Don’t Panic! Keeping yourself and your family healthy is a lot easier than you think!
In this day and age there can be a lot to be scared of as far as illness goes, and this year is no different with the emergence of COVID-19. While we here at Whole Health & Wellness take all health issues very seriously, we are also convinced that keeping yourself and your family healthy during times like this is relatively easy.
New illnesses are emerging all the time, largely due to the fact that many viruses mutate, so it can be pretty hard for medicine to keep up. That being said, the first stage of defense is to foster a healthy immune system. A body with a naturally strong immune system is far less likely to contract an illness, let alone have any severe side effects if it does. This is why so many illnesses only heavily affect the compromised such as the elderly. Unfortunately not everyone knows the best ways to keep their immune systems supported, especially with our fast paced fast food lifestyles. Here’s how a few simple steps can help you keep your immune system armed and ready for action!
1. Wash your hands! While this should be obvious, many have given lip service to this all important task. Just over 100 years ago, millions died of completely preventable illnesses simply because we were unaware of the benefits of a good hand washing. So next time you’re headed out of the restroom, don’t just rinse and shake - a good wash should consist of soap and warm water, 20-30 seconds minimum of vigorous scrubbing all the way to the wrist, and be sure to get under the finger nails where pesky germs can hide! It should be pointed out that simply washing hands has been shown to be more effective against most illnesses than antibacterial agents which can kill off our good bacteria that helps us fight disease at the skin level.
2. Eat well, drink plenty of water. Your body needs all sorts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in order to maintain a healthy immune system. While we can be tempted to turn to comfort foods when we feel a little run down, it’s even more important during these times to give our body the proper fuel to fight illness. Staying hydrated will also give your body the best chance at staying healthy since it is vital to cell health, and also helps flush toxins out of the body.
3. Get enough sleep - How much sleep is enough sleep? Studies show that most adults need an average of 7+ hours of sleep per night. Sleep is when our body does most of its repair work. If we limit the amount of time that our bodies are able to spend sleeping, we also limit their ability to repair. This is often the reason you may feel “run down” when you are fighting an illness, because it is your body’s way of forcing you to slow down and get some vital rest. It should also be added that conditions such as sleep apnea will decrease the quality of your body’s rest, even if you do sleep for seven hours, and that issues such as snoring or extremely dry air quality can irritate the throat and leave you more vulnerable to illness, so it is important to address these problems. (1)
4. Increase Vitamin D - Vitamin D3 is a super important nutrient for immune health. Studies have revealed that Vitamin D is actually as effective, or even more effective than the flu shot in fighting the flu! The big problem, especially if you live in the Midwest, is that most of our vitamin D comes from spending time in the sun. Not only do we have long periods of the year where we spend most of our time indoors, during the summer months when we do go outside we tend to slather on the sunscreen,which prevents vital D3 from getting through. This is why over 40% of Americans are vitamin D deficient (this pops up to 75% if you are a person of color). Deficiency means we are far below the baseline, and the baseline is a minimum requirement for the body, so we can’t possibly expect optimal function when we are at our minimums let alone below! Be sure to ask your heath provider about which forms of vitamin D3 are best to take and how much. (2)
5. Find some good Anti-viral vitamins or herbs - While there aren’t very many medical options to fighting viruses like there are for bacterial, alternative medicine has some great resources! It turns out there are many natural substances that have natural antibacterial/anti-viral properties. Herbals such as elderberry or echinacea have been shown to help fight viruses, as well as minerals such as zinc. There are supplements out there that contain all of these and more to support your immune system against a virus. Since not all supplements are created equal, we recommend researching a good brand first. One of our favorites here at Whole Health & Wellness is Viracid. We’d be happy to help you find what’s best for you!
6. Start using Essential Oils - There are many essential oils out there will anti-viral properties as well. Diffusing some oils into the air can cleanse the space you’re in and help you breathe in some protection as well. Don’t have a diffuser? No worries, simply dab a little on your inner wrist and sides of your neck. Just remember a little goes a long way! The top six oils that have been shown to fight viruses are: Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Cinnamon, Lemon Balm and Red Thyme. Bonus, your house will smell amazing!
7. Take Digestive enzymes - That’s right, taking a digestive enzyme can help you fight illness! While many people need to take digestive enzymes right before a meal to help them break down their food while their digestive systems heal, taking an enzyme between meals can be helpful in getting healthy. The enzyme protease taken between meals will break down the protein coating on viruses, which makes it much easier for your body to swoop in for the kill once their defenses are down!
8. Get a Chiropractic Adjustment! - Adjustments have been proven to boost the immune system. Adjustments performed by chiropractors and osteopaths in fact saved lives during Spanish Flu epidemic in 1917-1918. Studies show that adjustments boost immune factors such as CD4 cell production and IgA secretion, both super important parts of our immune systems. (3) Plus, you’ll just FEEL better!
We can’t control everything going on around us, but we can control what we do to help (or hurt) our bodies in preventing illness. Take the right steps today and stay healthy for tomorrow!
Dr. Caroline Ricker has been passionately helping people avoid unnecessary medications and surgeries since 2009. She combines a very logical functional medicine approach to digestive disorders and more using a more alternative holistic approach, utilizing standard lab tests and in-office evaluations as well as nutrition, acupuncture and homeopathy.
Whole Health & Wellness
10807 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
P: (314) 269-3847
3. Gregory Saggio, DO; Salvatore Docimo, DO; Jennifer Pile, DO; Jennifer Norton, DO, RN; and Wolfgang Gilliar, DO; ‘Impact of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Secretory Immunoglobulin A Levels in a Stressed Population’; Journal of the American Osteopathic Association: March 2011, Vol. 111, No. 3, pp. 143-147)