• Kasie Carlson

Guide to Flu Season 2014

I have had one cold and one flu like virus every year for the past 14 years, possible longer, but those are years that I can map out. I can remember the exact moment when the sore throat hit and the fever started, for the past 14 years. Last year, I was at the Nutcracker with my Mom and my daughters and was FREEZING COLD, when I got home and could not get warm, I KNEW.

One reason that I remember it so well is that I feel so good the rest of the year, that one virus that knocks me out for 3+ days, and out of 365, it is very memorable. I had a little rhino virus two weeks ago ( that’s the common cold) but it was no big deal, no fever, no missed work, just congestion, cough and fatigue for about a week. I know that’s not it though, I know. It’s out there, in the dark shadows, waiting to strike. Maybe I will catch from a patient, that moment when I’m putting an acupuncture needle in someone’s elbow, they are telling me about their pain, I can feel their breath on me and then they say the dreaded words, ” oh and I meant to tell you, I think I’m coming down with something, is there a point to boost my immune system?” AAAHHHH!! Too late, I’ve inhaled the viral particles into my nose, 7-10 days later, BAM! Maybe this year it will be one of my kids, I don’t mind that as much, you just have to kiss them and hold them and love on them when they are suffering with a high fever, and that is often the culprit for me.

SO, I’ve been thinking, why don’t I , work at preventing my annual virus this year? See, I’m SO BUSY this time of year….I’m working, getting ready for Christmas, planning Thanksgiving, dealing with vacations from school and child care issues, I’m broke, hence the Christmas season, and I end up totally neglecting my body from Halloween until New Years, every single year. Well, not this year! I’m compiling my top 10 list of things that I WILL DO and I encourage you to do for the next 3-6 months in order to have your best flu season ever. Actually, if you and I do all of these things, it may just make allergy season ( pollen season in FL is about to begin) better too, because the stronger your immune system, the better your allergies will be. Before you read my list, know that getting weekly acupuncture is a given. I’m not even putting it on the list because it’s just so basic. I KNOW that when I get regular acupuncture, my immune system is stronger, and I sleep better, so, DUH…..make sure you’re getting Acupuncture and THEN, follow this awesome guide 🙂

Here is your guide to Flu Season 2014 ( 2013 is almost over after all).

Camu Camu

My newest fascination! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m super excited. I read about it and thought, why not? It’s actually pretty cool. It’s a berry that grows in the flood zones of the Amazon Rain Forest ( okay, new place to add to my list of dream vacations and something I want to see in my lifetime!) The fruit is the size of a lemon and loaded with Vitamin C, essential Amino Acids ( 3 of them to be exact), potassium, Gallic Acid and it apparently tastes yummy too! In Peru they even make Camu Ice Cream….yum! We obviously can’t just go to Publix and buy the fruit here in the US but many different companies are now making a powder form of it or encapsulating it. I’m not one for crazy hyped up fad foods BUT, this fruit is even showing anti viral properties in the research, I’m trying it for sure. I went to the health food store the other day and looked at it, $32.99 for a small jar of the powder? Are you kidding me? I went to my trusty Amazon today, it is grown in the Amazon rain forest after all ( sorry, I couldn’t resist) but here’s what I found! 3.5 ounces of the organic camu camu powder for 14.99! Ordering NOW and can’t wait to try this yummy super food…..

HYDRATE, HYDRATE and then HYDRATE

I really can’t believe how bad I am about rehydrating. I drink tea, coffee, wine, bla bla bla and I do not hydrate enough! I am on a mission, bring my trusty bkr bottle ( so I don’t load my body full of plastic chemicals) I LOVE THIS WATER BOTTLE, I know I’ve posted it before and I’m beginning to sound like an ad for bkr but it’s just so awesome…..okay, why hydration?  Well, it’s important for prevention but also important once you’re down. I think of water like oil in a car. Our cars need clean oil to function optimally and our bodies need clean water to keep our immune function operating at prime level! Water assists the body in carrying away toxins and keeping us cleansed internally. Once you’re down with a virus though, loads of water can cool fevers and even thin mucous, cool huh?  I have my water with me today and I’m really on a mission to keep it up consistently!

