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Fall is here, are you ready?!

In Portland fall is officially here but our summer weather hasn’t gotten the memo yet. That hasn’t stopped the fall colds and respiratory infections from hitting in earnest. I’m leaving for Turkey for a real vacation in a week (I know, a real vacation!) so I’m doing everything I can to keep my immune system in tip top shape even though everyone seems to be coughing up a lung all over me…including my son and husband.

Here are my top five tips- not in any particular order, for the record.

1. Get your vitamin D tested. You’ll note I didn’t just say “take vitamin D” and that’s because everyone needs a different amount of vitamin D to keep them at the ideal level (right now I shoot for 50-70 for most patients but it may vary depending upon your genetic dispositions and other health issues.) I take 5000 iu daily and my most recent lab test has me at 68. My 50 lb nine year old takes 2000 iu daily and his level is around 40.

2. Wear a scarf. In Chinese medicine the ‘external pernicious influences’ or colds and such, get access when your neck is chilled. I’m not sure about the logic but it does seem to me that when I keep my neck covered I’m less likely to get sick. This year I bought some really really soft scarves that I can wear with just about any outfit. After all, fashion.

3. Drink water. Keeping hydrated will help fluids stay mobile in your sinuses and your ears. Your immune system will work better when you have enough water. I’m about to launch my 7-day energy infusion again (more about that later) and one of the days I’ll be giving tips about how to get more water in your life.

4. Get rest. I’ve been saying this for years and a few weeks ago a study was released showing that if you get less than 6 hours of sleep you’re over 4x as likely to catch a cold! I would bet that for those of us who generally do better with more sleep the statistic is even higher.

5. Watch your sugar. From what we understand sugar may decrease your body’s white blood cell function. White blood cells are responsible for destroying viruses (this is a simplistic explanation but good for now) so we really need them functioning fully. Most of us notice we feel better when we eat less sugar anyway, right?

6. Wash your hands. No joke. Wash your hands. Sanitize surfaces if you know there have been sick people around and about. I always err on the side of safety here, as my son and I both have asthma which can turn a cold into a weeks-long train wreck.

Ooh, that reminds me of a story. Once, a few years ago I was waiting at a United lounge for a long layover on my way to New York for work. Before I sat down, as usual when I travel, I was wiping the seat down with a sanitizing surface wipe. The guy next to me said “Oh, so good you’re doing that, you should have seen the guy who was sitting there a few minutes ago!” I looked up and responded “Wow, was he coughing or just sick?” “Both!” I kept wiping then looked up at him and he was smiling. “You’re messing with me aren’t you?” Well, he was. It was hilarious.

And I’m still going to keep wiping down surfaces when I travel. Easy enough, really. And as you might have figured out by now I’m not exactly worried if people think I’m a little on the off beat side because, well you know, I am.

More tips coming soon!

In Health,

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