What makes a person contagious? Is it their smile? Their laugh? The pathogens they exude while acutely ill? Contagiousness is not determined by what they have or do, but rather how receptive you are to those signals. A person’s contagious laugh is only as powerful as my underlying mood. If my mood is bad it’s not going to affect me. This brings me to an issue that concerns many patients I see and it goes something like this. “Doc, I need to cancel my appointment. I’m sick and I’m afraid of passing it on to you.” While I appreciate their concern for my welfare, what they don’t understand is that their germs can only affect me if my resistance is poor.
When is flu/cold season? Flu season starts in the fall and proceeds through the early winter, tapering off in early spring. Did you ever wonder why? I believe it’s because this is the time of year when weather, lack of daylight, physical and emotional stress, poor diet, and cultural issues put more burden on our body’s defense mechanisms.
It’s fair to say flu season is basically from Halloween to Valentine’s Day. Halloween sets off the flu season as we begin burdening our systems with sugar laden treats. Sugar is the second most powerful immune system burden behind stress. So on top of that candy binge, what stresses play a role? Shortening days, seasonal weather, school and work burdens, hunting season and its associated sleep deprivation all start the process of burdening our systems.
Thanksgiving is next with a heaping helping of overconsumption. Our body’s biggest interface with the external environment occurs in our gut lining. Our immune systems largest workload is investigating incoming food for toxins, pathogens and parasites. Think of your gut like the local post man during the holidays. Imagine how hard and how much your immune system is going through when it inspects each parcel of food you consume to check for dangerous foreign substances. All of that checking takes extra energy and this overconsumption, further burdens your immune system.
The weeks leading up to Christmas are full of excitement and wonder – and stress. Snow, lack of sun, and lack of exercise along with decorations, decisions, shopping, parties, more sugar (alcohol too) and overconsumption! Most of us are aware of the stress that surrounds the holiday season, its no wonder this is the time of year when most people are given a forced holiday called sick leave.
New Years adds to the chaos with more sleep deprivation, consumption (particularly alcohol), financial worries and deadlines for year end.
You can see now how the accumulating stressors have taken most people to the point of succumbing to seasonal bugs, particularly the flu. By mid January flu season starts to slow down. But, little spikes of flu will occur with an upswing shortly after super bowl Sunday, then with Valentines Day chocolates, tax season stress, and usually last is the Easter candy weekend.
Being a doctor not only means being a teacher, it is also practicing what I preach. Thus I take very good care of myself to protect against the effects of being compromised by a patient’s illness. You can do this as well by paying attention to these issues by limiting or eliminating sweets, recognizing situations where overconsumption is possible and practicing moderation in both food and drink. Getting plenty of rest and some sunlight, along with some exercise will all go further in preventing the flu and other winter infections than any shot ever will.
Get an ADJUSTMENT! Research has shown that regular chiropractic adjustments increase a person’s immune function. THAT’S RIGHT!!! Getting adjusted optimizes your immune system. Researchers compared CD4 (immune system cells that fight infections of all varieties) cell levels in AIDS patients over the course of 6 months. One group was given regular chiropractic adjustments while the control group received none. The chiropractic patients showed a 48% increase in CD4 levels while those in the control group showed a declining CD4 count (-7%). Who needs a new AIDS drug, get your butt adjusted. When did that Study come out? 1989! Other studies have been performed on successfully reducing fevers; others show decreased severity and length of a host of different kinds of infections. The bottom line is this: If you have a fever, GET ADJUSTED. If you have a sniffle, GET ADJUSTED. If you feel nauseated or sick to your stomach or are suffering from diarrhea, GET ADJUSTED. If you are vomiting and you have a headache and etc., etc., etc. GET ADJUSTED!
Understandably, there are times when you are feeling so ill that you couldn’t safely operate your automobile or leave the toilet or whatever, but what you should understand, UNDENIABLY is this, getting adjusted and minding your daily habits will prevent infections and help improve your immune reaction when you are currently ill, thus taking contagion out of the question.
Remember, rats don’t cause garbage dumps, garbage dumps attract rats.
“If the ‘germ theory of disease’ were correct, there’d be no one living to believe it.” BJ Palmer
Dr. Stephen Y. Dobelbower