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I know we’ve all heart it…Heck, we’ve probably all SAID it.
Someone tells you they’re sick or not feeling too well this time of year and your natural response is “Well, it IS flu season.” Or “Tis the season!” But did you know that it doesn’t HAVE to be that way? Because in fact the flu is not a season and isn’t a necessary part of colder weather.
So, why DO we find ourselves more susceptible to coming down with something particularly in the Winter season? There are a few different answers to that. I’ll start with my favorite saying this time of year for those who claim it’s flu season.
“The flu is not a season! It is an inability to ADAPT due to decreased sun exposure & water intake, combined with increased sugar intake& stress.”
That pretty much sums it up but let’s break this down to help us all understand what it is exactly that contributes to our sicknesses and how to do our best to prevent them!
Decreased Sun Exposure – for us northern folk that is a big one for us. Due to where we live we’re oven lacking the vitamin D our bodies crave to stay healthy. This is true for even the summer time so can you imagine how much worse it gets in the summer when the daylight hours are shorter! We recommend that you should always be taking a Vitamin D supplement and in the winter to double your intake! We have this in our office - so inquire at the office!
Water Intake – this is a BIGGIE all year around! I could talk to you until I’m blue in the face about drinking the appropriate amount of water. Did you know that America is chronically dehydrated? Did you know that dehydration leads to many other issues and hydrating can address many issues we face daily?
As a general rule I’m sure you’ve heard to “drink 8 glasses of water a day” Those 8 glasses should be 8 ounces which would mean that you’d be drinking 64 ounces of water a day. This is a great general rule, but as our weigh increases that’s not so true anymore. When this saying became popular this was generally true, but as time goes on so does the increase of obesity. 8, 8 ounce glasses a day is great, but your goal should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces (i.e. if you weight 200lbs you should be drinking 100 oz a day) and more If you’re sweating or are a drinker of alcohol, caffeine, sugar etc.
Bottom line: Drink the appropriate amount of water you chances of staying healthy goes up!
Stress- Have you ever noticed that Winter tends to be one of the most stressful times of the year? Between the holidays, spending time with family, spending money on presents, school year being in full swing, etc your body is handling a lot! When you’re stressed it’s been proven that your immune system does decrease! It’s hard to manage stress sometimes, but it’s something we definitely promote doing all year around. Whatever you do to actually beat the stress make sure you’re doing that during this time!
Increase Sugar Intake – this is where “Tis the season” is soooo true. You can’t even pretend that you don’t indulge during the holidays. We all do. How can you not? Cookies, Cake, cheese fatty chip dips, it’s insane the number of things you can eat during holiday parties. And you keep eating…because there are so. many. LEFTOVERS! So, how does this effect your immunity?
Sugar impacts your white blood cells by competing for space in those cells with Vitamin C. Vitamin C, as you know is a big immune building fighter. White blood cells need Vitamin C to destroy bacteria and viruses. Sugar and Vitamin C are similar in their chemical structure. When you eat sugar, it directly competes for space in your immune cells with Vitamin C. The more sugar in your system, the less Vitamin C can get into your white blood cells. Sugar actually weakens your defense against fighting infections
So, yes – by indulging in those delicious goodies you’re not helping your immune system.
Sleep! This is another big one that kind of goes with stress. Our bodies do most of its repairing. When you sleep your body fights infection and prepares you to take on the next day. When you’re not sleeping, and tired your body can not properly heal or rebuild itself if you’re not giving it the adequate amount of time to do so. This is so much harder during the holidays as well. We’re constantly working on our to do lists and attending more events than we normally do. Really try and manage your time so that sleep can be a priority!
Exercise - I'll be the first to admit it (Nikki here) my exercises always severly lacks in the winter because it's so damn cold. I much prefer staying comfortable, completely clothed and in doors. I know i'm not alone in this but this does decrease you immunity too. Working out helps you body stay strong much like everything else in this list. Make sure to aim to have 30 minutes of activity a day. Keep your body at it's optimal function!
Here is the thing: People will continue to get sick in the winter time and by default (because we have to continue to leave our houses) have a greater chance of getting sick. Take the normal precautions and add the ones we’ve added above.
Wash your hands – frequently. All the places you touch will have germs on them.
Keep Hand Sanitizer on hand. Just in case!
Take your vitamins!
Avoid touching public handles, railings, doors, etc as best you can. Not always possible and don’t have to get crazy about it. This is where that hand sanitizer can come in!
Don’t share your drinks or food with those who are sick.
So there it is! The flu does not have to be a season! You can take the extra precautions to make sure that you set you and your family up for immunity success this winter!