During flu season, what are the best ways to avoid catching a virus?
The Centers for Disease Control tell us to wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. Wash for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Avoid touching your face, eyes , nose or mouth with unwashed hands. If your doctor recommends a flu shot, listen to their advice, particularly relevant for elders and people with immunity concerns
Eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Various nutrients in food help your immune system fight off pathogens.
Limit junk foods and fatty foods, avoid all sugar and reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates which lowers the immune system’s ability to fight pathogens.
Practice stress management techniques. Under stress, the immune system is weakened.
Get regular exercise. Research has connected exercise with an improved ability to fight off pathogens.
Certain nutrients support the immune system: key are vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and folate/folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc. Except for vitamin D (most bioavailable in D3 form), these nutrients are readily available through your food.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the immune system make T-cells and B-cells, and helps kill microbes. A study found that having high levels of Vitamin C before getting exposed to a flu virus made mice produce extra interferons.1 Interferons are proteins the immune system makes to fight off viruses.
Whether D prevents flu and influenza is controversial, but researchers agree that it is a key regulator of immune defense against infection by activating genes and pathways that support immunity.2 Vitamin D is often found in fortified foods such as orange juice but you should avoid those that also contain sugar. Good sources of D are egg yolks, salmon, sardines, and other fish, and swiss cheese.
Vitamin E is also considered helpful in support the immune system. Dozens of animal studied report that it offers protection against infections caused by viruses and bacteria. A Finnish study reported that the incidence of pneumonia in elderly men who had been taking 50mg/daily vitamin reduced the incidence of pneumonia.3 Great sources of vitamin E are nuts like almonds, seeds like sunflower seed, as greens like spinach and broccoli.
Like C and E, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system. Vitamin A deficiencies have a marked negative effect on immune protection against viral infections because the first line of defense against viruses where mucous (e.g. the nose), IgA, is inhibited if vitamin A is insufficient.4 Vitamin A enhances the effect of vaccination for viruses like H1N1.5 The colorful foods, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, are excellent sources of vitamin A.
Folate/folic acid deficiencies can contribute to alterations in the immune system functionality, which in turn can cause decreased resistance to infection.6 Legumes – beans and peas – are good sources of folate, as well as those all-important leafy greens.
Iron, selenium, and zinc, in balance also play important roles in supporting the immune system. When your diet contains a wide variety of nutrients through vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seed, dairy, and for non-vegetarians, seafood and meat, you’ll get sufficient amounts of these minerals.
We have an immune boosting package consisting of Jason’s Famous Cold & Flu Formula, vitamin D3, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), vitamin C, selenium, and l-lysine.
If you start to feel sick, seek medical attention. If you suspect you have been infected by covid-19, call your doctor or county hotline before going to the emergency room. Self-isolate, hydrate, and rest.
Why Washing Hands Helps
- Viruses like covid-19 are:
- a bundle of RNA,
- surrounded by protein,
- glued together by ‘grease’,
- soap dissolves the grease,
- breaking up the protein protection,
- and destroys the virus.
Also, you can try this home recipe for comfort.
- 2 red onions
- 2 red apples
- 4 limes
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 6-8 quarts of water
- Immune Netw. 2013 Apr; 13(2): 70–74. Vitamin C Is an Essential Factor on the Anti-viral Immune Responses through the Production of Interferon-α/β at the Initial Stage of Influenza A Virus (H3N2) Infection. Yejin Kim et. al. ↩
- Front Immunol. 2018 Mar 12;9:458. Vitamin D in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Influence on Immunity and Disease. Jiménez-Sousa MÁ, et al. ↩
- Clin Interv Aging. 2016 Oct 3;11:1379-1385. eCollection 2016. Vitamin E administration may decrease the incidence of pneumonia in elderly males. Hemilä H. ↩
- Viral Immunology. Mar 7 2016;29(2).
Hotspots for Vitamin–Steroid–Thyroid Hormone Response Elements Within Switch Regions of Immunoglobulin Heavy Chain Loci Predict a Direct Influence of Vitamins and Hormones on B Cell Class Switch Recombination. Hurwitz JL. ↩
- J Nutr. 2018 Dec 1;148(12):1968-1975. Vitamin A Supplementation during Pregnancy Enhances Pandemic H1N1 Vaccine Response in Mothers, but Enhancement of Transplacental Antibody Transfer May Depend on When Mothers Are Vaccinated during Pregnancy. Ahmad SM, et al. ↩
- Prog Food Nutr Sci. 1991;15(1-2):43-60. Folate status and the immune system. Dhur A, et al. ↩