S’armer contre le rhume et la grippe!

Who says autumn, says cold temperatures and… infections! This is not new, each year we wait for the germs to be like a fatality. But this season, we choose to wage war on them! To achieve this feat: we analyze the enemy, we reinforce the troops and we fill our arsenal.

Who is the enemy?

Why do viruses affect us so much during the winter season? The reasons are many and sometimes surprising. While it’s true to say that viruses love the cold (they replicate and spread more easily when the temperature drops), the real enemy is rather the body’s inability to adapt to its surroundings.

Basically, our immune system is not ready for the viruses that take us by storm as soon as the mercury drops a little.

Les raisons extrinsèques pour lesquelles notre système immunitaire nous joue des tours à l’automne sont :

  • Diminution de luminosité. On s’en rend compte rapidement, les journées raccourcissent et notre exposition à la lumière est réduite. Notre production de vitamine D, grandement impliquée dans les processus immunitaires, chute drastiquement.
  • Changement des routines. Le retour à l’école (ou à la garderie) signifie le retour du stress, le manque de temps, l’alimentation qui change, etc. Tous ces changements entraîneront des pertes d’heures de sommeil, une augmentation des niveaux de stress et une perte de la qualité de l’alimentation (moins de légumes verts, plus de restauration rapide, retour des lunchs similaires chaque jour, augmentation de la consommation de produits transformés, etc.).
  • Mode de vie casanier. Même si on fait un effort, on passera forcément plus de temps à l’intérieur pendant la saison froide. La proximité avec d’autres personnes, combinée à la mise en circulation dans l’air des virus par les systèmes de chauffage artificiels, augmente notre exposition aux germes.


Renforcer les troupes

Une armée qui part en guerre se doit d’être forte, constituée de soldats nombreux et bien entraînés. Il en va de même pour notre corps. Notre système immunitaire doit avoir des soldats prêts au combat : ce sont nos globules blancs (lymphocytes) et nos anticorps.

La production de ces cellules est régulée par le système nerveux, le chef d’orchestre de l’ensemble des fonctions du corps.

Lorsque la fonction nerveuse est perturbée, le système immunitaire ne produira pas suffisamment de petits soldats, ce qui diminuera son efficacité.

La subluxation vertébrale, une dysfonction articulaire entre deux vertèbres, déséquilibre le système nerveux (cerveau, moelle épinière et nerfs) et, par conséquent, le système immunitaire.

Studies have shown that chiropractic care increases the production of white blood cells and decreases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (molecules that stimulate inflammation). Another New York study reported a 200% increase in immunity in patients who received preventive chiropractic care compared to those who did not. Moreover, the flu epidemic of 1918 would have caused fewer deaths (pro rata) in patients followed in chiropractic.

That said, we understand better that viruses and germs are not necessarily the right target when it comes to fighting colds and flu, since they are present throughout the year. So, let’s forget about the antibacterial soaps which contribute to the resistance of bacteria and the alcohol disinfectants which dry out the mucous membranes and create systemic entry doors through the epidermis. We simply wash our hands with soap (anything more ordinary, a Castile or Marseille soap, for example), without making it an obsession. Our body must be moderately exposed to germs if it is to be able to train properly.

In order to strengthen our troops properly, we must first ensure that we have optimal nerve function (optimal connection). Chiropractic adjustment is the most effective way to achieve this. Chiropractic care certainly optimizes nerve function, but also the biomechanics of the body: with one stone, two birds!

Chiropractic adjustments correct vertebral subluxations and strengthen the body’s adaptation to stress. But stress takes many forms and healthy lifestyle habits greatly contribute to reducing the damage:

  • Optimal nutrition : The body functions on the energy and nutrients that are offered to it. Favoring vegetables and fruits as well as nuts and seeds helps meet energy and nutrient needs. Foods rich in vitamin C, omega-3, and zinc are especially important in building and maintaining a strong immune system. We reduce our intake of sugar, which weakens the immune system, and dairy products, which can thicken mucus. We hydrate adequately and reduce our alcohol consumption. 
  • Optimal Movement: Exercise builds lung capacity and helps the body get oxygen. Regular movement promotes good immunity.
  • Optimal rest: The quality of sleep is essential for the healthy management of stress by the body and for its immunity. Studies are numerous: disturbed sleep affects the quality of the immune system. To prepare for a good night’s sleep, we swap our screens for a book or some other tech-free activity at least an hour before going to bed (due to the blue light emitted by the screens, which disturbs the cycle. wake-sleep). We set a fixed schedule and sleep in the dark as much as possible.
  • Optimal environment: In order to help our lungs function well, we avoid irritants and allergens. Perfumes, scented candles, perfume diffusers (except essential oil diffusers) are to be avoided. Linens are washed regularly in hot water to remove dust mites and shag rugs are disposed of, especially in bedrooms. Every room in the house is ventilated regularly by opening the windows, even in winter. The temperature in the bedrooms is kept around 18 C at night.
  • Optimal Thinking: Emotional stress (relational, financial, etc.) is very harmful for the nervous system. It disrupts the body’s chemical balance by increasing the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn reduces the efficiency of many systems, including the immune system. To reduce stress, we first tackle the source when possible (financial arrangement, job change, family reorganization, etc.), then we learn to manage residual stress by adopting meditation, yoga or breathing techniques. Exercise is also a great valve.


Time for refueling

Now that we have strengthened our system, we can give it a little extra boost by providing it with some weapons.

  • The nasal shower. This habit is particularly effective in children. Whether using a commercial or homemade saline solution, the nasal cavities are cleaned with a syringe at a rate of 5 to 10 ml per nostril. We fly and voila! For small, well-blocked noses, you can use a nasal aspirator.
  • Supplements. Even when we adopt a healthy diet, our vitamin and mineral needs may not be met. This is even more true in children, who sometimes shun vegetables and certain foods.

Any supplement should be of good quality, check with a pharmacist. The preferred supplements are vitamin D, omega-3s and probiotics for all. In adults, additional magnesium and zinc are added. To ensure all needs are met, young and old can also consume a multivitamin.

  • Other natural products. Pharmacist Jean-Yves Dionne, the expert in natural health products in Quebec, offers some tips to fight colds and flu: echinacea (very high quality), oregano oil (in adults only , in prediluted drops), elderberry (some natural syrups for children contain it) and garlic.
  • Fever. Fever is a formidable weapon against germs, which poorly survive high temperatures. Our first instinct should therefore not be to lower it at all costs. The fever in itself is not dangerous, even when it is high. It is particularly effective during sleep, which is why it usually rises at night. We can choose to control our fever or that of our child to ensure a certain comfort. A doctor is consulted if it persists for more than three days or if it is accompanied by very severe neck stiffness.

In short, we are regularly adjusted by a chiropractor to ensure optimal health of the nervous system, then we adopt healthy lifestyle habits to which we can add some supplements.

Are you ready for war, General?