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10 Tips for Improving your Immunity

10 Tips – To Help Prevent Viral Infections, Flu and Colds

  1. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face
  2. Gargle twice daily
  3. Clean commonly used surfaces often
  4. Stay hydrated, especially with warm liquids
  5. Healthy Nutrition is key
  6. Sleep, rest, and keep stress low
  7. Exercise is important
  8. Use supplements and herbs to support immunity
  9. Lessen Fear and Stress
  10. ABOVE ALL, Think Positively
  1. Be consistent in your cleanliness with frequent hand washing. Use HOT water and disinfectant soap after you touch any common places, like doorknobs, or have been in contact with other people. Take a “hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist temptations to touch any part of face (especially the mouth, nose and eyes) with unwashed hands, except for essential activities like bathing or eating. Carry alcohol wipes with you for when you can’t get to a sink and soap.
  1. Gargle twice a day with warm saltwater. You can use GSE (grapefruit seed extract) liquid, if you don’t like the salt. We don’t know about the Covid-19 virus, but the H1N1 virus takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. With the Covid-19 virus, it may stay around for a week or two. Either way, simple gargling can prevent proliferation. Drinking warm water or tea will also help. Some high proof alcohol, like a shot of whisky or tequila, can also disinfect the throat, as can alcohol-based herbal tinctures, like echinacea and goldenseal extract. Yet, limit your alcohol intake as it may make you more vulnerable and weaken immune resistance. Cleaning your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt in the shower or with a neti-pot of warm saltwater is also effective in bringing down the viral population.
  1. Wipe commonly used surfaces with 70% isopropyl alcohol (basic, inexpensive rubbing alcohol) — that includes door handles, toilet handles, and especially public restrooms. Carry your own pens to sign for any credit/debit purchases or banking.
  1. Drink as many warm liquids as you can. This helps flush viruses and other germs away from the respiratory tract. Drinking some warm herbal teas or lemon water (even with a little honey) helps wash proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, multiply or do any harm. Hydration is crucial to healthy function and defense. Drink plenty of water and fresh veggie juices, warm teas and hot soup. It’s quite nourishing nutritionally as well. I also use ionic trace minerals in my water, often along with vitamin/nutrient powder (like Power Paks or Emergen-C) and vitamin D drops.

5, Our Healthy Nutrition always plays a role as to whether we’re more vulnerable or not in getting sick. When we eat a congesting diet with more breads and baked goods, dairy products, excess meats, fried foods and sugars, it often creates more mucus buildup where germs can more easily take hold in our body. When we eat a nutrient-rich diet high in vegetables and fresh foods we keep our cells healthier and more resistant to viral invasion. Remember that viruses get into our cells and use them to multiply and spread. I believe that excess sugary foods weaken us, even though research hasn’t readily proven that.

  1. Sleep, maintain rest, and keep stress low (see #9 below) which allow your immune system to stay healthy and keep your body better protected from getting sick. Meditation is helpful as well as staying positive and avoiding the fear reactions and anxiety that are rampant. That’s not good for your immune health.
  1. Maintain your exercise or begin a good program, balancing some cardio with weight/strength training and lots of stretching to enhance fitness. However, avoid excessive exercise if you have symptoms, especially in the chest. If you go to the gym, use the same precautions about touching common surfaces and don’t rub your face, which we all do unconsciously. Or if you want to avoid public places and do outdoor hikes or home exercise. Also, saunas and sweating are good to keep us strong and clean. I am a fan of the ‘cold plunge’ or cold shower after hot showers, baths or hot tubs to close pores and keep that heat inside. NOTE: You can begin doing some qigong, tai chi or yoga to support heslthy immunity. These ancient practices have been used in modern times to help move energy and prevent colds. My coauthor of Ultimate Immunity, Dr. Sondra Barrett, has a free qigong video to get you started. The Neck Rub, Shoulder Sweep and The Thymus Pat and Hum are also particularly useful for strengthening immune health, especially when you begin to feel symptoms. These can be found in our Ultimate Immunity book.
  1. SUPPLEMENTS that can support the immune system and help fight off infections include:
  • Vitamin D3—5,000-10,000 IUs daily. Ideally, begin one to two weeks before flu becomes endemic in your community.
    • Selenium (as selenomethionine), 400-600 mcgs daily.
    • Vitamin C, 500-1,000 mg 3-5 times daily.
  • Vitamin A 25,000-50,000 IUs daily for a couple weeks around flu/viral times. If taken too long, this can be too high a dosage.
  • Zinc is important 25-50mgs daily, and zinc lozenges may be helpful for sore throats
  • Oregano oil and Olive leaf extract can act as vial disinfectant.
  • Garlic and the allicin part of that (see note below).
    • Grape Seed Extract capsules or liquid has natural antibiotic effects.
  • Echinacea and goldenseal extract (in alcohol) ½-1 dropperful 2-3x/day
  • Astragalus herb as directed on the bottle of capsules, tablets, or liquids
  • Mushrooms – maitake, reishitake and shitaki extracts as liquid or capsules can support our healthy immunity.
  • Additional Supplement Notes:
  •   Garlic – if I ever start to feel ill or on the edge with some viral infection, I use fresh garlic, taking several cloves at a time, dipping them in honey and chewing them. I may repeat this several times for the first day. Alternatively, you can press a few cloves into a hot bowl of soup. Garlic is a spicy and aromatic natural antibiotic and immune defender.
  • For chest congestion, drink ginger root tea (simmer a few slices of root in a cup or two of water). Also, use some of the hot ginger tea to make a compress and place the soaked cloth over your upper chest. This is warming (which tends to stimulate blood circulation) and helps break up congestion.
  1. Lessen Fear and Stress by following these suggestions. With the ongoing news about a potential pandemic it is especially important to be proactive in staying prepared and optimistic. Being in a constant state of worry depletes the body’s energy and resources that you need for staying healthy. Your brain and cells can’t distinguish between what’s real or what your imagining or worrying about. Now, more than ever, use your many stress-relieving tools and choices:
  • Stop (or limit greatly) following the news on TV or social media
  • Meditate twice daily
  • Take walks in nature and get fresh air
  • Talk to a friend – don’t get too isolated
  • Watch funny movies
  • Hum for a few minutes (humming calms us down and supports immunity)
  • Play pleasurable music
  • Choose well in all your lifestyle activities
  • Here are some tips for Stress Reduction on my clinic’s website: PMCM Stress & Self Care
  1. ABOVE ALL, Think Positively, even around your fears. Life always changes and often challenges us. Yet, all crises diminish and pass. These issues are not us, but a part of our global awareness and connection.

There’s still so much we don’t know about the coronavirus situation and how it will transpire, whether it will spread globally or calm down. Yes, we’ve always had germs and “viruses going around” yet this may be different. None of us has lived thru a pandemic, like the 1918 flu epidemic, so we need to see how we’ll live with and survive this. Start with calming the fear and fear-based media. Sorting out the truth is something we are always doing with the many levels of our medical system and government. I pray that this will align us all as a human race protecting ourselves and our planet.

And, as always, Stay Healthy!

Dr. Elson Haas and the PMCM team

Elson Haas, MD.

Integrative Family Medicine Physician, Author and Educator

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