Flu season is in full swing and now, more than ever, it’s important to put our health and wellbeing to the top of our priorities’ list. Those eligible are being urged to get the annual flu vaccine but there are also natural health boosters we can take to help support our immune systems.
So, what can we do to support our immune system in a pandemic this winter?
How do I know my immune system is low?
If your immune system is low, you are more likely to have frequent or prolonged colds. Have you ever worked tirelessly to meet a deadline, to be met with the flu or cold after submission? This is due to stress. The NHS website states: “Stress can take its toll on your body and your immune system.” You may also find that cuts take longer to heal or you’re having digestive problems.
What can I do to strengthen my immune system?
Getting the right nutrition is key to fighting off illness. The World Health Organisation’s research has shown getting sufficient vitamin D in your diet can reduce your risk of experiencing at least one respiratory infection, including the common cold, influenza or pneumonia by a third.
The Mayo Clinic also reported that lack of sleep can affect your immune system: “During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines”
How much sleep should I be getting?
Research suggests most adults need 7-8 hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need 9-10 and primary school-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep. It’s worth mentioning that more sleep isn’t always better. Adults sleeping more than 9-10 hours each night may result in poor quality, broken sleep.
What natural supplements can I take?
Going for a natural plant-based supplement when feeling run down could reduce your reliance on pharmaceuticals and stop a cold in its tracks before it really takes hold. Eleven per cent of the 252 drugs the World Health Organisation considers essential is derived exclusively from flowering plants and up to 50 per cent of the drugs approved over the past 30 years have come directly or indirectly from natural products.
Echinacea is recognised as one of the most powerful medicinal plants in this area and should be a staple item in your kit of winter health essentials. Research shows it can reduce the chance of developing a cold by 58% and speed up recovery by 1.4 days.
Potter’s Herbals Echinacea Tincture is a herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of the common cold and influenza type infections. The specific combination of traditional herbal ingredients including certified organically produced Echinacea makes this product one of the most potent formulas on the market.
Research from Potter’s Herbal, the UK’s leading proven, natural healthcare found that:
- Three in five (62%) prefer to use herbal medicines to treat a cold rather than a chemical product such as Ibuprofen
- Seven in 10 (70%) are more likely to buy herbal medicine if it was supported by published research
Dr Chris Etheridge a plant chemist, medical herbalist and an adviser to Potter’s Herbals says: “Every plant-based remedy has something to offer for specific symptoms or issues but the real power of these plants comes when they are used in combinations that harness synergy to supercharge their individual properties.
“There are countless combinations of medicinal plants which have been handed down through the centuries. They have withstood the test of time because they work, but it is only now with our knowledge of molecular biology, complex chemistry and genetics that we’re beginning to unravel the synergies and strengths that come from combining whole plant remedies.”
Potters Herbals Echinacea Tincture with Elderberry Juice can be bought online and in store at Holland and Barrett for £11.99 RRP.
What else can I do?
After every use, wash your reusable mask. Simply throw it in along with your laundry or by hand. It may sound monotonous at this point but hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and not touching your face are all vital to stopping the spread of any virus.