• By: Anne Dion

How to Survive Cold and Flu Season: with Bryce Wylde

The leaves are changing and noses are running. It’s that time of year again when hand-washing becomes obsessive. Whether or not you get sick, cold and flu season can be a nightmare just trying to decipher what advice is best to follow. We sat down with Alternative Healthcare Clinician, Bryce Wylde, to get the ultimate low-down on what to do to survive this season.

Wylde’s “Alternative” approach is really an integrative practice: he works alongside other healthcare professionals (medical doctors, Chinese medicine practitioners, or naturopaths) in order to practice what he calls “best medicine” —  a holistic and thorough view of health, unique to each patient and evidence-based.

We asked Wylde for his best tips on getting through cold and flu season. The flu virus generally travels westward around the globe, and considering the record number of people affected in Australia this year, here in Canada we’re bracing ourselves for a storm of sickness.

  1. Diet is one of the most important factors for a healthy immune system: “I ask people to turn towards not just their fruits and vegetables, but spices,” explains Wylde. “Ginger, turmeric, along with onions and garlic — incorporate that into your day-to-day routine, whether it’s a soup or stew, or even a fresh vegetable salad.” Fruits are another important staple during this time of year. “We don’t get enough blue and purple ones,” says Bryce, “they pack a lot of very powerful antioxidants that help to keep a robust immune system.”
  2. Exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle, but a little known fact is that intense training causes you to be temporary immune-compromised for approximately 30 minutes after a workout. It’s important to keep in mind that in the environment of a gym (which is often bacteria-filled) a high intensity workout can put you at risk of catching something.
  3. Sleep is another major part of staying healthy, “but it’s not just about the hours you clock on the pillow,” begins Wylde. “The duration is important but its the deepness of your sleep that is most significant for a healthy immune system.”
  4. Too much stress dampens immune function. “We know that it elevates cortisol, which doesn’t just put on the fat pounds but literally causes an inflammatory state when there’s chronic, long-term, undue stress in the body.”
  5. Finally, Wylde suggests taking supplements to fortify an already-healthy lifestyle. “Supplementation is about introducing something to yourself that goes beyond an already healthy diet.” He names a few that he particularly likes: “oregano oil has good evidence behind it; one of my favourites is cold-fx, which is extract of panax ginseng and has incredible clinical evidence.”

If we follow Bryce Wylde’s expert advice then this season can surely have significantly fewer sniffles. Near the end of our chat, Wylde adds that “getting sick does not define your level of health. The healthiest of us will get ill when we’re faced with a virus or bug that our immune system has never encountered. It’s how quickly you recover which defines health.”