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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Smart

Fearless in the Face of Flu (even coronavirus)

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

I used to get sick several times a year with cold and flu viruses. As a child it inevitably meant a course of antibiotics, since it always went to my chest and I couldn't seem to fight it by myself. I seemed to have weak lungs and suffered several pneumonias.

It didn't help that hayfever and sinus congestion were my constant companions, creating the perfect environment for a respiratory virus to flourish.

It's now been countless years since I required a course of antibiotics. I rarely get sick, and when I do my own immune system does the job of fighting it off and preventing secondary infections within a few days of contraction; something I still find miraculously different to the experience of most of my life.

So what has changed? Sadly, it took the onset of an incurable autoimmune disease (and the life changes that brought) to improve my general health. This is just an anecdotal story - a case study if you like - but since the world is currently going nuts over killer flus and viruses, I thought I should share my secrets....

1. I stopped eating dairy and started eating a lot more vegetables. Dairy has now been clearly implicated in the onset of childhood asthma. Cow's milk appears to increase the amount of mucous production and airway inflammation in humans. If you don't want to give up dairy altogether, avoiding it during flu season or when fighting off a respiratory illness is probably a good idea. It's worth noting that coconut milk, which makes a great alternative, is rich in anti-viral properties as well. Fruits and vegetables, while rich in vitamin C, also have the action of thinning mucous production and reducing inflammation. Government guidelines suggest eating 5 cups of vegetables per day - a goal few people regularly attain.

2. I stopped eating refined sugar. Pretty much no cane sugar. Ever. Viruses and bacteria thrive on sugar. It's what they eat to thrive and reproduce. Studies show immune cells that fight these viruses are actually depleted when we eat sugar and the depression of your immune system after consuming sugar lasts several hours. If you can feel your body is starting to fight something off and you consume food containing refined sugar, it is an act of self-sabotage. It is like commanding an army going into battle and taking away their ammunition.

3. I support my immune system at the very first sign of a viral infection. Someone you know is sick. Your throat gets a bit scratchy. You feel your glands start to swell. You may get a mild headache. It's time to pay attention and help your immune system as it kicks into gear. If you don't have an autoimmune disease, you can use herbal immune boosters like echinacea or olive leaf among others. The main things in my arsenal include: coloidal silver (spraying the mouth and nose with it when in contact with sick people can reduce the number of viral particles replicating in your mouth and nose. Gargling with it can also help a sore throat), garlic (garlic reduces mucous congestion and fights infection by directly killing off viruses and bacteria), zinc (short term high dose zinc has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of the common cold), and vitamin C (an oldie but a goodie - helps the immune system fight the bugs).

4. I maintain good hygiene. There's nothing like regular hand washing for reducing the spread of viral infections. Although viruses can be airborne, most infections come from hand to mouth contact. NEVER touch food without thoroughly washing your hands. Make a habit of hand washing as soon as you get home from a public place, such as the shops or school/work. Use hand sanitiser where this is not possible. So simple, yet so effective.

5. I drink 2 litres of water per day, often with lemon juice. I never drink anything else except occasional kombucha or herbal teas. Water is cleansing. It flushes unwanted pathogens and particles out of the body. When you mix water with coffee, milk, cordial, or soft drink you are defeating its purpose and making your body work much harder to get rid of waste. When was the last time you actually counted your water intake to make sure it was optimal? Not liquid. WATER.

Before you get too down on yourself for your less than perfect choices... let me make a confession. I don't always get this perfectly right. I do have an inflammatory disease constantly reminding me with symptoms to keep on the straight and narrow, so I realise I have an advantage;) But in my experience if you get it right 80% of the time and aim for 100% of the time when there are colds and flus about and you are more vulnerable... it is enough to keep you from going under with viral infections.

The worst thing any of us can do is take a fearful, doomsday attitude when reports of killer viruses abound. There ARE things we can all do to stay healthy and fight disease, no matter how dire things look. Even if you have a chronic respiratory condition there are many ways that nutritional medicine can help identify your weaknesses and reduce your vulnerability.

Book an appointment if you have any chronic condition that might compromise your immunity and discover your individual pathway to better health.

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