To say that this cold and flu season has been a brutal one is an understatement.  Almost everyone around me has come down with something be it patient’s or co-workers. And it seems like we’re not talking about run of the mill bugs that have been going around, we’re talking people are getting hit hard for 2-3 weeks at a time, recovering just to have something else bombard their system two days later. I’ve had patient’s with diagnosed Flu come in for treatment, and here I stand…no signs of ill health and more energy than I’ve had in a while… and I have to ask myself WHY. Below I explore the reasons why I have managed, through massive exposure, to remain in good health through one of the nastiest cold/flu seasons I’ve seen.

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Theory 1- My immune system is a killing MACHINE

I myself don’t even buy this! I have a long history of a weak immune system including having a nasty case of chicken pox as a 6 year old, and having an unknown virus that kept me bed-ridden for the better part of 3 months in middle school. I wasn’t breast fed as a child which I believe has contributed to the marked difference in my immune health compared to my brothers (first born, breast fed…basic golden child stuff). I had a bad viral infection as an infant that only allowed my parents to give me 2 ounces of fluid at a time each hour! No, I don’t think my base line immune function is the best, it could be worse, and I think I’ve done lots to help build this up by removing food sensitivities and eating better…but we’ll get to that later.

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Theory 2- All those immunized against the flu are keeping me safe

I giggle as I even ponder this theory. The CDC has finally come out this year and admitted that their vaccine was pretty close to useless for this seasons predominant strain, but they think you should still partake anyways. 1-I have never gotten a flu vaccine and am 99.9% sure I won’t (never say never right?) and 2-the CDC has continually admitted that “this year’s vaccine isn’t as effective as last years” year after year… so if it wasn’t effective 2 years ago, and then less so the next and so on…see my point? The risk to me is not worth it, plane and simple.

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Theory 3- Many small changes are working together

This is the theory I’m going with at this point. Like almost any condition/disease/illness whatever you want to call it, there are so many factors to consider that one solution isn’t always the best answer. Your body is a network of systems working together, and thus strengthening the whole system should benefit me overall in good health.

I drink plenty of water daily, minimum of half my weight in ounces. This allows my body to flush out toxic substances and waste that if allowed to stay in my system could cause problems. I eat fairly healthy. Note that I didn’t say “I’m a doctor and I eat perfect”-isn’t going to happen people get real! In reality, I eat good 85% of the time. By eating good I mean staying away from food sensitivities, eating more veggies and super foods, lean proteins and limiting my sugar. Now…over the holidays I didn’t follow my own rules…I ate gluten (pause for gasp and shock) and a boat load of sugar…and I didn’t beat myself up about it either! I enjoyed things here and there, and my body hated me for like a day or two after…but overall limited tummy disturbances were noticed and again…not sick. A small amount of sugar and lower your immune system for hours!! I did however remain on my supplement routine- one of the factors I’m most impressed with. I’m only taking a multivitamin, Comprehensive Immune Support mushroom extract blend from Host defense, and 30mg of Iodine with L-tyrosine. Yep, that’s it for daily intake. When needed I take massive doses of D3, herbs like holy basil, and probiotics, but for the most part those have been left out this season. Do I think these alone are the reason I’ve been in good health? Certainly not, but I believe the immune tonification via the mushrooms and the increased immune support, detoxification and hormone production supported by Iodine has contributed greatly. These are two big things I haven’t done in the past.  I’ve been using essential oils more each day. The power of oils has blown me away by using them in treatments with my patients, but recently have been using more oils for my everyday needs and have seen some skin conditions heal fast! Other small things- I do a nasal wash once a week with oregano oil and other herbs to keep my passages moist and free of debris, and did I mention I drink a crap ton of water?? Add in acupuncture and adjustments and I’ve got a pretty well rounded support system.

To put things into perspective, as we look at the new year and making resolutions ( I prefer setting goals for success) the small stuff makes a HUGE difference. Making one small change a day, or even per week, can truly impact your health. No gym nut started with 5-6 days a week when they began, it’s better to do one day a week, bump it to two and move toward a bigger goal. If you’re not used to taking supplements start with one at a time. Get used to doing something on a regular basis and build upon it. Setting yourself up for success means being realistic with yourself and starting where you can. I think one of my DABCI instructors said it best, “It doesn’t matter where you start, just start somewhere”.