With the arrival of warmer weather, the last thing we want to do is be stuck with a cold. While colds peak during the fall, spring ushers in a second peak season for common colds. Experts cite several factors at play for this second seasonal spike.
Getting a cold or the flu is not fun and running a business, where employees are either absent or unproductive because of a cold is even worse.
What are some simple things you can encourage your employees to do to help prevent your team from getting hit by the flu?
We have Dr. Stella Seto, ND, a licensed naturopathic physician sharing some of her tips when it comes to staying healthy and flu free. She has a special interest in sports and pain management, acupuncture, hormone balance and clinical nutrition/food sensitivities.
5 Tips To Help Ward Off Colds and the Flu
1. Prevent the spread of diseases and conditions
Of course you don’t want any of your employees to suffer from a cold, but you really want to make sure that they limit the spreading of germs in the office, to help avoid more employees catching the same cold.
The typical office desk harbours more than 10 million bacteria, 400 times more germs than found on a standard toilet seat.
It’s important to encourage employees to wash their hands frequently with regular soap and warm water for as long as it takes for them to sing happy birthday two times, approximately 20 seconds.
Mention this in staff meetings or display signs in prominent locations, such as bathrooms and kitchens, helps to remind them to do so.
2. Get your Vitamin D levels checked
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defences. Most Canadians don’t get enough sunlight to produce sufficient vitamin D, especially in the winter. Without sufficient intake of the vitamin, T cells--the killer cells of the immune system--will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body.
The research team found that T cells first search for vitamin D in order to activate and if they cannot find enough of it will not complete the activation process.
Most adults require 2000-5000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day for optimal levels, but you should get your levels checked to determine what dose is optimal for your needs.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin found in mushrooms exposed to sunlight, eggs and fatty fish such as salmon, herring and sardines.
3) Get enough sleep
We all know we need to get enough sleep but how does it affect your immune system?
When you don’t get enough sleep your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets inflammation and infection. Cytokines are necessary to create an immune response. They are produced and released during sleep.
Sleep improves the potential ability of some of the body's immune cells to attach to their targets, according to a new study that was just published.
Lack of sleep strongly correlates with low productivity. If your employees are sleep deprived, your business can take a hit, so take a look at these tips to help encourage your employees to get enough sleep.
4) Get your gut healthy
70-80% of our immune system is in our digestive tract. The gut lining has the surface area of a tennis court (200m2) and there are 10x the number of bacterial cells in our gut than in all our human cells, so it’s important to make sure the flora is balanced.
If you have excessive gas, bloating, cramping, allergies, low immune or autoimmune disorders, it may be a sign you may have increased intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”. Probiotics and fermented foods can help restore the health of the intestinal bacteria, also known as the micro biome.
5) Harness the power of mushrooms
Many mushrooms have immune modulating or balancing effects. One of my favourite mushrooms to help prevent cold and flu is chaga,
Antioxidant values of foods listed are measured using the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, a unit of measurement for antioxidant content which was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Chaga has one of the highest ORAC values making it one of the most antioxidant rich foods on the planet.
Chaga can be enjoyed many ways, I prefer enjoying it as a hot tea.
It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. This mushroom grows on birch trees and has been shown to have beneficial effects for the immune system.
To learn more about how to manage your current health conditions or prevent future ones, Dr. Seto will treat you as an individual and work with you to address your health concerns. She is covered by most extended health care plans.
Alliance Wellness: #407-1177 West Broadway @Alder