Confronting Flu Season: Effective Strategies for Prevention

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It’s January, which means that the flu season is in full swing, and public health officials are characterizing it as one of the worst in years. According the the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year’s flu vaccine is only estimated to be about 32 percent effective in the United States, as compared to an average effectiveness rate of about 60 percent. Even worse, the dominant strain is the H3N2 strain, which is known to have more severe symptoms and be more dangerous for vulnerable populations, especially young children and older adults.

If you’re looking to protect yourself and your family from the flu this season, you’re probably familiar with the standard advice: make sure you get vaccinated (if you are healthy enough), wash your hands often, and limit your contact with people who are sick. Following that advice is important, but there are additional immune-boosting strategies that can also help you ward off the flu. Read on to learn more about how chiropractic adjustment, massage therapy, and nutritional supplementation can all help you stay healthy this flu season.

Chiropractic Adjustment and Immune System Health

Many people associate chiropractic adjustment primarily with back pain relief, but spinal manipulation actually has a wide range of unexpected benefits — including boosting your immune system. The spine channels information from the brain to the rest of your body, so misalignment has the potential to disrupt communications between the nervous system and the immune system. As a result, if you are out of alignment, your body may have a lower capacity to fight off the infection when you come into contact with the flu virus.

Moreover, holistic care is a fundamental tenet of the practice of a chiropractor, so you can get valuable advice about other ways to boost your immune system during your appointment. A chiropractor can help you improve your diet and manage other chronic conditions that can compromise your immune system and increase your risk of getting the flu. Here in Atlanta and all over the world, chiropractors recognize the immune-boosting benefits of chiropractic adjustment for both children and adults.

Strengthening Your System with Deep Tissue Massage

Another way to shield yourself from infection this flu season is to get a deep tissue massage. This massage modality relieves muscle tension, which improves circulation and thereby ensures that your cells are getting all the oxygen and nutrients they need to function at an optimal level — putting them in the best possible position to fight off invaders like the flu virus. Plus, the experience of getting a deep tissue massage can be extremely relaxing, which can lower your overall stress level, and stress is another well-known risk factor for getting the flu.

It is important to note that a deep tissue massage probably won’t help if you are already sick. In fact, some massage therapists warn that it could actually make it worse, because increasing your blood flow will only allow the flu to circulate more widely throughout your body. Therefore, if you start experiencing flu-like symptoms before your massage, it’s probably best to cancel your appointment and limit your contact with other people until at least 24 hours after your fever breaks.

The Best Dietary Supplements for Flu Prevention

You can find lots of nutritional supplements that claim to boost your immune system and fight off infection, but certain options are known to be more effective than others. Here are a few of the suggestions you may want to consider:

 

  • Multivitamins. Everyone knows that taking a multivitamin is a great way to maintain your general health, but if you’re looking for an immune boost, make sure your multivitamin includes a comprehensive nutritional profile, including adequate amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene.

 

  • Curcumin. Curcumin is the active constituent of turmeric, the bright orange spice you might recognize from curry powder and other Asian spices. The immune-boosting benefits of curcumin have been recognized for thousands of years, but if you’re looking to take a supplement, it’s a good idea to make sure the one you choose is designed to enhance absorption, since curcumin has a naturally low bioavailability.
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D is best known for improving calcium absorption, but it is also essential to for the functioning of the immune system. Studies show that the vitamin D receptor is expressed on three types of immune cells — B cells, T cells, and antigen-presenting cells — which means that vitamin D plays a role in both the adaptive and the innate immune system.
  • Functional foods. If you find yourself skipping breakfast or lunch because you’re “just too busy,” you may want to consider a powder-based functional food as a meal replacement. Without enough calories and nutrients throughout the day, your body is in a worse position to fight off infection, and the stress that inevitably comes from spending all day hungry can also increase your risk of getting sick.

Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness is here to support the health and wellness of you and your family this flu season. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about the nutritional supplements we offer!

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