How does our immune system ‘win’ the flu war?
In order to understand influenza (a.k.a. flu), it is important to know how disease spreads and how does the immune system work. How the immune system responds to disease and what you can do to safeguard yourself and your child against various bacteria and viruses.
There are 4 different types of enemies (pathogens)
1. bacteria (e.g. strep, bladder infection)
2. virus (e.g. flu, herpes) – can be either active or de-active
3. fungus – (e.g. yeast – causing recurring bladder infections)
4. parasites – cause stomach upset and diarrhea, undigested food and poor absorption
5. Toxins – internal or environmental (smoke, chemicals, pesticides)
How do they attack?
They break into cells and replicate themselves → their goal is to spread as much as possible to “rule” our body.
How does our body protect itself?
First line of defense → skin
Second line of defense → Immune system
How does the immune system work?
It activates 5 steps in order to win the battle:
1. Identify the invaders
2. Call for help (backup from other immune cells)
3. Tag/mark the invaders
4. Destroy the invaders
5. Remember the invaders – so the same virus can’t strike again!
When immune cells signal invaders in body (this is when we might get a fever), they get into attack mode, swallow the virus and deactivate it. All toxins and pathogens are trapped and
coated with slippery green coating called – mucus, and then exits the body through cough, sneeze, diarrhea, etc. In other words, inflammation, fever, cough, mucus and so forth are
not caused by the virus but by the body’s response to the virus.
Is mucus good or bad?
Despite its rather off-putting name, mucus is actually a natural secretion that our body produces to protect the surfaces of membranes. It is clear and slippery, and coats anything
we ingest. Where mucus starts to be a problem is when we have too much of it! I love to use the example of the dryer machine ‘lint trap’ we all forget to clean sometimes. Did you notice that the dryer is not as efficient when its plugged? Your clothes have more electricity on them and overall more linen stuck to the fabric, and in worst cases it can even
cause a fire! Let’s use this as an analogy to mucus in the body. It is an important component of immunity but it needs to be moving out of the body rapidly and quickly; when
its stuck and clogged inside our intestines and colon then, just like dryer’s lint trap, our body cannot operate optimally and efficiently.
What happens when there is too much mucus in body?
Excess mucus leads to retention of fluid in ears, constant runny noses, frequent colds, headaches, loss of appetite, swollen tonsils and adenoids, and other nasty stuff.
Since 70% of immune cells are located in the gut, proper digestion is crucial for a well-functioning immune system!
Watch this really cool YouTube cartoon on “How does the immune system work”
What foods form mucus in the body?
The big three are dairy, wheat and meats (especially red meat).
What can you do to eliminate and lower mucus in throat, mucus in lungs, sore throat, etc?
1. If your child has a cold or a flu DO NOT feed them with these foods! Allow their bodies to recover first before dumping more mucus in their tiny bodies.
2. Lower consumption of citrus and tropical food (high in sugar and mucus forming)
3. Don’t feed them with peanuts and other nuts
5. Eat hot bone broths which sooth and heal the digestive system
Hope this helps you to fight the flu battle and keep yourself and kids healthy and strong!
To your and kids health!