It’s that time again – cold and flu season is upon us, and people are already dropping like flies! Most of you are probably wondering how you can avoid the germs that are so evidently upon us.
Tons of hand sanitation right? Not so fast…
In the past you’ve probably just had your kids wash their hands more often and use a ton of hand sanitizer. But that may have not be the best decision for your family.
For the past few years there has been a bit of controversy about an ingredient in anti-bacterial hand soaps called triclosan. Studies came out as early at 2010 that this ingredient had a weakening effect on muscle function, is a hormone disruptor, and increased the number of anti-biotic resistant organisms.
However, it wasn’t until just a few months ago in 2016 that the FDA effectively put a ban on the product. They now state “the FDA doesn’t have evidence that triclosan in over-the-counter consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.” Triclosan was actually registered as a pesticide with the EPA during the time it was being added to our cosmetic products.
So how did a product that was so dangerous to our health become a regular ingredient in our household products? I have no idea. My point is, let’s focus on keeping our bodies and immune systems working properly and not turn to synthetic products to keep us healthy.
There are a lot of new, all natural cosmetic ingredients flooding the market since the consumers have become disillusioned because of stories just like this. Read the labels and be aware of the chemicals in our home, especially the ones with long lists of ingredients. Personally, I have been using essential oils a lot more around the house for disinfecting and overall wellness.
So is that all we should do to fight illness this time of year?
The Cold & Flu Season
I read an article the other day that said there was no such thing as “cold & flu” season. It’s just a time of the year where lack of sunlight, bad food, and the increased stress of the holidays wreak havoc on the resilience of our bodies. Not 100% sure if that’s a true statement, but it’s definitely something to think about right? Colds are caused by viruses and there’s no evidence that cold weather causes a cold. Let’s explore some other possible reasons…
Lack of Sunlight
Why lack of sunlight? Well, because of the vitamin D that we receive from the sun. I live in Florida where we don’t struggle as much with lack of sunshine as northern states during the winter. But we still tend to stay indoors, cover up with pants, long sleeves, jackets and scarves so that we are unable to absorb the vitamin D from the sunlight. This hormone (it’s actually a hormone, not a vitamin) boosts your immune system and has been shown to decrease the incident of viral respiratory infections.
The Holiday Foods
When do we consume way more sugar than other times of the year? – the holidays of course! It starts with Halloween candy and goes through the Christmas treats.
When we’re eating all those holiday treats and our favorite casseroles made with preservative laden processed foods and bad fats, it’s hard to keep our bodies functioning at their best. This crowds out the good food from our diet such as anti-oxidants we receive from all those colorful fruits and vegetables. Try to minimize the sugar intake and eat plenty of real foods (apples, carrots, nuts, and seeds).
You don’t have to skip all of you favorite holiday treats, just choose healthier ingredients with real food. You can replace those casseroles with fresh roasted root vegetables, roasted asparagus, or brussel sprouts with bacon. Also boost your vitamin C level by eating foods such oranges, broccoli, kale and red peppers.
And lastly, the stress of the holidays will pay a significant impact on your immune system. We tend to be busier with family gatherings and Christmas parties and therefore don’t take the time to relax and care for ourselves. We stress out about buying the perfect gift or taking part in uncomfortable family gatherings. I know it can be a challenge but you have to make time to take care of yourself. If you don’t make time for health, you’ll probably have to make time for illness. Try for 7-8 hours of sleep at night, and learn to say no to events you just don’t have the energy for. Also, exercise is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and stay healthy year round. Don’t wait until January 1st to find time to exercise, start today.
Thanks for reading this article and remember that every journey begins with a single step.
~ Kelly ~
If you enjoyed this blog you might also enjoy Boosting Your Immune System.