yourself.
You can still go get the vaccine route but there are other ways you can prevent the flu virus from attacking you with or without receiving the flu shot. Natural flu prevention.
This is what this piece is about. It’s about how you can actually prevent a flu attack naturally. Yes, there are natural means of keeping the flu virus away from you easily.
So, how can you prevent the flu naturally?
Wash Your Hands More Often or Use Hand Sanitisers
This is the most obvious advice regarding natural flu prevention. Yes, the flu virus may be an airborne one but most of the spread of the flu virus is by hand from one person to the next.
Simple as this advice is, this is one of the most skipped advice ever. People just don’t wash their hands often enough. I don’t know why, but it’s just the case.
Even hospital workers who are dealing with sick people don’t wash their hands between handling patients. One of the commonest causes of bacterial spread in hospitals believe it or not is staff not washing their hands.
If staff are spreading bacterial infections, how much more a viral one.
The good news is that; things are changing. Campaigns by Infection Control Departments of hospitals have paid off. Hospital staff now wash their hands more than they used to years ago.
Well, this simple rule does not apply to hospital staff alone. The general public need to take this life-saving measure seriously too.
Just wash your hands more often please, especially during the flu season.
And do use soap as well please. Not just plain running water.
To make life even easier for folks, now you can buy hand sanitisers off your supermarket shelf. Small plastic containers of hand sanitisers are now readily available for individuals who would rather rather use this option.
Hand sanitisers usually contain active ingredients (like alcohol and other germicides) that are capable of killing bacteria and viruses. You simply squeeze a little out and rub on your hands as you see in the video below. No hand washing is required.
Hand sanitisers are a nice substitute to hand washing. Particularly ideal in scenarios where there’s no running water available or hand-washing is not practical to carry out.
Have a bottle of these innocuous liquids in your pocket, your handbag, your purse, your car’s glove box, at home, on your desk in the office etc.
Just rub on and go…
Slow Down On The Booze
Well, you may love your alcohol and alcohol may be a good past time for you.
But alcohol is not a good mix for an impending cold nor does it offer any protection against the flu virus.
Alcohol, for a start, actually dehydrates you. I’m sure you know that already. When you drink and you happen not to be drunk (in which case you will have fallen asleep), you will agree that you tend to feel thirsty just that little bit more.
That’s because alcohol is a diuretic sending your kidneys into overdrive to make more urine.
Peeing more will leave you dehydrated. Your body cells need to be well hydrated to function optimally.
That’s not all, alcohol is not good for your immune system. Alcohol has a habit of dampening your immune system. Here’s what Dr Stephen Pruett, from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University in the US has to say about alcohol being bad for our immune system:
“Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time inhibits the production of signalling molecules that are vital to the immune system. The proteins, known as pro-inflammatory cytokines, have a host of functions that are supposed to kick in when the body is under attack. They include maturing, activating and increasing numbers of immune cells which target invaders such as bacteria and viruses”
How else does alcohol affect our immune system badly? Well, let’s hear it via the next tip below…
Get Adequate Sleep
I was talking about how alcohol negatively affects our immune system in the last natural flu prevention tip. Well, the way alcohol does that is the negative impact booze has on our sleep.
Yes, the relationship between alcohol and sleep is sort of complex but the long and short of it all is that alcohol is not good for sleep. Not at all.
Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, alcohol will make you fall asleep pretty quickly. You know that already, don’t you?
And that’s where the misconception comes from. Because alcohol makes us fall asleep when we consume it, the belief is that alcohol is good for sleep.
No, it isn’t.
Alcohol is bad for sleep. The quality of the sleep is badly affected.
Anyway the point here is; you need adequate sleep to keep your immune system ticking nicely. Poor sleep will wreak havoc to your immune system.
How much sleep are we talking about? How much sleep do we need to prevent a flu attack?
If you can help it, get a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night. I know it’s hard with so much distraction around us but 8 hours sleep a night is protective of your immune system. This is not some conjecture. It has been proven by science that sleep is good for our immune system.
I am living proof of that because every time I have had a flu attack, there’s always been a link to lack of sleep. Not because of alcohol, I should add, but because of working night shifts as a doctor.
Research has shown that sleep and circardian rythm do impact our immune system without doubt. When you get a good amount of sleep, the T-Cells in the body are made much more readily available and these T-cells are also widely redistributed to lymph nodes.
This simple action is similar to sending these protective soldiers to sentinel posts and positions ready to fight any oncoming flu virus or any other virus for that matter.
See your T- cells as your soldiers…because that’s what they are, really.
Use Liposomal Vitamin C
A lot of the cells in our immune system accumulate Vitamin C and indeed require Vitamin C to preform their protective tasks. This includes our very own T-Cells too.
Adequate Vitamin C enhances a barrier protection against germs invading our body cells and even facilitates oxidant scavenging activity of our skin. So, the importance of Vitamin C to our immune system is not in question.
You need a good supply of Vitamin C to keep your T-cells and other germ fighting cells in top form. Not surprising therefore that lots of people take Vitamin C supplements.
The problem is that a lot of the regular Vitamin C supplements in circulation are simply not effective. This is mainly because of absorption issues. Most regular Vitamin C supplements are poorly absorbed.
Enter Liposomal Vitamin C.
Liposomal Vitamin C are superior to regular Vitamin C because liposomal VItamin C are more readily absorbed from the gut and are therefore more bioavailable for your body cells to use.
My advice is: if you want to give yourself the Vitamin C cellular protection against the flu naturally, then use liposomal Vitamin C.
Liposomal Vitamin C is better absorbed and you get the natural protection against the flu virus that your body deserves.
You can get Liposomal Vitamin C here in the UK.
Use Vitamin D Supplements
Well, ideally I should say; a nice way to prevent flu naturally is to get adequate Vitamin D. However, not all of us are lucky enough to be living in places where there’s adequate sunshine all year round.
Because the best way to get your supply of Vitamin D is to get it for free. Through the sun’s ultraviolet B band rays. All you need is 20 minutes exposure to those ultraviolet rays 3 times a week and you are done. I should be so lucky.
If you are like me who lives in a part of the world with very little sunshine, then the easiest option to get your Vitamin D flu protection is via supplements.
Just like Vitamin C, Vitamin D is a also a recognised immune booster. The beneficial effects of Vitamin D extends beyound protecting our bones, teeth and muscles. Deficiency of Vitamin D increases our susceptibility to infections and that includes the flu infection.
So, protect yourself from a flu attack by using Vitamin D supplements.
Use Olive Leaf Extract Supplements
I know you are familiar with olive oil. It’s one of the most popular vegetable oils out there. Is olive oil healthy? Is it unhealthy? That’s another argument for another day.
For now we are going to concentrate on what other benefits the olive oil plant can actually provide you.
Did you know that the leaves from the olive oil plant can actually protect you against flu naturally? Oh yes, olive leaf extract have been proven scientifically to positively modify our immune system.
Interested in using Olive leaf extract?
Access Olive Leaf Extact here in the UK.
Not only do olive leaf extract provide you with natural protection against flu attack all year round, these supplements also offer a cardioprotection and anti-oxidant properties. Not a bad investment for your health, if you ask me.
Suggested further reading:
Drink THIS 2 Hours Before Bedtime to Sleep Better