It’s that time of year again…cold and flu season.
As a Toronto chiropractor, more and more people are coming in with colds, and since it’s only October, and winter hasn’t really even started yet, we thought we’d give you some tips on how to stay healthy this “flu” season.
For starters, we’re ALL exposed to various cold and flu viruses, basically all the time. They never stop circulating, so avoiding them is pretty much impossible.
Yes, wash your hands…this is just common sense, and way less gross than not washing them!
When you sneeze, don’t sneeze into your hands, like we were shown as kids. Into your arm or sleeve, will help to slow the spread of these viruses.
But unless you’re planning on being a total hermit, and never leaving home, you WILL be exposed to cold and flu viruses.
What’s the best way to still be exposed, but not succumb to them, and get sick?
That’s the key…we are ALL exposed, but only SOME of us will get sick. Why? What’s the difference?
It all depends on how HEALTHY you are, how HEALTHY your immune function is!
You can have an office of 20 people, all breathing the same air, all talking to one another, all shaking hands, but only a few will get a cold or a flu. It’s not just random chance, it’s the ability of each of those people to fight off the virus, ie. how healthy they and their immune systems are.
What determines how healthy you are, and how healthy your immune system is?
That would be a very very LONG article, but we’ll give you some key take away, actionable points here to start with.
Ensure your Immune System is working as well as possible
Have you ever thought about how strange it is that cold and flu season HAS a definable SEASON?
Have you ever stopped to wonder why the vast majority of colds, and especially flus, happen during the winter months in Toronto? What’s so different about the winter?
The obvious answer is that in the winter in Toronto it’s cold so we spend much less time outdoors. And when we go outside we are bundled from head to toe, with only our face showing. Meaning, that even on the rarest sunny day, we get very, very little direct exposure of our skin to the sun.
This is key. From about October to May in Toronto, the amount of sun we get in the Northern hemisphere drops significantly, and with it, our ability to convert the sun’s rays to VITAMIN D in our body.
Vitamin D isn’t so much a vitamin as it’s a hormone. It’s naturally produced in your body, but it requires direct exposure of your skin (without sunscreen) to sunlight. It’s estimated that approximately 30 minutes of sun exposure, while wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the summer, is all that’s needed to get your recommended daily dosage.
The problem is that from October to May Canadians are almost completely covered in clothes, and as a result your body makes virtually NO vitamin D during this time. Not good. It’s no coincidence that this is when we see the vast majority of colds and flus in our Toronto chiropractic clinic.
In a study out of the Journal of Epidemiology and Infection in 2007, the group taking 800 IU/day of vitamin D decreased their incidence of colds and flus by 70%!!!
So, to have a healthy immune system, in Toronto, you need to supplement with vitamin D from about October to May. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Present Ontario guidelines recommend 600 IU/adult, which is enough to prevent Rickets, but inadequate for fully healthy immune function. The vast majority of studies recommend from 2000-4000 IU per day for adults.
The good news is, it’s one of the cheapest supplements out there, and one of the best researched of all supplements. If you supplement with 2000 IU per day over the winter months, it will cost you about $1.50 per week over the winter, less than the price of a cup of coffee. Literally pennies, but in my opinion, more than worth it.
Consult with your favourite Toronto health supplements store, and talk to someone knowledgeable to recommend the best product for you.
Generally, you don’t want to purchase the absolutely cheapest Vitamin D supplement available, but likely also don’t need the most expensive one.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Toronto chiropractic office.
To your health,