Am I the only one who’s super freaked out by this year’s flu season? It seems that every media outlet is reporting the early arrival and harsh symptoms of the nasty bug. I am more concerned this year than most because I am the mom of a newborn baby. With all of the controversy surrounding vaccines, I’m not super comfortable shooting up my 9-week-old boy quite yet. So I did what I always do when I’m anxious about something, research the heck out of it. I thought some of you might be interested in what I found, so here is a condensed version. The sources are listed at the end if you’d like to do some research of your own.
First things first, if you want to protect your kid, protect yourself:
- Keep Germs Out. There’s more than just washing your hands to keep the germs at bay these days. Keeping your sinuses clear is very important as germs tend to harbor there. A humidifier is an way to keep mucus from building-up, especially if you have the heater running which keeps mucus from flowing. One of my favorite things to use is a Neti Pot. It’s kind of weird, I’m not going to lie, but using this little gadget helps to flush out the germs that may be camping out in your sinuses. I figure I’d rather flush some water through my nose rather than blow mucus out of it for 14 days. It’s your call.
- Eat Defensively. Most sources agree that cutting sugar out of your diet will boost your immune system dramatically. “The sugar in a can of soda suppresses immune function by 30 percent for three hours,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, an internal medicine specialist and author. Make sure to eat foods that are nutrient-rich. Heidi Skolnik, MS, CDN, a dietitian and author recommends foods that are high in vitamins A, B, C, and E and in potassium, zinc, and magnesium. She says, “Live and active cultures in yogurt also pack a punch, as well as folate found in 100 percent orange juice and spinach.” For a list of foods that are powerful immunity boosters check this out.
- Boost Immunity with Supplements. Take your daily multivitamin. After much research, my favorite brand is Rainbow Light. It is affordable and is easily absorbed into the body because it is food-based. Everyone is always talking about how powerful breast milk is for boosting baby’s immunity, why not use it for ourselves. Now I’m sounding really crunchy I know. Some Mamas will actually ingest some of their own breast milk but I found another way. There is a supplement called L. Reuteri that can provide similar benefits. I’ve heard that fresh breast milk is best because it contains the antibodies for the current strains of illnesses.
- Stay Rested and Chill-Out. Numerous studies have shown that stress does weaken our immune system. Do your best to stay rested and keep a positive outlook on life in general. Here is a great resource for mindful meditation exercises that can help you relax.
If you’re a Mama and want some direction for specifically keeping your baby, most of the above applies to them too. For example, having a humidifier in your baby’s place of sleep is important to keep their sinuses clear. For more ideas, check out this link:
I hope this post helps. As always, please add any advice or resources you have in the comments section, it’s much appreciated!