Winter Colds: Avoid being down and out for too long!

With cold a flu season upon us, I like to tell people that it’s good to get a cold at least once a year. When I say this, people give me an “Are you crazy?” look.  It may sound crazy but science actually supports me. It is important for our immune system to mount a response to cold antigens. So when we get a cold, this results in symptoms, which allows us to build immunity to these antigens. When you get sick, your immune system undergoes a tune-up by stimulating immune mechanisms, which are necessary to keep us healthy. It is important for the body to be challenged so it can undergo tune-ups and ultimately, can detect foreign invaders and cellular degeneration.

Proper immune function is necessary to protect us from autoimmune disorders, allergies and to prevent major illnesses and cancer.  Think of your immune system like your car – it is necessary for regular oil changes and tune-ups to keep your car functioning smoothly and efficiently.

Even so, no one likes to be down and out for too long and some of the bugs floating around are pretty nasty. By focusing on what you can do to support your immune system, you can get back to life without major interruptions after you’ve caught a cold.

IT IS VITAL TO REMEMBER TO REST AND LISTEN TO YOU BODY!!! Supporting your immune system requires rest and slowing down, not just taking supplements.

Below are ideas and supplements you can use for combating illness throughout the winter.

  • Get to bed early and get adequate sleep.
  • Limit sugar and dairy; completely avoid sugar and dairy when you are sick.
  • Exercise regularly to stimulate your immune system.
    • Do not push your body too hard when you are sick, but a little exercise will help you recover quickly.
  • Take Vitamin D3 daily during the winter.
    • Take a higher dosage than the summer, due to the decrease in sunlight, which is necessary for the body to absorb Vitamin D.
  • Increase your amount of Vitamin D3 for 2-3 days at the first sign of illness. This will often curb the infection and symptoms, lessening the severity and duration of your illness.
  • Gargle with salt water at the first sign of a sore throat. Follow this by gargling with powdered probiotics, which can be swallowed and will re-populate the healthy flora in the mouth.
    • Some options are: HMF powder, HMF Replete, Ther-Biotics Complete Powder or ProbioMax Plus DF
  • Take a daily dose of probiotics.  Remember: a high quality probiotic is very important as not all probiotics are the same.  Ask your doctor about what is best for you.

By knowing what to do to, you can be prepared for the winter months and guard yourself and your family against sickness and fatigue.

Dr. Shayla Waddell

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