According to Harvard Medical School Guide: Cold and Flu, Americans succumb to one billion colds every year. Adults typically contract two to four colds annually. Even more concerning, approximately 20 percent of people in the United States get the flu each year. To protect themselves from falling ill, many people line up for flu shots before the onset of cold and flu season. Unfortunately, a flu shot isn’t always the best defense.
Getting a flu shot can’t fully protect you from sickness. In fact, seeking this popular preventative treatment actually causes illness in some cases. The vaccine is developed and grown on eggs. So, if you’re allergic to eggs, getting a flu shot might cause a serious reaction. Other adverse reactions to the flu shot, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome, occur, but are rare.
Body aches, a low-grade fever, and soreness at the injection site are the most common side effects of the flu shot. If you’re suffering with any type of sickness accompanied with a fever, you’re not a good candidate for the flu shot.
All of these reasons is ignoring the other, bigger reason, NOT to get a flu shot. It’s filled with harmful toxins and preservatives that actually harm your body more than it helps. But that’s a topic for another day.
Since the flu shot isn’t a foolproof method for preventing illness, utilizing natural ways to boost your immunity is essential. The following natural remedies increase your odds of staying healthy and happy and help you avoid getting a cold or the flu this season.
According to WebMD, more than 400 species of bacteria live in the human digestive tract. Besides helping your body digest food, these microbes in your gut help regulate your metabolism, weight, hunger, and immune system. Probiotics consist of beneficial bacteria that help to lower inflammation and prevent infection.
A Swedish study included 181 factory workers who either consumed a beverage containing the probiotic bacteria lactobacillus reuteri or a drink without it for a duration of 80 days. Only 10 of the 94 workers who consumed the beverage with lactobacillus reuteri reported taking sick days while 23 of the 87 employees in the placebo group needed time off for illness.
Like probiotics, fermented foods support bacterial health. In addition to taking a daily probiotic supplement, you may want to incorporate fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, and unpasteurized sauerkraut into your diet.
Zinc has long been appreciated for its aphrodisiac properties due to its role in testosterone production. However, this mineral may be one of your best protections against colds and flus. Because it functions in more enzymatic reactions than any of its mineral counterparts, zinc is essential to the immune system. Zinc improves the function of helper T cells. These cells play a vital role in identifying foreign antigens and warning other cells in your immune system about invaders.
Even minimal zinc deficiencies can have negative impacts on your immunity. Because ingesting too much zinc can be toxic, the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, recommends consuming only about 11 grams of zinc daily. Good dietary sources of zinc include oysters, beef, chicken, beans, and pumpkin seeds.
The health benefits of exercise have been touted for years. Besides helping you to lower your blood pressure levels, decrease blood sugar numbers, and lose weight, working out regularly may lessen your chances of getting sick during cold and flu season. Utilizing a sample of about 1,000 adults, researchers from Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina studied the correlation between exercise and succumbing to colds during the winter months. The results of their research was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. During the study, they followed healthy adults whose ages ranged from 18 to 85 over a 12 week period.
The participants who exercised five or more days each week experienced 43 percent less days battling upper respiratory tract illness, URTI, symptoms than those who worked out one day or less weekly. When the more frequent exercisers became ill, their symptoms were 32 percent less severe than their more sedentary counterparts.
The exact reasons exercise impacts the immune system aren’t fully know. However, several theories exist. Working out might assist in flushing bacteria out of your lungs and airways. The brief elevation of your body temperature during and immediately after exercise may inhibit bacteria from growing. This temperature increase may also help you fight infection more robustly.
Working out also reduces the release of stress hormones. Being stressed increases your odds of getting ill. To reap the most immune system benefits from working out, engage in moderate forms of exercise. Strenuous workouts might actually have an adverse effect on immunity.
A cold or flu can make you feel miserable for one to two weeks or even longer. To decrease your odds of becoming sick this cold weather season, strive to boost your immune system naturally instead of subjecting your body to potentially dangerous flu shots.
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