Friday, November 7, 2014
Protecting Yourself From Illness During The Fall And Winter Season
We’ve heard a lot about colds and influenza and the controversy surrounding the vaccination programs. There are some important steps that can be taken to naturally protect yourself from these diseases. One of the most important steps is to make sure that you have adequate vitamin D levels. It is no secret that cases of colds and flu are found in greater numbers during the fall and winter seasons. During these seasons there is less sunlight and correspondingly lower vitamin D levels. Studies suggest that the optimal level in the blood should be 50 – 65 ng/ml (Holick MF.; Clin Lab Med. 2000 Sep;20(3):569-90) and many Americans have levels below 20 ng/ml in late winter season. Exposure to sunlight aids in natural vitamin D production but there are concerns with excess sun exposure and skin cancer so supplementation may be used. If you choose to use a supplement, make sure it contains Vitamin D in the natural form – vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. There are many great articles online discussing vitamin D. It is a good idea to have your vitamin D level measured with lab work prior to initiating a supplementation program. Make sure you take care of you body by keeping your spine in alignment – the proper function of the nervous system and body alignment keeps the immune system tuned for peak performance. It was the 1917 – 1918 flu epidemic that helped chiropractic get licensure in many states due to an overwhelmingly positive response to chiropractic treatment. There are articles in the literature showing increased white blood cell activity in response to chiropractic adjustment and Life University had a long-term research project measuring the positive response to AIDS patients to chiropractic adjustments. Maintain adequate hydration – moist mucus membranes are one of our first lines of defense against bacteria and viruses. Use a vaporizer if your home air is dry due to use of the heating system. Basic hygienic measures can be effective in prevention as well. Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose or mouth. These are portals of entry for bacteria and viruses and your hands may carry many of these pathogens. Wash hands frequently – use soap and warm water. Remember to soap well between fingers and around nails. It is not necessary to use antibacterial soap (such soap is shown to be damaging to the endocrine system) but make sure you wash for an adequate length of time (sing the happy birthday song twice through). Hand sanitizers are not good substitutes for hand washing and they can dry out your hands. Keep hands adequately moisturized after handwashing – dry cracked skin allows pathogens to enter. Do not lick your fingers when counting money or shuffling papers. If you’ve been ill be sure to clean your phone and toothbrush to prevent reintroducing infection. Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing to prevent spread of infection.