• Chanelle Vaughan

Don’t let the Flu get YOU!



This blog was originally posted in 2014, yet as it does every winter it is becoming relevant again.

I can’t help but notice the temperatures dropping in the past few weeks and a decidedly winter chill in the air when I wake up in the mornings. As hard as I try to fight it there is no denying that the days are getting shorter and the nights cooler which means we are coming ever closer to what is known as “flu season”. So I would like to take this opportunity to discuss flu season, because as the T.V. ads suggest, you don’t want to let the flu get you! But how exactly does the flu “get you”?

The extremely convincing previously mentioned television ads with their slogans suggest that vaccinations are the key to avoiding being caught by the flu. The “Don’t let the flu catch you” suggests that the flu is something like a wild animal that is hunting you and waiting for the opportune moment to sink its claws into you and force you to succumb to its vicious aches and pains, sniffles, snuffles and fevers. But if you have the yearly flu shot you will be safe from the claws of illness. However, the flu is not a wild animal waiting to pounce, and I would be so bold as to suggest that the mighty flu shot may not be the savior we all need, and that perhaps the feared flu season isn’t actually a season at all.

The influenza illness is caused by the influenza virus, which has as many different strains as I have shoes (that means there are a LOT of different strains) and each year there is often a new strain discovered. This is the reason many people will still get the flu despite getting vaccinated – they just get a different strain from the one they were vaccinated for, meaning that while the vaccination works for some, it isn’t a guarantee for all. However the virus is constantly circulating in our environments. It is not dormant for ¾’s of the year only to raise its ugly head once the temperatures drop. It is in fact around us all year round. So we are just as likely to get the flu in summer as we are in the winter flu season. So what changes between summer and winter to make us more susceptible? The key lies in our immune system.

Our immune system is our defence against all the bugs and bacteria in our environment. It is composed of our skin, saliva, tonsils, blood cells, thymus, spleen…in fact almost every organ and system in our body has a small role to play in maintaining our immunity. So from this it is clear that maintaining our bodily health is a key part in maintaining our immune system. During the warmer months we tend to take better care of ourselves. We have more daylight hours to get out and about, to do some exercise, source fresh fruit and veges to nourish ourselves, we drink more water when it is warmer, we socialise more to keep ourselves mentally healthy, and we are exposed to more sunlight which is a key in producing vitamins within our bodies. We are also more proactive in our habits meaning we tend to get to the chiropractor to get checked and keep ourselves subluxation free and feeling great so we can do the outdoor activities that we enjoy with the people we love. Once winter hits we are indoors more, eating faster comfort food and drinking less water and more hot coffees and teas. As a result of this our bodies become sluggish, our skin becomes dull, and our immunity suffers. The relationship between the seasons and our immunity is clear to see.

There is a growing body of research to indicate that the immune system is directly connected and influenced by the nerve system, and as the nerve system is what we deal with every day, there may well be a link between Chiropractic care and immune function. Some studies suggest that certain immune marker cells can be up to 200 times higher in people that are regularly adjusted compared to people who are not under Chiropractic care. A list of links to published articles can be found here: https://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Immune-Function/

So rather than depend entirely on the almighty shot and fate to stave off the flu this season I would love to suggest we take extra care to be proactive and look after ourselves and our immune systems by maintaining our exercise levels, eating a variety of fresh fruit and veg, drinking plenty of water between hot drinks and keeping our body subluxation free by having regular chiropractic care. And as the ads say….Don’t let the flu get you!

– Chanelle, Chiropractor @ Boost Chiropractic.