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  • Kirsty Bednar

10 simple and effective ways to protect you and your family from the flu

In the US the CDC have admitted this season's flu vaccine wasn’t very effective, apparently it started out 47% effective in the beginning of the season and then half way through surprise, surprise a brand new strain developed (which is what happens when we constantly vaccinate for the flu viruses - these bugs are smart and end up mutating to even more virulent strains) then the effectiveness dropped to just 9% so overall effectiveness of 29%. Would you want to inject all those nasties to give you such a small protection rate when there are so many other safe things you can do to protect your health.

A strong and healthy “terrain” (body) is what is needed to resist disease. Rather than trying to find the magic bullets to eradicate the bugs it is much better to do what we can to promote a healthy body to resist disease or at least even if we pick something up, we can get over it quickly and without complications. 1. Make sure you have adequate vitamin D levels and supplement if needed over the winter months (if you would like to find out what your vitamin D status is get in touch with me and I can give you a referral to get tested). Evidence shows that those with lower vitamin D levels in the winter months are more likely to get influenza. 2. Don’t burn the candle at both ends. Keep the balance! The stress created from our busy lifestyles is a big factor at suppressing our immune system and increasing our susceptibility to letting a virus take hold. 3. Make sure you get adequate rest and good sleep. Ideally getting to sleep by 10pm and getting 7-8 hrs. 2 hrs before midnight is equivalent to 4 hrs after midnight. Nothing beats sleep for enhancing our body's ability to heal. 4. Eat wholesome, nutritious food all year round not just when you’re sick. I always tell my patients to eat to nourish their body not just to fill the hole. If you are sick, good old tried and tested chicken soup is very nourishing and healing, a good tip is to make a batch and freeze a few portions so you have some on hand if you do come down with a virus (the last thing you feel like doing is cooking). - recipe in the next blog 5. Stay away from sugar and processed foods as they suppress the immune system. 6. Supplement with a strong and effective echinacea (a good echinacea leaves a tingling on your tongue), zinc and vitamin c powder over the winter months as prevention. 7. Have a potent antiviral supplement (I love Metagenics Andro NK or Super mushroom complex) in the cupboard ready to take at the first sign of a sniffle, sore throat etc, the earlier you can take it the more effective at reducing the time of illness and severity. 8. If you do get sick see it as your body telling you that you need the rest and take some time out to do that. It’s often the people who soldier on and suppress their symptoms with the cold and flu medications that stay sick for several weeks. If you can take those couple of days to really rest and heal, your body will thank you and you’ll get over it much quicker. 9. Drink good old lemon, ginger and honey in hot water (1/2 lemon with 1 tsp of raw honey or even better a medicinal grade Manuka honey, grate a 1 cm piece of raw ginger). 10. You can’t beat liquid herbs for their potency of healing power especially if the virus turns to a nasty cough which I can prepare for you as needed. Ask me about my fabulous herbal throat spray that gives great relief too. Remember I also offer acute consults if you need some advice outside of our normal appointment schedule. Time and again I hear from patients at their next appt that they had been terribly sick with something but never got in touch and just suffered or had to resort to pharmaceutical medicines or even antibiotics. Remember our natural medicines in most cases when taken early enough are very effective at preventing the need for antibiotics and pharmaceuticals.

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