It’s that time of year again. If you’re feeling envious of your friends’ red noses, chapped lips and pockets full of crumpled Kleenex, just follow this easy guide to getting your very own flu.
1. Eat Crap and Drink Booze
Now I am not talking about a burger, fries and a beer. If you want on the flu team, you should think about having a piece of candy/cake/junk and boozy bevvy with every meal, and throughout the day.
Candy is particularly effective. Here’s why: Vitamin C is used by white blood cells to devour viruses and bacteria. Glucose (aka sugar) and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, so when the sugar levels rise, they compete for entry into the cell. The thing that regulates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that regulates the entry of vitamin C. It’s simple: If there is more glucose around, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed in. That sugary treat is slowing your immune system down to a crawl.
2. Lose Sleep
When we have the flu, we feel our best in the morning, after we have rested. Does sleep actually suppress infection and boost immune function? When animals are sleep deprived, a protein known as di-muramyl peptide, derived from bacteria in the body, accumulates in their spinal fluid. This suggests that sleep deprivation could enable bacterial growth. (For more, read here).
You might be saying, but Meghan, the flu is a virus, not a bacteria! True, but weakened immune function is weakened immune function. So, stay out late drinking, and then get as few hours of sleep as possible. Follow it up with coffee and fried foods, and you’ll surely earn a spot as MVP on the Sicky Sick Flu Team!
3. Take On More Than You Can Handle
Chronic stress impairs the immune system’s capacity to respond to glucocorticoid hormones that normally are responsible for terminating an inflammatory response following infection and/or injury. Psychological stress (which, let’s face it, is largely self-induced) raises catecholamine (‘fight or flight’ hormones), which suppresses the immune system, thus raising the risk of viral infection. For more, read this.
Keep saying yes to more work, and re-evaluate your relationship, and you’ll be a shoe-in at the Flu Season Olympics.
4. Forgo Hygiene
Touch as much stuff as you can: hand railings, door handles, etc. Breathe deeply when in confined spaces, and eat a lot of raw food from questionable restaurants. Never wash your hands. And then touch yourself all over, especially mouth, nose, eyes and ears. The flu won’t know what hit it!
Image courtesy of tranchis.