Prepare yourself for the flu season
Four ways to protect yourself and your loved ones naturally.
The weather has been getting colder with the January monsoon season upon us. Apart from keeping us wrapped up at home, wind chills can also bring an increased risk of catching the flu due to the close-proximity to your loved ones who may also be susceptible. Though the wearing of masks has reduced closeness with others, there are still risks.
Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that can prepare yourself for this upcoming season with the aid of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
- Fresh air
Fresh air is a great reason to get out of the house, and it also keeps your immune system strong. By getting periodic exposure to fresh, moving air, the amount of oxygen taken into your body increases. This allows your white blood cells to function properly to fight bacteria and germs.
Besides stepping out for a stroll around the neighbourhood, it is also advisable to clear out your living area. A deep cleanse will help to minimise dust, with the added benefit of some light exercise and the chance to rearrange your house!
- Stay warm & dry
Light exercise increases our core body temperature, which is the second point on our list of ways to keep your immune system strong. Researchers at Yale University found out that at lower temperatures of 33 C, key immune system proteins and interferons were impaired, allowing the cold virus to spread in airway cells. At the temperature of 37 C, infected cells die more rapidly, preventing viral replication.
According to TCM, the easiest and fastest way to heat up your body is through consuming warming food, also known as ‘yang’ food like red meat, pepper and nuts.
- Nourish your body
Speaking of eating, it is important to maintain everyday healthy eating patterns rather than only doing it after the immune system has been compromised. Regularly consuming a balanced diet of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ food allows your digestive system and body to remain balanced. Nonetheless, no one ever said no to a delicious gastronomical treat on a cold day.
Consider including a small dessert at the end of your day for added nutrients and goodness. Herbal teas such as ginger red dates tea nourishes the blood and dispels cold while Chen Pi tea alleviates phlegm, a common symptom of the flu.
- Promote good digestion
And just as the muscles throughout your body might tire more easily than they did in your 20s and 30s, the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract, including the oesophagus and bowel, can slow down. This often leads to increased symptoms, such as acid reflux or constipation, respectively, over the age of 65. Consider taking probiotics to help improve your intestinal health.
- Wind down
At the end of a long day, getting sufficient quality sleep is the best thing you can do to give your immune system a strong chance against the cold. During sleep, the body releases protective cytokines and antibodies that target infection and inflammation, repairing itself and preventing the flare-up of viruses.
Make it a point to set a nightly routine in a sleep-positive environment for you and your loved ones. Perhaps surrender your gadgets an hour before sleep time so as to limit your exposure to blue light and help your body get lulled into a safe state.
With practice, staying safe in the upcoming flu season is simply a matter of patience, effort and natural goodness.
** This article is contributed by Eu Yan Sang, which offers a number of products including chicken essence, bird’s nest and probiotics to help you fight the flu season.