Spring has sprung but beware, the flu season is not over yet. It has been reported that this year Australia is experiencing a record flu season, with 71,256 lab-confirmed cases of the flu being reported. The real number of cases is likely to be much higher, due to many cases not being tested.
How To Protect Yourself
Nobody is 100% protected from getting the flu, however there are some steps that you can take to help protect yourself. Make sure you are taking care of your health to ensure your immune system is functioning optimally in order to fight off chances of contracting flu.
Here are some steps to make sure your immune system is strong:
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables
- Get regular exercise
- Get plenty of sleep
- Manage stress
- Take vitamins and minerals to strengthen and support immune function.
Specific Nutrients for the Immune System
Zinc is essential for all processes of the human body, as well as having a wide range of different roles in immunity. A deficiency in this trace element can severely affect the immune response.
Studies on individuals under extreme physical stress including marathon runners and skiers showed that taking vitamin C reduced the common cold risk by half. Another group of scientists found that vitamin C use (over 500mg per day) reduced the frequency of the common cold but did not affect the duration or severity.
Animal and human studies involving vitamin D supplementation have shown beneficial effects of vitamin D on immune function, particularly in the context of autoimmunity.
In addition to these vitamins, herbs such as echinacea, astragalus, cat's claw and andrographis can be beneficial in strengthening your immune system and reducing the severity and length of colds and flu.
Additional Ways to Reduce Your Chances of Getting the Flu:
- Wash hands regularly
- Keep surfaces clean
- Avoid sharing cups and cutlery
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
If you are thinking of getting a flu jab or think you are protected because you've been vaccinated, think again. A recent outbreak of influenza A in a Tasmanian nursing home affected 31 of 37 residents, despite 95% of them having had the flu vaccination.
If you are unsure about anything you have read in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9670 1346 or firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post.
Our team of qualified staff are here to help you.
Written by Tanya Lim
Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist at Evelyn Faye Nutrition
360 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 3000