Ginger

I hear so many people talk about ginger and they act like it’s for EVERYTHING. I feel a little inflated when I TALK ABOUT GINGER, I do, I feel like I’m the authority because I’m a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Ginger or Sheng Jiang is used in many Chinese Herbal formulas but it’s not used for EVERYTHING, it’s pretty specific in Chinese Medicine. It’s actually not something that everyone should be using, and it’s certainly not good for every virus. Ginger is a warming herb in Chinese Medicinal medicine. So, if someone has a heat syndrome or symptoms like chronic migraines or rapid heart rate or even high fever, ginger should be avoided. However, that said, if a person has a weakened digestive system, their immunity will be lower. We have to have strong, healthy digestion in order to achieve optimal immunity and ginger can help to warm the digestive system, expelling cold and therefore, in SOME people, strengthen their bodies! Ginger stimulates the yang energy of the body and it also warms the lungs. The lungs are the key to strong immunity from a Chinese perspective, so keeping them warm and healthy can help to keep us healthy. Ginger is great for me because I tend toward having a cold interior and it warms me and strengthens me. The word “Jiang” in Chinese means “defend” I need that defensive strength this flu season. I put Ginger, raw, in my juice every day and I grate ginger into my warm detox tea every night ( a post for the future! ) If you have questions about whether or not ginger is right for you, I recommend that you see a Chinese Medical professional to determine that, email me if you need a recommendation!

Lemon….mmmm….I love lemon

Lemons are such a super food! The benefits are endless, really, I could go on and on, but I will simply state a few of many facts that I love about lemons. First of all, I try to drink warm water with lemon everyday in the morning before eating anything else. I posted this idea on FB 2 years ago and I can’t believe how many people were encouraged to start it and still talk about it today. I swear it’s one reason that my skin is so clear! What I know is lemons are just loaded with vitamins and minerals, vitamin C is clearly one of the most important because we know that vitamin C boosts the immune system. There is even some research that shows that lemon juice, as it enters the digestive system, will give the human body a boost of energy, some say it’s because of the potassium in lemons but the point is who doesn’t want an energy boost? Lemon juice loosens toxins within the digestive track and we’ve already discussed, better digestion mean increased immunity. Last little blurb about lemons is that research shows that the scent of lemon calms the nervous system, just like acupuncture, and the more opportunity we get to be CALM, the stronger our bodies will be…..which leads me to the next thing…..

SLEEP

Wow, this one is tough for me. I might need to put up reminders ALL OVER MY HOUSE. I tend to catch up on laundry at night after the kids go to bed. I also catch myself facebook watching, reading, blogging, you name it. I have a terrible habit of staying up too late because it’s the only time of the day that I have just for ME. When that alarm goes off at 6AM everyday though…..ugh…..it hurts me to get up. I MUST GO TO BED EARLIER or risk getting the flu again this year. When a person is sleep deprived, their T cells ( the fighters) go down and the inflammatory cytokines go up which over time, suppresses the immune function of the body and makes us more susceptible to getting sick.

Probiotics

I’m really bad about taking a probiotic supplement, even though I know I need to, I forget, it gets expensive, they have to be refrigerated and I forget that they’re in there and sometimes I just get overwhelmed with which one I should take. There are OVER 100 different probiotics on the market today. Over 100?? Which one should we be taking? Is the more expensive one better? Well, I set out to give you an answer. First of all, if you aren’t familiar with probiotics, the idea is simple. They are the GOOD BACTERIA. The bad bacteria, like ecoli and cdif and strep get into our bodies and occasionally they take over. We then take an ANTI biotic, which kills the bad bacteria and helps us feel better. Problem is, those anti biotic medications also kill the GOOD bacteria that we need to stay healthy. A pro biotic is a supplement form of the good bacteria that you can take every day to keep your digestive system at it’s best and your immune system boosted.

I always hear people tell me that they eat yogurt to get their probiotics, give me a break! That’s just a marketing tool for the dairy industry….yogurt is LOADED with sugar and if it’s not organic, it’s also loaded with hormones and yup, antibiotics! The dairy was treated with anti biotic before it was made into yogurt, totally defeating the purpose of a pro biotic. I hope that makes sense. Instead of eating yogurt, take a probiotic supplement. I set out to find one for you and link you to it, but it wasn’t that easy. I think what’s most important is that you find one that is $25 or less, is DAIRY FREE and has at least 1 billion strains of bacteria, here’s an example of one that looks about right to me.  I’m going to put a note on my fridge to remind myself, it’s that important!

