Did you know that there are more strains of the flu virus around now than there were a few years ago?
In 2012, a total of 2425 different influenza viruses were detected in New Zealand and it’s estimated that people with ‘flu-like symptoms’ resulting in a visit to a general practitioner affected over 48,186 New Zealanders compared to 41,133 people in 2011.
And that’s only people who actually went to the doctor. How many of us didn’t bother?
Our immune system works 24/7 no matter what season it is, but during winter it has to work even harder as nasty bugs of one sort or another try to latch on.
So how do viruses work?
Viruses are about a thousand times smaller than bacteria and bacteria are much smaller than most human cells. They are so small that most can only be seen with a special microscope. Viruses can only live inside a ‘host’ cell (human or animal cell). Outside of that they can’t function. The virus enters one of the cells in our body and take over the controls – making the cell do what the virus wants it to do, which is make more viruses. This is when the cold and flu symptoms start – fevers, mucous production, diarrhoea, and vomiting are ways our body tries to get rid of the virus.
A lot of factors can affect your immune system – diet, sleeping habits, stress levels, even genetic factors and state of mind. It’s little wonder it could use a helping hand!
Serious bacterial infections respond well to antibiotics, but antibiotics are not generally suited to viruses.
So what are our options?
We all know that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are good for our health, but is it enough? Well – it’s a great place to start but there are many natural supplements that are really effective in dealing with viruses.
Spanish Olive Leaf extract – The olive tree is among the oldest known cultivated in trees in the world and several biblical references suggest its use dates back to ancient times. Today it is well-known as an anti-viral and anti-bacterial herb. It works by interfering with ability of the virus to replicate.
Vitamin C – infections increase the body's Vitamin C requirements. Vitamin C can help to prevent colds and flu and also shorten the duration of symptoms in sufferers. It also helps to stimulate and increase the production of our immune defence cells.
Zinc – is essential for the optimal function of the Immune System and all of our immune fighting cells require zinc for their production and activation. Zinc also helps to inhibit the replication of viruses.
Should I take something to boost my immune system all year round or do I just wait to until I get symptoms?
There are no set rules to this and it often depends on your own immunity and health status. If you are more susceptible to colds and flu then a maintenance dose throughout the year is probably a good idea. If you decide to just dose up at the first symptoms of a cold or flu, then that’s ok too. Just be sure to start as soon as you get the first signs and symptoms and not wait until you’re a week into it. Inhibiting the virus at the very beginning of the virus attack can be the difference between feeling like you could do with a day off work to feeling like you wish you had the whole week off!
By Lynley Baker
Good Health Naturopath
Good Health Viralex Attack, Viralex Everyday Immune Booster and Viralex Children’s Chews have all been formulated to support the immune system against viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Key ingredients include Olive Leaf extract, Andrographis, Pau D’Arco and Zinc. They are available for secure order from our online shop.
We’d Love Your Feedback
What’s the first thing you do when you start to feel cold or flu symptoms?
Do you try to boost your immune system year round or only when you start to feel ill?