What to do about that Piggy Flu
Yesterday, my hubby came down with something that could be considered the flu. Sudden onset, body aches and pains, chest pain, dry cough. It sidelined him to the couch and will probably keep him home from work for a few days. Is it the famous piggy flu? Or just another garden variety bug that he caught from burning the candle at both ends? Does it even matter?
I thought I’d take this opportunity to share with you some of the strategies I use so that maybe, just maybe, the rest of my family won’t get sick. And if they do, they won’t suffer as severe an illness.
As far as vaccines go, I’m not convinced that a flu shot really does any good. Sounds like the new swine flu one is still under-tested and will be available too late to matter. There is more to do than washing your hands and sneezing into your elbow as the CDC keeps telling us to do. Let’s look at some things that can be done for little or no cost.
SLEEP Consider for a moment that sleep is a nutrient that we need every day. Scientists have shown that sleep is when we grow and when we heal. Parents know this first hand with their kids. When you’re sick, you sleep! Well, why not make sure you get adequate sleep BEFORE you get sick? This is one reason I’ve canceled all sleepovers this year. I want my kids home to sleep in their own beds at a reasonable time. Regular sleep hours are shown to be helpful in boosting immunity, and also in better brain function: retaining what you learn. Make regular, restful sleep a priority in your home and you’ll have happier healthier kids to show for it.
SUGAR We all love sugar, some of us have real problems with it as it can act like an addictive drug for some. The bottom line is that refined sugar can deplete your immunity and can drain the body of much needed nutrients. I could show you all sorts of articles and studies to prove this point. The bottom line is, we all need to look at decreasing our consumption of refined sugar. Replace sugary drinks with water, preferably filtered, from the tap and you’ll be saving loads of money and the earth ( all those toxic plastic bottles!). Take a good long look at how much refined sugar you and your kids eat over the course of a day or a week. Get conscious and cut back on the white stuff!
GOOD BUGS One thing that the Purell splashing germophobes might not realize is that we consist of all sorts of microorganisms living together in harmony. One group of bacteria that I’m particularly fond of is the lactobacillis family of bacteria that lives in your gut. You can add to this happy family of bugs that helps your digestive and immune systems to work optimally by enjoying foods that naturally contain these beneficial bacteria. Miso soup, Kim Chee, Sauerkraut, Kefir and Yogurt come to mind. You can also take probiotic supplements. This is one thing I get my family going on when there is a flu bug like the piggy flu flying around. I think of it as a tonic, a small action taken once a day that will make a big difference over time.
DE-STRESS Last but not least is about finding ways to decrease your stress levels. That may be a big ask in these trying times but is so so important. Taking a regular walk, doing daily yoga, remembering to breathe (that one is a biggy, believe it or not!) and taking time to laugh (I do that with the Daily Show and the Colbert Report). Reducing stress levels will help build up your resistance to illness.
I’ll have more recipes and strategies on flu prevention in my upcoming cable TV series, Dr. Susan Rubin’s House of Health. Stay tuned for more details.