Do you want a cheap, easy and effective way to protect yourself against tummy-bugs (and ills & chills) this summer? Then go and wash your hands – and wash them properly! The aim of hand washing is to remove transient microorganisms in order to prevent their potential transfer into your body or onto another surface (including onto another human being). This is so you or someone else doesn’t get infected and sick.
Note: The simple act of hand washing not only prevents illness, it can also help stop us from becoming resistant to antibiotics. Not getting sick helps prevent the overuse of these types of medication.
Correct hand-washing has been likened to a ‘do it yourself’ vaccine. It’s important that we all make an effort to protect ourselves and others by making hand-washing a habit — but not a neurosis! (You should aim to be washing your hands properly at least six times daily.)
And, if you can’t get to a basin it’s a good idea to keep a small bottle of natural hand sanitiser with you, to use:
- BEFORE touching things (particularly before touching your eyes/ears/mouth and before prepping food and eating), and
- AFTER touching things such as telephones, keyboards…and small children! 🙂
Raise your own army of good bugs
As you may already know, around 80% of your immune system resides in your intestinal system. If you want to put up a good fight against tummy bugs (and ills + chills), then working on your gut health is the best place to start, as the micro-biome plays a significant role in our overall health. Generally speaking, here’s what you can do to strengthen your defence troops:
Eat a diet that is well-balanced, varied, and moderate
This should include carbohydrates (fresh fruit & vegetables, whole-grains, legumes), quality protein (red meat, chicken, fish, dairy, seafood, nuts and seeds), and ‘good’ fat (fatty fish, avocado and olives).
Not only will eating a diverse diet help to minimise food intolerance (which burdens your immune system) but you will also gain a diverse microbiome. People who have a greater number of different bacterial strains in their body enjoy better health because they are more resilient to their environment.
Feed your good bacteria on the foods that make them healthy
- Veggies – radishes, carrots, asparagus, garlic, artichokes, sauerkraut and kimchi. (Make sure your sauerkraut hasn’t been pasteurised.)
- Fruit – berries, apples and pineapple
- Miscellaneous items – Greek yoghurt, sourdough and miso
Support an all round better immune response
- Slow down and rest often.
- Depending on how much you weigh, drink between 1.5-3.0L of filtered water over the course of the day
- Keep your sugar intake to a minimum (including juices & honey)
- Only drink alcohol and coffee in moderation
- Avoid cigarette smoking
Be ill equipped..?
The majority of people only take Vitamin C infrequently or as required. They think its only uses are to treat simple health issues like the first signs of a tummy/respiratory bug invasion or for aiding iron absorption. However, because Vitamin C can support you during times of stress, and also make you more resilient to such invasions, it would actually pay to take it on a daily basis!
Some of the best food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, capsicum, broccoli, strawberries, kiwifruit and pineapple.
Vitamin C, in supplemental form, is also something that the whole family can benefit from taking. (Simply vary the dosage to suit the family member.)
Adults: Take the equivalent of 1000-3000mg daily.
Children: Take up to 1000mg daily.
Note: To provide energy and boost your immunity, you could also take natural ‘Multivitamins’ such as Bee Pollen (1-2 teaspoons daily for adults) or Spirulina (Take 2 -16 tabs depending upon age and activity level.)
In short, simply by regularly washing your hands, the bugs may not even get a chance to stage an invasion. However, should they be foolish enough to ambush you, then rest assured that you’ve taken all the other necessary precautions to ensure that those nasty bugs won’t stand a fighting chance!
TAPS Code: PP1812
Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath + Medical Herbalist. She draws on her professional training + experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice. Lisa writes the popular health blog: www.lisasaid.so