Flu season is here and those eligible are being urged to get the flu jab to prevent extra strain on the NHS. However, GPs have warned of a potential shortage in flu inoculations due to increase in demand as talks around immunity continue to dominate headlines.
It’s therefore safe to say health is at the front of our minds which raises the question, what can we do to support our immune system in a pandemic in winter?
How do I know my 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 flu or a cold after submission? This is due to stress. According to the NHS website, stress can take its toll on your body and your immune system. Similarly you might find that cuts take longer to heal or you are suddenly plagued by 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 that 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 get?
Research suggests most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need 9 to 10 and primary school aged children may need 10 or more hours. It’s worth mentioning that more sleep isn’t always better. Adults sleeping more than 9 to10 hours each night may result in poor quality, broken sleep.
What natural supplements can I take?
Opting for a natural plant based supplement when feeling run down could reduce your reliance on pharmacuetials and stop a cold in its tracks before it really takes hold.
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.
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 drugs approved over the past 30 years have come directly or indirectly from natural products.
Potter’s Herbals Echinacea Tincture is a herbal medicinal product used to relieve 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 Herbals , the UK’s leading proven, natural healthcare found that:
What else can I do?
After every use, wash your reusable mask. Hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and not touching your face are all vital to stopping the spread of any virus.
POTTER’S: Natural family care since 1812.
Potters Herbals Echinacea Tincture with Elderberry Juice can be bought online and instore at Holland and Barrett for £11.99 RRP.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and 12 x author. Words & images in national and regional newspapers / magazines.