Oh boy, the flu has come back out to play! I feel fortunate that Covid seems to be on the downswing but the flu (especially Flu A) is riding the upswing. This cold/flu was highly anticipated as it really is our first full one since coming out of the pandemic. Let’s take a quick look at why there is so much flu going around.
We have spent the last few years masked up and isolated in an effort to stop the spread of Covid. As many of you may have noticed during this time, there was a dramatic reduction in colds and flus that people spread to each other. Aside from getting Covid, most of my patients relished in the benefits of not getting “sick”. As I have been told, good things never last.
A minority of us in healthcare knew that when the gates opened back up, we were going to see a significant rebound in acute viral illnesses. Fevers, body pains, diarrhea, sinus congestion, fatigue, cough, lung congestion and many other symptoms are on full display. An interesting variable is that typical flu symptoms last around 72 hrs but what I am seeing in my clinic is symptoms that are lasting upwards of 7-10 days depending on the health history of the individual. What is concerning is that the longer viruses circulate in the body, the more potential there is for post-viral sequelae (this is a fancy term that recently got re-titled as Long Covid). Lingering chronic symptoms can happen even after infection from more common viruses like the flu. Longer chronic symptoms are dictated by the inflammation reaction to the virus, and how naive our immune systems are.
The flu has been around for a long time. Why would our immune systems be more naive to it at this point? First of all, let me tell you something that I tell all my patients, “it is good to get sick.” This often leaves a puzzling look on their faces. Let me explain. Exposure to bacteria, fungus and virus produces acute immune reactions. These reactions make antibodies that help us build our immune defenses. Defense is important as it provides us with the correct tools to respond when something tries to attack us. In essence, getting acutely sick prepares us for and in turn lowers the impact of bigger threats.
Over the past few years, our immune defenses have gotten lazy due to our lack of viral exposure. This is especially true for our children. Their immune systems rely on constant microbial exposure to fully develop and mature. The significant rise of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a product of this lack of communicable exposure and it is putting kids in precarious spots with their health. We need to create a better plan to bolster our immune function as we re-integrate back into our socializing.
Start focusing on these top 3 basic health guidelines:
Sleep- get to bed before 10pm. The hours of sleep before midnight is when growth hormone production is at its highest. This helps you rest and repair your immune system to keep it up to par.
Menu- put a lot of animal protein and fat on the menu. Eat 1g/1.5lbs of your body weight of protein to start with. This will help stabilize your metabolism along with your blood glucose levels. Disruption of your metabolism contributes to increased inflammation and puts you at greater risk of getting sick.
Hydrotherapy- put cold water on your body. Cold water exposure creates heat shock proteins which promote an anti-inflammatory environment. Bonus if you go from a really hot environment (like a sauna) into cold water. Remember, if you do not have a sauna then just end your shower with 30 seconds of cold water.
Your health is so much more about what you do then what you take. That being said, what you take will help to support your body while you work on dialing in your routine.
Here are your top 5 supplements to be focusing on;
Probiotics- these are the little bugs in your intestines that run your immune system. This is why eating protein and fat is so essential. Supplementation with probiotic will provide the needed bacteria counts to keep you functioning at your best during this flu season. Not all probiotics are made the same and I recommend my Recovery Probiotic I to provide you with the quality and medicinal benefits you can find. Check it out here.
Vitamin D3/K2- at high doses, Vitamin D is one of the best anti-virals you can use. It also helps to regulate the metabolism and improve blood sugar levels, further improving the immune response. Vitamin K2 is used to increase absorption of minerals into the body providing added support. My Bio D3/K2 Recovery Formula is what I have been providing to my patients and have seen great results. Check it out here.
Immuno Plus- this is a specific immune formula by Priority One that I have been using for years. It is a compilation of immune nutrients that casts a big net over all parts of immune function. You can get this at our clinic.
Cold & Flu drops- this is a combination remedy made by Professional Formulas that puts the top homeopathic remedies into one easy application. This remedy can improve your acute symptoms in a few hours. This can also be purchased through the clinic.
Flu Nosode 2021-2022 (2023)- this is a single liquid homeopathic remedy that uses the same influenza strain used to make the flu vaccine. This is what I recommend to patients who are adverse to getting the flu shot and want a more natural approach with less side effects. This can be purchased through our clinic.
Using both a lifestyle and natural supplement approach will not only help you recover faster from acute symptoms, but it will also prevent any lingering unwanted viral sequelae symptoms that can stick around and create problems.