By Sheri Wittmer
After a summer of historic wildfires in our beloved state, we have all experienced a rather nasty assault on our immune systems. Even in mid-September, toxic smoke continues to rest heavily on our towns, bringing with it, not only tree and vegetation ash but also microscopic particles of burned homes and all their contents. We may never know the degree of toxicity to which we’ve all been exposed in just a few short months. Now, as we are moving away from summer and desperately longing for those cooler, rainy months, we must prepare ourselves for the next immune threat. Cold and Flu Season.
How exactly do we get sick? We can catch a cold or flu by simply breathing in the germs from a sick person’s sneeze or cough. Then again, those pesky germs can be hiding out on doorknobs, shopping carts, towels, or tabletops. Without thinking, we touch our faces and the virus finds a new home in our nasal passages or throats. Even placing our cell phones down on surfaces newly contaminated by cold or flu germs can put us at risk of getting sick. Recent research tells us that cell phones are dirtier than most toilet seats. We can’t insulate ourselves from our germ-infested world but we can take some preventative measures to give our bodies a fighting chance to stay healthy. When the immune system is strong, it has in its arsenal the weapons to put up a pretty vigorous fight.
Here are some ways we can partner with our immune systems:
- Wash your hands often, especially after being out in public or around sick people.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Use disinfectant wipes on your shopping cart.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day. The more the better.
- Eat probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi.
- Reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Sugar is proven to suppress immune function.
- Get adequate sleep and rest.
- Stay active (moving helps the lymphatic system to drain waste from the body)
- Drink water to stay hydrated. (body weight divided by 2 in ounces)
- Take vitamin supplements daily (Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc per bottle or physician’s recommendation)
- Find reasons to laugh (laughter is a great immune system booster)
- Clean your cell phone with a microfiber cloth daily and this DIY cleaner once a week.
- 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Bottled water
- Small spray bottle
- Lint- free cloth
Fill spray bottle half full of alcohol and half bottle water. Shake to mix thoroughly.
Spray cloth once or twice then rub down phone, taking extra care around buttons and cracks.
Chances are good that many of us will come down with a cold or flu this season, but purposefully bolstering the immune system can lessen the severity and length of these ailments. And if you do get sick, be kind to yourself by taking the time to rest and eat nourishing foods. Be assured; your body knows what to do when you give it what it needs. Now bring on the rainy season!