When should I start my cold and flu season regimen?

If you haven’t already, start right now!  Today, September 19!  Build up your immunity now, so you’re ready for the onslaught!  I think the most important things you can do now are get your Vitamin D levels up, get the bacteria in your gut in good shape and get into the habit of washing your hands (all these are explained, and more — see below).

Home made ginger and turmeric root tea is a cold and flu season favorite!

Home made ginger and turmeric root tea is a cold and flu season favorite!

Get proactive about cold and flu season this year:

  • Get some sun on your entire body to maximize your Vitamin D! (Sandy Hook, NJ has a clothing-optional beach, btw, and the last ferry of the year is this Sunday!)  By “some sun,” I mean 10-12 minutes each side, around noon, no sunscreen, and don’t shower for as long as you can manage after exposure.  Any more sun than that per day, and you risk getting sunburned, which will inhibit your ability to get Vitamin D from the sun.  If you can’t make it to a beach, then lay out in the skimpiest attire you can manage.  You want maximum surface area exposed — your face and arms are not enough.  You’ll get a LOT more Vitamin D from safe exposure to the sun than you will from a supplement, but if you have to go the supplement route, take Vitamin D3 (not D2) with a meal that has fat in it.  I take 2500 units a day – talk to your health professional about your own dosing.  In New York, you only have until the end of September to get a good amount of Vitamin D from the sun.  So, get your ass in the sun!
  • You need good bacteria in your gut.  Just google gut bacteria and any health condition you can think of, and you’ll see that it pretty much helps with everything, especially immunity.  I like New Chapter probiotics in general.  they’re expensive, but I feel like they do things right.  Also, I like it because there are either 9 or 10 different strains of beneficial bacteria and you need diversity in your gut as well as quantity of bacteria.  They put the additional things in there, too, like a pre-biotic (basically food for the good bacteria).  I have taken this product for a year (when I need it – not daily, but I’d say I average a spoonful every week), and I feel it has worked for me.  After I had bacterial pneumonia a few years ago, I built up my bacteria after very heavy antibiotic use and I took almost a half bottle of probiotics a DAY and had no ill effects.  Reminder: I am not a doctor or even someone who does this professionally, so you should totally run all this past your doctor or nutritionist or whoever it is that you trust in this area.
  • If you are not already, get into the habit of washing your hands!  Make sure you wash them well before all meals and before you touch your mouth, nose, ears or eyes.  Keep a packet of wipes in your bag or pocket.  I like CleanWell wipes because they are natural, don’t use alcohol (so they are not drying) and the smell is not offensive.  Teach your kids to wash or wipe their hands before all meals and snacks.
  • Get your sick kit together.  Here are my recommendations from last year.
  • Get a good humidifier.  Here are my recommendations on what to look for in a humidifier.
  • Note: Vitamin C is a great thing to take for colds, especially when you feel one coming on.  If you’re going to buy some, try to get any whole-food version of it, such as Tru-C or Truly Natural Vitamin C.  Also, crazy blood sugar swings mess up your immunity (and pretty much everything in your body), so go easy on the sugar and alcohol, and while you’re at it, get some sleep.  All that helps, too.

If you like raw sauerkraut, eating it can be a great way to get Vitamin C and beneficial bacteria all winter long!

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