The best protection against the flu this season is to keep your immune system functioning optimally. Below are the top 10 practices for optimizing your immune system:

  1. Manage stress. Chronic and acute stress wreaks havoc on your immune system.
  2. Eat well. Eat 4-5 meals a day of lean clean organic eggs, chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, wild-caught fish, lots of fresh local organic vegetables, plus fruits (especially those rich in Vitamin C), nuts and other sources of healthy fats, etc.

  3. Maintain healthy sleep habits. Get a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep everyday.

  4. Hydrate! Drink plenty of pure, filtered water (preferably not from plastic containers). At a minimum, you should drink half as many ounces of water as you weigh in pounds. So a 100 pound woman should be drinking a minimum of 50 ounces of water a day.

  5. Exercise. Fitness strengthens your body and helps protect against a myriad of diseases.

  6. Avoid environmental toxins. Exposure to chemicals, toxins, pesticides, pollution weaken our immune systems.

  7. Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. A good rule of thumb is to sing the entire ABCs or Happy Birthday song while you soap and scrub your hands. Avoid sharing drinking cups with others.

  8. Support your immune system. Consider jump starting your immune system with a B-12 shot and/or oral vitamin and mineral supplements. Your current state of health and fitness will help determine which supplements and how many you will take. Call our office for our suggested Flu Fighter packages.

  9. Avoid crowds. The more people, the higher your chance of exposure to the flu or colds.

  10. Nurture yourself. Take time to relax, laugh, spend time with friends and loved ones, count your gratitudes, get a massage, or take a hot bath. Turn off the news, avoid negative thoughts and discussions, and any other source of negativity. Our emotions greatly impact our bodies, the more joyful we feel, the healthier we feel.

If your work or school requires you to get the flu vaccine, we suggest the following:

  • The best choice for healthy individuals between the ages of 5-49 is to receive the preservative-free nasal spray, which is FDA approved for this age group. (Contains weakened flu viruses.) Using the nasal route is preferable since it is the natural way for the immune system to “meet” the flu virus anyway. Side effects are sore throat, runny nose, and dry cough.
  • Afluria™ and Fluzone™ flu vaccines are available without any preservatives (specifically thimerosal, which is derived from mercury) only in a single dose pre-filled syringe. (Contains dead flu viruses.) Side effects are pain, redness, swelling, and soreness at the injection site (use cold compresses after injection to minimize the swelling and soreness), body aches, headache, malaise, and fever.
  • Neither of these vaccines should be taken if you are:
    • allergic to chicken or eggs, because flu viruses are grown in chicken eggs
    • immuno-compromised
    • if have ever been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The pharmaceutical distributors of these products have advised us that the following local organizations have received shipments of one or the other vaccine:

  • All Walgreens (confirmed) (updated 1/9/2012)

by Nurse Educator Lee Ann Harry, RN, BSN

Balanced Health and Wellness is Katy’s premier preventative health and wellness center, specializing in bio-identical hormone replacement, anti-aging and optimal wellness, stress reduction, and weight-loss resistance treatments. Call our office today to learn more: 281-855-2273.