Everyone surrounding your desk is coughing, spluttering and blowing their nose. It feels inevitable that you’re going to pick up their nasty virus…. but does it really have to be this way?
Unfortunately, being in close proximity with others increases your chances of picking up a respiratory infection. Cold and flu viruses are transmitted by skin to skin contact, saliva, touching a contaminated surface and through airborne respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze. To avoid these bugs here are our top 4 common sense measures you can incorporate at work. Taking a natural-based immune boosting formula containing herbs and vitamins can provide further support by increasing your resilience to infecting microbes.
- Looking after you. If you eat junk food, sleep poorly and don’t exercise your immune system will be depleted and not function well. It relies on vitamins, minerals and plant-based phytonutrients in natural wholefoods to work optimally. Aim for 2 pieces of fresh fruit and 5 or more serves of vegetables and wholegrains. Protein in the diet is essential for immune health and includes fresh fish, poultry, red meat, dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes and eggs. Switch fast food for wholefood and your body will thank you for it.
- Manage your stress. Feeling overworked, anxious and sleep deprived…. your immune system will be too. Make sure you’re getting between 7-8 hours’ sleep each night with time beforehand to relax and unwind. Try exercise, meditation, reading or stretching to help release inner tension and anxiety. Take time off to decompress and re-centre, why not plan that holiday you have always wanted.
- Follow good hygiene principles. Wash your hands after handling communal objects in the office and wipe down surfaces regularly with a eucalyptus spray. Areas with high levels of germs include phones, keyboard and mouse, door handles, not to mention the kitchen and bathroom. Use disposable paper towels rather than a hand towel and keep a natural hand sanitiser at your desk.
- Keep it to yourself. Avoid handshakes, bear hugs and close interaction with your colleagues at this critical, highly infectious time. Ask them to sneeze into their elbow, wash their hands after blowing their nose and to kindly stay at home!
While all the above recommendations are important to avoid getting a respiratory virus, taking a superior quality supplement will give you an added advantage. Most of the best quality supplements contain a combination of echinacea, andrographis, vitamin C and zinc. Sometimes they might include other botanicals such as olive leaf, goldenseal and astragalus and nutrients such as vitamins A and E.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common ingredients in a potent immune formula:
Used traditionally in numerous countries, andrographis has gained popularity in Western medicine for upper respiratory tract infections, including influenza, sinusitis and the common cold. It is safe enough to take daily as a preventative, with the added benefit of providing liver and digestive support. Take a tablet twice daily for 3 months and reduce your chance of catching a cold by 50%. But if you do find yourself unwell, bump up the dose and you can reduce the length and severity of infection. Clinical evidence indicates that andrographis can reduce the severity of a cough, nasal congestion, headache, fever, sore throat, sinus pain, fatigue and even sleep disturbances.
Like Andrographis, Echinacea can reduce your likelihood of picking up a respiratory tract infection by up to 58%. It is important to note that there are different species and parts of the echinacea plant that can be used and this is why it’s important to choose a good brand. Echinacea Royale from Eagle and Bioceuticals Armaforce are examples of better quality immune support supplements. These companies only source grade A herbs which are guaranteed to get you results. Both supplements contain echinacea and andrographis as their main ingredients with other botanicals and vitamins to strengthen the formula. Take a low daily dose as a preventative and bump up the dose if you start to notice symptoms such as a sore throat and runny nose.
As both these products are Practitioner Only a prescription from your naturopath or doctor is essential
Zinc and Vitamin C
Zinc is an essential mineral needed for a well-functioning immune system and a deficiency results in cell-mediated immune dysfunction with a reduction in natural killer cells. This means that your body can’t remove virally infected cells from the body as efficiently. Zinc possesses potent antioxidant activity and helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Combine with vitamin C for a sluggish immune system, to prevent and treat the common cold and influenza. If you’re looking for an easy off the shelf product, Blackmores Echinacea A, C, E and Zinc should be your go to product. Take daily to ward off your co-worker’s infections. Soon they will be asking why you haven’t gotten sick!
Astragalus, Goldenseal, Olive Leaf and Ginger are other herbs to look for as ingredients in a good-quality formula.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Astragalus strengthens Qi – your life force or flow of energy. Astragalus is rich in polysaccharides which help to enhance host defence systems by allowing it to respond rapidly to a diverse array of harmful pathogens, including those that cause upper respiratory tract infections. It is one of the main herbs to consider in preventative treatment with the additional benefit of supporting kidney and cardiovascular health. Astragalus is traditionally prescribed for those who are fatigued and depleted, with chronic immune insufficiency.
Olive Leaf extract
Jam packed with an array of different antioxidants, olive leaf extract has got your immune system covered. It helps to scavenge free radicals, prevents bacterial and viral cells from replicating and helps to remove them from the body. Olive leaf is traditionally used to enhance immunity, particularly against viral infections and can be used as a treatment for colds and influenza especially if fever is present.
Incorporate these 4 easy lifestyle tips and an excellent quality immune supplement to avoid getting sick at work. Everyone will wonder what your secret weapon is but feel free to spread the word!