We are seeing an abnormally early start to Cold and Flu Season this year. Half of the United States is already facing moderate to severe flu symptoms and it is not predicted to slow any time. The strain that is currently circulating generally does not start spreading until early spring, so seeing this trend in December is raising eyebrows across the country.
Is There a Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?
Cold and flu symptoms are similar, and it is best to visit your doctor as soon as you start feeling unwell to determine why you are feeling unwell and best steps to recovery. Symptoms can crossover between the cold and the flu, however certain symptoms are more common for each.
The flu is a type of virus that will generally hit you much harder and faster than a cold that will slowly make you feel worse as the days go by. You may experience sneezing, a stuffy nose or even a sore throat for many days as your body is working through a cold whereas these symptoms are not as likely with the flu. If you are experiencing chest discomfort, chills, aches, a fever and/or headache symptoms, you are more likely to have the flu than a cold.
What is the Best Way to Avoid the Cold or Flu?
For the average human, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise can boost your immune system, making you less likely to catch whatever is going around. Of course, for some it is unavoidable to come in contact with the cold or flu depending on their occupation or form of transportation day-to-day. Either way, it is important to consider how to keep your immune system working to the best of its ability to fight off disease and infection through proper nutrition, physical activity and if needed, daily supplementation.
Minerals such as zinc, iron, and selenium paired with essential vitamins are extremely important for a well-functioning immune system. If you are deficient in any of these minerals, you could consider a change in diet or supplementation to start balancing out your mineral and vitamin levels.
- Vitamins C, D, A, E, B6 and B12 are important for cell function, protecting against infection, inhibiting bacteria and regulating inflammation.
- Zinc is an important mineral for skin health and plays a vital role in immune cell growth.
- Iron helps with killing bacteria within the body.
- Copper will help with the immune response to bacteria and has anti-microbial properties.
- Selenium is a great defense system for your body and essential for the function of certain enzymes in your body.
Other daily immune boosters are a great idea for those of us that spend our day-to-day lives surrounded by many different people either in our jobs or during our travels. Looking at daily supplementation to boost our immune system, you want to ensure that the ingredients include essential vitamins and minerals, is easily absorbed and overall fills in nutritional gaps you might be experiencing.
Silver is also a great mineral to keep our immune system healthy and has been used for centuries by health practitioners for its antimicrobial and antibacterial benefits.
At the end of the day it is important to find what works best for you and your lifestyle. This could mean incorporating supplementation into your daily routine, improving your overall diet or making an effort to engage in more physical activity to stay healthy year-round.