If you’ve been considering yourself lucky because you’ve managed to avoid catching bugs from the people coughing and sneezing around you, I daresay that luck has nothing to do with it. The thing that’s been keeping you healthy is your immune system, plain and simple. And it takes more than luck to keep it—and you—strong and resilient.
I can hear you thinking to yourself: But Paula, I received my flu vaccine—that’s what’s keeping me healthy. Well, I’m here to remind you that vaccination and immunization aren’t the same thing. Even if you’ve opted for the flu vaccine, your immune system still needs to be robust enough to fight off any virus you’ve been exposed to.
Of course, it’s your personal choice whether or not you get the vaccine. I’m simply saying that the situation is more complex than getting the shot, and you shouldn’t assume that all is well if you do.
If it isn’t luck or the vaccine that keeps your immune system operating at full capacity, what is it? Like so many other factors in your overall health, it’s the choices you make on a daily basis that have the biggest impact on whether your immune system is strong and resilient or weak and susceptible.
Here are some choices that can help you keep your immune system working at its best:
- Eat right. Pay attention to what kind of food you eat and choose nutrient dense foods more often than you splurge on less healthy options.
- Exercise. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy and reap the rewards by sticking with it.
- Manage your stress. Keep stress at a minimum because it can put a real burden on your whole body, including your immune system.
- Wash your hands. When washing up, be sure to use warm water and soap. (But don’t get totally freaked out by germs—exposure builds your immune system.)
Plenty of people seem to go from head colds to stomach bugs all the way through cold and flu season without any clue of why. Maria Atwood is here to offer you some hope for sniffle- and ache-free days in her blog post “Healing the Immune System.” With an in-depth discussion of not only the immune system but also how it works in conjunction with your digestive system, Atwood will build your self-health knowledge and get you back in control of your health.
While it can take some time to get back on track, it isn’t super complicated. You can start to steadily improve your overall health by moving through the steps Atwood outlines. After all, your body is exposed to viruses and bacteria all year long—not just during cold and flu season.
Even diligent self-healthers can fall victim to illness every now and then, so it’s a good idea to have some remedies in your medicine cabinet. One of my favorites, Congaplex from Standard Process, will give your immune system a boost when needed. It also offers support to your thymus gland, which Atwood points out is a key player in your immune system. This has been a real health-saver for me in the past.
Congaplex can seriously help at the first sign of a cold or flu, such as a tickle in your throat that just won’t go away. I’ve been recommended a dose of two capsules every two hours for the first day or two until your symptoms lessen or completely clear up. Since it’s also available as Congaplex Chewable (though not as concentrated), even your non-pill-swallowing loved ones can benefit from it. But keep in mind that you’ll need to give your body extra calcium lactate and C complex as well as some apple cider vinegar and chicken soup to help the cause.
Remember, it’s the little things you do each day that have the biggest influence on how well your immune system fights off the crud you’re exposed to every day—especially during cold and flu season.
Image from iStock/AntonioGuillem.