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Allergies, Colds and Flu, Oh My!

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With the Swine Flu being covered so much in the world news lately, I think this month's blog is a good time to share some information with everyone on how chiropractic can be an effective tool to help keep your immune system strong to help fight off colds, flu and allergies. To many people who are unfamiliar with chiropractic and how it works, most would think that colds, flu and allergies have nothing to do with chiropractic, that's just for neck and back pain right? Wrong! If you've read some of the information on our website, you'll see that the true premise of chiropractic is to help you achieve and maintain optimal health by ensuring the optimal structural and functional support of your body. This includes the proper immune system response to foreign bodies, allergens, viruses.

Before we go further, let's learn a little more about what exactly colds, flu and allergies are. The Cleveland Clinic defines an allergy as the immune system's incorrect response to a foregin substance, a cold as a contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus and the flu as a respiratory infection caused by a virus. The symptoms for each are very similar. Allergy symptoms include itching, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, and sneezing. Cold and flu symptoms differ from allergies only in that headaches and fevers could be present as well.

The reason that allergies, colds and flu affect us is simple. When our immune systems are weakened, we are more susceptible to these allergens, viruses and foreign bodies that normally would be fought off with a healthy, properly functioning immune system. Your body's immune system can be weakened by a number of factors that include poor diet, excessive stress, the aging process, toxin accumulation, lack of sleep and too much physical and strenuous activity.

The best way to fight off allergies, colds and flu is simple - prevent them from happening in the first place! We can help strengthen our immune system by counteracting everything we just covered that weakens our immune systems. Remember to always wash your hands, eat a healthy and balanced diet, get plenty of rest, find ways to help reduce your stress through exercise, yoga, pilates or meditation. Finding a good detoxification supplement can also help improve your immune system function. Our body accumulates toxins from a number of sources including our environment, poor diet and detrimental habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Scorecard.org is a great website to see just how many toxins are in our environment and in the air we breathe each day. As these toxins accumulate, they prevent our bodies from functioning at 100%, this includes immune system function too. Ridding the body of these toxins can go a long way in improving your body's overall function. Think of it as spring cleaning for your body!

Supportive chiropractic care is another effective tool in ensuring proper immune system function. As we mentioned in our opening paragraph, chiropractic is more then just neck and back pain. We believe that optimal structure of the body goes hand in hand with optimal function of the body. The spine houses the spinal cord and our central nervous system that controls the function of every cell, tissue and organ in our body. When the spine is out of alignment, it interferes with the body's ability to function at 100%. Therefore, ensuring the proper structure and function of your body in addition to living a healthy lifestyle including taking the steps already discussed to keep your immune system healthy and strong can help you fight off allergies, colds and flu more effectively.

Those with severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, should also consult with their primary care doctor to help properly manage their body's immune response to various allergens.

The Cleveland Clinic - Allergies
The Cleveland Clinic - Colds
The Cleveland Clinic - Flu
Scorecard.org