Get A Jump On Flu Season

It is flu season again.  Here are recommendations to strengthenSneezer in his pjs your immune system so you don’t get the flu in the first place.  I know many people who have the flu after they get the vaccine.  I believe these methodologies, when utilized together, work better.

  1. Sleep

I put sleep first because it is the aid most people dismiss. When we sleep, we heal and regenerate our batteries. We cannot make up for lost sleep in one night. Get into the habit of treating yourself to a good night’s sleep (8 hours average) every night.

  1. Reduce your sugar intake

Eating sugar impairs the immune system for hours. Think about that. It means that your white cells become “drunk” and less able to protect you from potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. My suggestion during any time of increased vulnerability is to cut out sugar entirely.

  1. Vitamin C

We are one of four mammals who do not make their own vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the best antiviral supports available. Take vitamin C to “bowel tolerance,” meaning just under the amount that causes diarrhea. When you are well, this amount will be less, often significantly less, than when you are ill or “fighting a bug.”

Don’t think there is something wrong if you find you need as much as 5000 mg on a regular basis. That is your body’s requirement.  Increase it as needed to stay well.

  1. Vitamin A

Some years ago a study in Japan showed that high doses of vitamin A (100,000 to 400,000 IU) per day for 3 days significantly reduced the duration and severity of measles in children. Thus, at the first sign of a viral infection, take 100,000 IU of vitamin A for 2 or 3 days. (Note: This is actual vitamin A, not beta carotene.)

  1. Zinc

Zinc is also essential for the immune system and really helps with viral infections.Take approximately 75 mg (i.e.  80 is fine, too) the first day, then 50 mg the next few days, and then reduce to a maintenance level of 15 to 30 mg. If you take zinc on a long-term basis, you need to supplement with 1 to 2 mg of copper a couple of times per week to balance the zinc.

  1. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is the newest discovery for improving the immune system and so much else in the body. We are finding a majority of the population quite deficient in this essential nutrient, even those of us in sunny Southern California.

Take 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 for about 3 days at the first sign of an infection. Then reduce your intake to between 2000 and 5000 IU per day. At the end of 3 months at this level, a blood test for vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D3 level is the one to request) is highly recommended, for it is possible to have too high a level. The blood test will help you to determine your proper dosage. The goal is to have a blood level between 50 and 80 ng/ml.

  1. Probiotics

Several pounds of beneficial bacteria are supposed to reside in our intestines. They are a critical part of our immune system. The intestines are lined with lymphatic tissue which is supported by the beneficial bacteria. The general name for these bacteria is “probiotics.” Most people have heard of lactobacillus acidophilus, but there are dozens of species of these different bacteria that we need, and we do not get them adequately in yogurt. Some brands of probiotics need to be refrigerated and some do not. Some are made from milk and/or soy, and others are dairy-free and gluten-free. Purchase the kind that fits you.Take the probiotics of your choice 2 to 4 times per day at the first sign of infection. Many of us need probiotics on an ongoing basis at least once per day.

  1. Frequent hand washing

Viruses can survive very well on any surface. However, I do not recommend the use of antibacterial hand wipes or soaps on a regular basis because they kill not only the viruses on your skin but also the beneficial bacteria. In addition, there is concern that the chemicals in these wipes and soaps may be more harmful than beneficial for us.

Nothing replaces regular soap and water for washing your hands. Get into the practice of washing your hands frequently and not putting your fingers in your mouth, nose, or ears. Those openings are avenues of entry for viruses and other infectious agents.

  1. Humacel

Humacel is one of the best antiviral products I have experienced. It apparently works on all viruses.  There is another version of this called Viracillin, from another company.  I am told it works as well as Humacel though I have not tried it personally.

  1. Other immune-boosting remedies

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic that many find helpful for combating the flu. (It’s the number one over-the-counter flu medicine in France.) I recommend completely dissolving 1/3 of a tube of the pellets under your tongue 3 times per week throughout the flu season as a preventive.

ProBoost is freeze-dried, thymic protein that really boosts one’s immune system. I recommend dissolving the contents of 1 packet directly under your tongue for 3 minutes every day or every other day throughout the flu season.  If you do suffer from the flu, take a packet 3 times per day until you are better.

Echinacea Premium is a very fine echinacea from the vendor, MediHerb. Echinacea is perhaps the most commonly known botanical immune stimulant. This form is safe to take on a daily basis through the flu season to maintain a strong immune system.

Argentyn 23, also called Sovereign Silver, is a nano silver. Silver is a natural killer of infectious agents. In this brand, the silver particles are so small that you do not have to worry about your teeth turning blue if you take it too long. The company also has a spray version for nasal application as well as a gel which can be applied to your skin. I have even prescribed it for inhalation when someone had a lung or bronchial infection.

Some other excellent wellness formulas contain herbs like olive leaf extract, cat’s claw, and ashwaganda as well as other beneficial herbs.

About Cathie Lippman, M.D.

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