Turmeric

Until I went to Chinese Medicine school, I thought turmeric was that powder spice that was in my Mom’s cabinet for 20+ years and all I knew was that it turned things yellow if you added it in.  I’m so excited about this post because totally by accident, I’m giving you a lesson in Chinese herbology! Remember when I mentioned earlier in this post that ginger was a warming herb, right? Well, turmeric is a COOLING herb. Guess what happens when you mix the two together? You get a neutral FORMULA. This is WHY I love herbal formulas that are blended and mixed to be balanced vs. taking ONE SINGLE HERB for everything. That said, I also add turmeric to my detox tea every night and again, I promise to post my detox tea recipe within the week, it’s awesome. So, back to turmeric, as a Chinese herb, it invigorates and moves the blood and the qi of the body, which relieves pain. However it also, from a western science perspective has something called curcuminoid in it. Curcuminoid is what makes it so yellow and it’s also what gives it the antioxidant properties that boost your immune system and detoxify your liver. The Chinese use it to treat joint pain but also to treat liver cirrhosis AND like many of the things I’m posting, it benefits that digestive system, thereby increasing immunity. It’s NOT the powder spice from your Mom’s cabinet! It’s a root that looks a lot like ginger except has more color, you can buy it at the health food store and grate it fresh into your tea, avoiding the need to spend another $20 on a supplement. I think that fresh is always better anyway and it tastes really cool AND makes your tea very very orangish yellow…..

LOCAL Raw Honey

I can’t say enough about this and I need to get some right away to help prevent my oldest daughter’s allergies this coming Febraury. Here’s the scoop, the honey, even organic honey, that you buy in the grocery store is pasteurized and heated to the point that you might as well just eat corn syrup. It has no nutritional properties left except the residual sugar. RAW honey has not been pasteurized or heated and is still loaded with vitamins and minerals and even has anti viral, anti bacterial AND anti fungal properties! If you get raw honey from someone close by and it’s local, then it actually contains that pollen from your local area and eating it everyday gets your body used to the allergen thereby, making your allergic response diminished. Not to mention it tastes amazing and delicious and why wouldn’t you do this every day? Oh yeah, honey goes in my detox tea too…..I’ve pretty much given you the recipe at this point!

Zinc

Zinc has been such a buzz  for the past few years, and with good reason. Our bodies need  a certain amount of zinc to function. It’s not a vitamin or a mineral, it’s actually a metal, and that is why it can be dangerous in high levels and the dosage needs to be regulated. Instead of talking about what it does, I want to mention what happens when a person is zinc deficient. I actually believe that I was zinc deficient as a child and still have a tendency to exhibit signs to this day. Signs of zinc deficiency include but are not limited to minor hair loss, irritability, chronic diarrhea, loss of appetite and poor sense of taste and smell. That said, it’s clear that a lack of zinc weakens the body, which we already know affects our immune system and makes us more susceptible to getting sick. One of these zinc lozenges a day is plenty, and you shouldn’t take more than 40 mgs a day, unless the body is extremely deficient, and even then, it’s temporary because in more than 40 mgs a day, zinc will build up and become toxic. I’m only going to take it during this flu season, then I will give my body a break over the summer.

SHOULD YOU GET A FLU SHOT??

I say NO WAY. I’m not a fan. I found this article to be very informative so please, read it, research it yourself and be informed. The only person that I know personally who got a flu shot this year, was sick with a cold, less than a week later. Without getting too political, I will tell you that flu shots are a huge money maker for the pharmaceutical industry and for the government in general. The CDC BEGS YOU TO GET ONE EVERY YEAR! Why do you think? Do you actually think that the CDC cares about your well being? They don’t, it’s a shame and the amount of mercury in one flu shot is WAY MORE dangerous to your body that getting the flu. Our government and the CDC in general, have made us fearful, we are afraid of getting the flu. I have some breaking news for you, the flu isn’t that bad or that dangerous. When we catch it, we build an anti body to it and over time, we get stronger, the more anti bodies we develop on our own, the better our bodies function. The flu isn’t that scary and the healthier your body and your immune system are, the better your ability to fight it and recover from it when you do get it.

I expect that I might catch some form of flu again this year but maybe with all of this jazz in my body, I will defend myself against it! Maybe this year, at the least, it won’t knock me out, maybe it will be more bearable because my body will be strong enough to fight. Don’t fear the flu or that winter cold, okay? Just prepare yourself and get yourself strong and ready!! Happy Thursday to you, it’s almost Thanksgiving!!

#flu #hydration #sleep #turmericrawlocalhoney #chineseherbs #water #acupuncture #ginger #flushot #camucamu

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