The flu can bring out the best or worst in each of us. Adversity helps us get acquainted with who we are and motivates us to get better. Do we have compassion and are we willing to give up our flu shot for another who needs it more? Should the swine flu vaccine become scarce or prove to be ineffective, we would have the opportunity to face and understand our fears more deeply and how to take care of ourselves. The answer to a flu epidemic or pandemic is physical and spiritual balance. Because if we are living in balance in all that we do, we can boost our immune system, live in better health and have a sense of who we really are.
The good news is that most healthy people will recover from the flu in seven to ten days and the worst symptoms go away within four days. There are also prescription antiviral medicines, Relenza, and Tamiflu, which lessen the severity of the flu and shorten its duration. In order for them to be effective you must take them within the first two days of the flu. Notify your doctor with the first symptoms.
It is always easier to prevent than to treat. Here’s how to boost your immune system:
Fear of the flu might be your best motivation to cut down on stress levels. Stress causes a great deal of physiological damage to your internal organs, particularly, your immune system. Situations that make you angry and aggravated are really not worth getting sick over.
Alkalinizing foods are anti-inflammatory. Fruits and vegetables contain powerful anti-oxidants to boost the immune system to prevent chronic inflammation. To shift the diet in the direction of alkalinity, switch to:
- Fish, chicken, veal, and lamb
- Fruits and vegetables—nine servings a day (a serving is the size of a fist)
- Whole grains like: Brown rice, quinoa, millet, spelt, and kamut
- Raw nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Green tea
- Cold-pressed olive oil
- Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins and aid cellular metabolism
Practicing a relaxed mindset which releases anger and resentment, striving to be at peace with others and with the self, is a necessary accompaniment to an anti-inflammatory diet. Our daily expressions hold clues to the harmful role of inflammatory remarks: fiery temper, consumed with anger or rage, burnout, etc. And it is the fire in our words and actions that fuels the inflammatory response, a virtual civil war we wage in the body and mind, releasing powerful hormones, acid in our stomachs and pain to alert us to the problem. The solution is to make peace with ourselves, change our diet and implement an exercise regimen—in other words, to create a balance that will heal both mind and body.
And make sure to:
- Get your rest. Sleep repairs cellular damage and keeps you balanced mentally and physically. When you are tired and weak, you are vulnerable to infections.
- If you are waiting for New Year’s Day to resolve to exercise, don’t wait; there is no better time than the present. Regular exercise kicks up the immune system.
- Cut down on sugars and stimulants. Sugar knocks out the immune system for several hours and causes your insulin levels to go out of balance.
- Air out your home daily. An energy efficient sealed house breeds mold which undermines your immune system.
- Maintain some green houseplants to purify the air for example, Philodendrons, Spider plants, Peace Lily, Gerber daisy, and Pothos.
- Wash your hands thoroughly. Don’t rub your eyes after you have shaken hands or touched germ-laden surfaces. A finger to the eye is a direct route of infectious inoculation.
To your health!