It's that time of year again, Flu Season. Every year from about November-March, we are confronted with colds and flu. Once kids are back to school and the temperature starts to change our resistance seems to be challenged. Statistics are now saying that the average American child experiences 6-10 colds in one particular year! Colds and flu are the number one reason for doctors visits.
I don't have to tell you that 6-10 colds per year is a lot! What happened? It used to be accepted that everyone got about 1-2 colds per year. More often than this indicated an impaired immune function. So what's going on with our immune systems? How are we experiencing more colds and flu when we routinely use flu vaccines? And how do we begin to protect ourselves better?
We know that one of the best barriers to getting sick is to have a strong immune system. How does one do that? One way is to breast feed. Breast feeding is essential to building a strong immunity. Mothers actually pass along antibodies in their breast milk that act to protect babies long into adulthood. Breast milk carries antibodies in it that the mother's own body created in order to fight common colds, flu, and infection. These antibodies that are made by mother and passed to baby last much longer than any possible protection provided by vaccine.
In this sense it's actually beneficial to get sick every so often, so that we all have the opportunity to build the antibodies necessary to fight off invaders. I always say to patients who fall ill that it's a good exercise of the immune system for building better health in the future.
A second way to help protect ourselves against colds and flu is to wash your hands regularly. Your skin is in constant contact with bacteria and virus'. Once you touch something that is infected and then touch your eyes, your nose or mouth you have introduced pathogens into your body. Washing your hands means using soap, not just water! Whenever you are touching things that other people have touched, make sure to wash your hands. If you spend a lot of time with children, pay special attention.
Third, make sure to build and support your immune system. You can do this with acupuncture, herbs, and proper supplementation. See my former blog on fighting the flu naturally.