Recently, I had to get some testings done for work, so I went to a local clinic, expecting this to be the usual quick tests. Instead, I had a very lengthy conversation with the nurse. I appreciated her kindness and warmth but also that she asked me too many questions about my medical history that were completely unrelated to the nature of my visit. I did see the need for us to talk about contraception options; she even pulled up my state records to see my vaccination history. I was very clear about my practice of holistic medicine and my desire to continue to do so, so I did not appreciate her wanting to discuss things like hormonal birth control options or persistently encouraging me to subject my body to multiple vaccines. She seemed surprised when I disclosed that I have nor had a flu shot in a few years, so I quickly tried to move the conversation along quickly. I knew she was going to suggest that I get the shot, but I did not expect her to be so pressed about it. Honestly, I was uncomfortable with the direction of her questions and how pushy she was about things.
In reflection, this got me thinking about how many other people go to see a doctor for something and because it’s “flu season” they end up getting the vaccine as well. To be honest, I am anti-vaccine, but that is not why we’re here. The flu vaccine in particular is not particularly effective. In my experience, I have stopped getting the flu ever since I stopped getting the vaccine and eating better. Every year right around early November I would get sick, especially during my college years. I’m just one person though. The CDC has reported that flu-related deaths were at a 40 year high last year, in 2017! The CDC estimated that the flu was responsible for approximately 80,000 deaths last year. For perspective, on a light year the flu might take 12,000 or so lives. While a more severe flu This was largely due to the fact that the flu vaccine is only about 36% effective; which was reported as “better than expected”; better…than expected. The CDC felt the pressure of this giant spike and has since implemented a new method to rank the severity of annual flu seasons. Hmm.
So here are some holistic and natural ways to can stay healthy during flu season. Preventative care is always the best way to go when possible. Some of things may seem obvious to you, yet here they are.
- Avoid touching your face. Our hands come in contact with all types of germs during the day, touching your face then gives those germs easy access to enter your body. Or other hand, if your nose is running or just touching your eyes is a quick way to spread your germs with others.
- Clean + disinfect your spaces! I keep Clorox wipes with me all the time to wipe down every surface before I touch it. For example, I wipe my work area down every morning before I sit down and get settles. Desks, tables, keyboards, phones, steering wheels, doorknobs, they are all getting wiped.
- Stay home if you are sick! There is nothing I hate more than a client coming in and telling me how they are ill but “still made it”. I have seen people in class casually throw out that they had mono at the time. I cannot people. Go home. No one wants your germs.
- Exercise. Staying active makes it easier for your body to stay healthy, fight off illnesses and recover faster. Specifically, exercise boosts your white blood cell count. White blood cells are what power your immune system, so you want those to function optimally.
- Eat clean. If your body is sluggish from processed foods, or bacteria filled animal products, it is surely going to struggle to fight off illnesses. Foods that are especially helpful are cruciferous vegetables, which are rich in folate, phytonutrients, glucosinolates, fiber as well as vitamins C, E, and K.
- Stay hydrated. This can never be overstated. Especially as it is getting colder, people sometime slack on their water intake. This is a key part of maintaining your health. Our bodies are primarily water, we have to stay hydrated.