Flu season is upon us.
Defined as the period between October and February, flu season is that horrible time each winter when influenza rates peak, and everyone goes around trying to avoid getting sick. Fever, headache, stomach upset, and chills seem to be lurking everywhere, waiting to grab us, so how do we prevent it?
While the common recommendations, like frequent handwashing and immune-boosting supplements, are all important, there are a few additional ways to battle flu bugs and keep yourself disease-free this winter season.
Did you know, for example, that chiropractic care can help you beat the bugs?
By ensuring optimal function of your lymphatic system, chiropractic care can help you avoid colds and flu and keep you healthy all year long.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Ins and Outs of Lymphatic Flow
Think of the lymphatic system as your body’s drainage system. Comprised of a complex network of lymph nodes, ducts, and filters that work to rid your body of bacteria, viruses, and other icky substances, the lymphatic system filters your body’s lymph fluid, which is a clear fluid made up of immune cells.
If you’re going to get a cold or flu, the lymphatic system is one of the first things a doctor will check. Think of your last doctor’s appointment. You know how the doctor feels your neck, just beneath your jaw bone? He or she is feeling for swollen glands and enlarged lymph nodes, which are a sure-fire sign that your immune system is working hard.
In a normally-functioning lymphatic system, your lymph nodes collect ickiness and then drain it out through the lymph ducts, many of which are located in the neck and along the spine.
When your neck and spine are all out of whack, though, because you haven’t been to the chiropractor, it’s easier than ever for those all-important glands to get clogged or blocked. This, in turn, creates a bottleneck in the standard functioning of the lymphatic system and makes it harder for your body to use its natural defenses to fight off the flu.
Here are a few additional tips to keep your lymphatic system in fighting condition:
- Keep your body in proper alignment with regular chiropractic adjustments
- Undergo periodic lymphatic massages to promote healthy lymph flow
- Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of fluids helps your body flush out toxins and stay healthy
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid putting unneeded toxins in your body through smoking and ingestion of other toxins
- Prioritize sleep – 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help you keep your immune system healthy
- Wear comfortable, flowing clothing that will not impede lymph flow or function
Chiropractic Care: A Non-Invasive Decongestant
So, what do you do when your lymph glands get clogged? The answer is simple: chiropractic care. By putting the neck and back into the right alignment and alleviating pressure on hardworking lymph ducts, good chiropractic care allows your lymphatic system to flow freely and work well to protect you against flu, colds, and other illnesses.
Another simple way to avoid cold and flu is to undergo periodic lymphatic massage, which can help you keep your lymphatic system healthy and happy all flu season. Many local massage therapists will offer lymphatic massage services, so be sure to contact your local healing professionals for additional assistance.
5 Additional Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season
While chiropractic care is an essential way to promote health, it’s not the only key. Here are a few additional ways to keep your body healthy and fit this flu season, and to keep the germs at bay.
1. Get a Flu Shot
Getting a flu shot is a simple and effective way to decrease the likelihood that you’ll come down with the flu. While it’s true that the flu vaccine will not ensure 100% that you do not get the flu, it will at least lessen the severity of the flu if you do get it.
According to the CDC:
“CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone six months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. The reason for this is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so annual vaccination is needed to get the “optimal” or best protection against the flu.”
If you haven’t had your flu shot yet this year, head to your local pharmacy or wellness center, many of which offer simple, inexpensive flu vaccines on a walk-in basis.
2. Wash Your Hands
Regardless of what line of work you’re in, washing your hands is one of the best lines of defense against the flu. If you come into contact with people who are contagious or who have been exposed to the flu (and you will), washing your hands is the best way to banish germs and do what you can to keep your body healthy and happy.
While they may seem deceptively simple, soap and water are two of the best defenses against flu germs. To rid those germs from your skin, though, you must wash your hands the right way: scrub the skin hard for at least 20 seconds. If you’re not sure what 20 seconds sounds like, sing yourself “Happy Birthday” twice.
Be sure to scrub the back of the hands, between fingers, under rings or other jewelry, and around the nails. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold – only that you’re scrubbing to remove germs.
3. Keep Your Distance
If you know someone is sick, keep your distance from them. Avoid shaking hands, sharing utensils, sharing cups or other fluids, or hugging an ill person. These tips are simple, but they can go a long way toward cutting down on the risk of transmission and keeping you healthy all year long.
You should also be vigil about keeping your surroundings and environment clean. If you’ve had someone sick in your home or office, wipe the doorknob, light switch, and any surface with a sanitizer wipe. These are cheap and easily available and can be an effective way to kill cold and flu germs.
You can also invest in sanitizing sprays that kill bacteria, germs, and other ickiness on fabric, surface, and more.
4. Stay Home if You’re Sick
If you’re feeling under the weather, stay home from the office. Not only will this give you the time you need to heal up and feel better, but it will also help prevent the spread of cold and flu, and make it easier for other people in your office to avoid getting sick.
While many people feel guilty about taking sick days, it’s important to place these in the larger context of flu season. You staying home from work for a day or two (and, yes, potentially inconveniencing your boss or fellow employees) is a small price to pay compared to an office full of flu sufferers. Keep this in mind the next time you need to take a day off work.
5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Diet, exercise, and good sleep are all foundational to a healthy immune system and a more streamlined flu system.
Think of these things like putting gas in your car’s tank: you won’t get very far if you don’t do it. When you prioritize these things, it’ll be easier for your body to fight off potential infections and stay healthy throughout the flu season.
With this in mind, take good care of your body, give yourself ample time to rest when you’re feeling sick, and add immune-boosting foods, like fermented foods, B-vitamins, and leafy greens to your diet. While this batch of tips is simple, it’s one of the most important things you can do to promote wellness.
A More Enjoyable Flu Season Starts Here
Flu season comes around every year, but it doesn’t have to be insurmountable. By following the five tips in this post, and by paying attention to your chiropractic health and wellbeing, you can keep your health intact this flu season and avoid being taken out by germs, body aches, and exhaustion.
Although many people believe chiropractic care is a mere “nice to have” during flu season, the research shows that it’s a critical method of keeping your lymphatic system healthy and functional, and can go a long way toward helping you stay healthy.
Ready for your next adjustment? Contact our team to book your appointment today!