Your immune system is made up of many different blood cells and specialty components. For the most part, when we refer to your immune system, we are referring to your white blood cells that roam around your body attacking foreign invaders. Sometimes these invaders are too strong and your immune system is too weak so you come down with a nasty cold. Both bacterial and viral infections can cause colds and cases of flu. Typically, the viral infection will last longer. A bacterial infection can be determined by either white spots in the throat or green mucus. Antibiotics are a common treatment for bacterial infections, but many people now are looking for alternatives to antibiotics to help with their colds.
The key is to boost your immune system before a potential attack happens in the first place. I always like to look at blood tests to make a better assessment of this. You can even look at your own blood tests and see how yours is functioning! One excellent indicator is your monocytes. If that number on your blood tests is over seven percent, you know you might have something else going on that is demanding your system's energy. Frequently, patients who have monocytes over seven percent struggle with bowel inflammation, or they might have an infection. They also might have had Epstein-Barr or another viral pathogen at some point. If eosinophils are over three percent, we might question if the patient has too much overall inflammation, potential parasites causing a weakened immune state, asthma, or allergies. One of the most important blood test numbers to look at to help prevent colds and flu is your total white blood cell count or WBC. If this number is below five, then your total immune system is weak.
Another important number to check is your vitamin D levels. If they are below 30, you might be at a higher risk for colds and flu. You can take 2,000 IU vitamin D3 daily while sick to dramatically shorten the duration of a respiratory infection. However, you can get too much vitamin D. So if you are going to take the supplement as a preventative, it is vital to work with a qualified practitioner to make sure your levels are appropriate. I highly recommend Ultra-D 5000™ from Apex Energetics. It's packed with high-quality natural ingredients and somehow it tastes amazing!
Other measures you can take to prevent a cold would be taking vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, garlic, and Manuka honey. You can take these both before you are sick and while fighting a cold. My favorite vitamin C recommendations are the powdered vitamin C by Alive, and the powdered CamuCamu or Camu fruit. Both have the whole molecule of vitamin C as opposed to just a portion, which is just ascorbic acid. But don't take it at the same time as magnesium because they can nullify each other. If you have a sore throat, you can gargle with lemon, cayenne pepper, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt.
Exercise, sleep, healthy food, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs are other things that can help your immune system. If you can aim for at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise 3-4 times per week, your immune system will be strong! Exercise is medicine! There are people who almost never get sick because of habitual exercise. Making sure you get good sleep every night is also imperative. Most people think six hours is enough sleep, but the older you get, the more sleep you need. Don't be afraid to sleep in!
Healthy food is a term that means different things to different people. Healthy food, in general, is going to mean choosing high quality, organic animal products, a very generous variety of fresh produce, some good sources of healthy fats like fish, avocado, nuts, eggs, and butter, and a moderate amount of carbohydrates and starches. However, I like to see someone's blood test to determine what type of diet their body does the best with. All these changes can fine-tune your immune system to work at an optimal rate. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs work wonders to clear up the sinuses, help reduce sore throat, body aches, cough, fever, headache, and energy levels!
Acupuncture works great to boost the immune system in general. In fact, every acupuncture treatment boosts the immune system. Initially, the body thinks that it is being invaded with a foreign pathogen, so it sends all its bests resources—white blood cells included. That tells the brain and bone marrow to then manufacture more white blood cells, interleukin cells, and other immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory cells for when it needs them next. We can even target with acupuncture which portion of the immune system is the weak link. I do this by looking at blood tests to determine where the problem is. Blood doesn't lie—it is a wonderful way to really see how well your system is handling problems and how it can handle problems down the road. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose any medical condition and seeking the care of a professional is recommended.
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Any and all information found on this website DrChristinaFick.com or ChristinaFick.com is for general educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as medical advise. Medical advise can only be given to an established patient where a medical examination can be made and a treatment plan is discussed. Dr Christina Fick is not a primary care physician and any and all concerns should be discussed with your primary care physician. We are not liable for any self treatment. © 2012 by Evergreen Medical Acupuncture, LLC. All rights reserved.