Nikkei For Vista Magazine – “They’re heeeeere.” No, not poltergeists or aliens or mooching relatives. Now that summer is behind us, the cold and flu season’s multitude of viruses and bacteria are back on deck.

Why is it that around the world, cold and flu season peaks during the colder months? There are several theories, including that we spend more time indoors, with the windows closed, in close proximity to others, making it easier to pass on our germs. Some think it’s because viruses thrive better in the cold, dry air of winter than the warm, humid air of summer. And still, others think that the darkness of winter causes a reduction in vitamin D and changes in melatonin production, resulting in a weakening of our immune systems.

Regardless of the cause, you know that you had better support your immune system so it can do its job and defend you against this season’s onslaught of microscopic attackers.

Don’t Share

Sharing is caring, you’re told. Sure, that’s true if you’re talking about toys, food, or even ideas. But not when it comes to viruses and bacteria. Practical tips to avoid sharing germs with others include covering your face with your sleeve or a tissue when you sneeze or cough, washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face when you’re out.

Make Germs’ Lives Difficult

Researchers have found evidence to support the idea that cold, dry air is a welcoming environment for viruses. When exposed to drier and colder environments, animals were found to be more likely to contract a virus. While you don’t want to turn your home or workplace into a sauna, using a humidifier can help reduce germ transmission.

Get in Fighting Shape

How often you get sick depends largely on two factors: the strength of the pathogen (virus, bacteria) and the strength of your immune system. While you can’t change the potency of this year’s viruses, you can pump up the ability of your immune system to ward off attackers. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and staying active are all key, but sometimes they aren’t enough.

Japanese red reishi mushrooms have long been revered in the East as “The Great Protector.” Reishi is highly researched and found to contain compounds that support a healthy, strong immune system. Mikei Red Reishi Mushroom Essence makes it easy with just one of their capsules daily to help you protect yourself against the season’s tiny invaders.

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Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology, practicing in Vancouver.