Integrative Medicine Blog

Groundhog Day and the Flu

Holly J. Niles MS, CNS, LDN, IFMCP Saturday, February 16, 2019

Why do flu bugs rule the winter?

Many of you may have seen the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day, where he lives the same day over and over again. Sometimes the winter feels like that movie with cold, snowy and dark days over and over. We all know that winter is always flu season over and over and this year has been no exception.

WHY do flu bugs rule the winter?

  1. Winter makes us prone to eat more including comfort food, treats and nighttime snacking. That depletes our defenses.
  2. Several holidays in a row (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and in some households, Superbowl Sunday) all start in November. They all focus on food and lots of indulgences so we get run down.
  3. We live in closer quarters, we are not outside as much and so we share our germs. When one family member gets the flu, they often pass it on.
  4. The air is dry from our heating systems and germs grow easily in that environment. It’s a like a petri-dish that allows them to thrive and we are not opening our windows to get fresh air.

WHAT can we do about the flu?

Generally, medical advice suggests that getting a flu shot is your only defense. It’s up to you and your medical provider to decide if that is a good choice for you. However, I know that there are so many ways we can take care of ourselves and support our immune system. Just like in the Groundhog Day movie, once we know what’s ahead, we can make different choices. We can create our own defenses to reduce the likelihood that the flu bug will land in your body.

5 easy tips to take care of yourself to stay healthy in flu season.

  1. Love your veggies- every day eat a rainbow of color! The vitamins and minerals in plant are good “medicine”
  2. Keep well hydrated! Start your day with a full glass of water and look for ways to increase water every day. Make your enhanced water (see delicious recipe for Basil Lemon Sparkling water)
  3. GET your zzz’s-sleep is essential to our bodies ability to resist germs and flu bugs.
  4. Consider a high-quality Probiotic supplement to support the healthy bugs in your gut/immune system.
  5. HOLD the sweets-choose fruit or a stevia sweetened chocolate bar like Lily’s

In the end, Bill Murray’s character, got on board with the process and chose to create a very positive outcome. I invite you to find ways to take care of yourself to change your winter season.

Simply Delicious: Lemon Basil Sparkling Water:Ingredients

(3) lemons

(1) bunch basil (save a few sprigs of basil for garnish)

(2) 25 oz. bottles chilled sparkling water (you may substitute with drinking water).

Directions:Rinse the basil, set a few sprigs aside for garnish, put the rest into a large pitcher or glass container. Take a wooden spoon and crush some of the basil leaves gently against the side of the container. Cut 2 of the lemons into 1/8 inch slices and place in the container with the basil. Pour the sparkling water into the container with the basil and lemon. Juice the remaining lemon and pour into the water. Stir and serve over ice, garnish drinks with a sprig of basil. Approximately 8 servings.

Recipe from