Check Up: Why does she keep getting the flu?
Jessica is a 54-year-old woman who doesn't have time to be sick! She worked through her first bout of the flu over the last Christmas season. She did not take any sick leave but rested when she could, but the business season was very demanding.
She was left with a dry cough, which she found difficult to get rid of, and occasional slight wheezing. She writes Check Up to share that she is ill again, and it seems like the flu, if it's possible to have the flu twice in such a short time!
She has a bad headache, cold and cough, feels weak, and this was followed with diarrhoea. She asks how this is possible, and wonders why she has no immunity to these bugs. She asks how to improve her immune status!
Jessica should try to insist on her own personal good health and begin to practise healthy lifestyle measures. De-stress and get some rest. Take the time to eat right. Work is never more important than personal well-being.
When she feels better, she should introduce exercise three to four times weekly as a natural 'high' feeling. It could be that she wasn't fully over the first illness or that she has succumbed to a new virus.
We are all continually exposed to organisms which we inhale, swallow, or which live on our skin. But at a certain time, near the ending of each year and at the beginning of a new year, we are also exposed to the additional burden of the flu virus.
Whether exposure to these organisms leaves us free of disease or ill often depends on how well our immune system is working. It is possible to boost your immune system to help prevent disease, but it will involve lifestyle changes to incorporate a holistic and healthy lifestyle.
• Eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables.
• Drink clean water.
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all.
• Don't smoke.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Minimise stress.
• Try to avoid infections. Wash hands frequently and encourage people who go to work ill to go home and rest.
Our bodies are always producing immune cells to help us keep healthy, but as we age our immune response becomes reduced, which results in more infections and also, more cancer.
Older people are more likely to contract infective diseases like influenza, and are more likely to die from them. The flu vaccine is actually less effective in older people, although it still helps.
There is also a strong connection between eating a proper diet and developing proper immunity. When our diet isn't varied and is much the same thing every day we can experience 'micronutrient malnutrition', where a person becomes deficient in some essential minerals and vitamins.
Deficiencies of iron, folic acid, zinc, selenium, copper and vitamins A, B6, C, E alter our immune response. So if you don't like vegetables or don't eat any meat, you may need to take a daily multivitamin supplement!
Exercise promotes good circulation, taking all the body's cells related to the immune system to all parts of the body to do their job. Exercise improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, and helps control high sugar levels and body weight, all of which are necessary to be healthy and capable of resisting disease.
Taking vitamin D3 and probiotics daily also improves your immune system and decreases your chance of developing a cold. Probiotics help remove toxins we ingest, which cause disease and cancers, and helps the immune system fight germs.
Some other herbs and supplements which can help to boost your immune system are:
• Ginger - Which breaks down toxins, has anti-inflammatory properties, can help kill germs and also boosts our immunity.
• Echinacea - Is a powerful immune system stimulant. It stimulates the immune system and is well known for its ability to help prevent upper respiratory diseases such as the cold and other diseases.
• Ginseng - Maintains and boosts your immune system and fights infections.
• Oregano - This oil is known for its immune-boosting properties. It has direct antibacterial activity.
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