Written by Emma McLaughlin, Integrative Naturopath
If you are a “Splendour In The Grass” die-hard you’ll know that the annual pilgrimage to this iconic music festival in the hills of Byron can also come with more than a post-Splendour hangover.
The Splendour Flu has almost become an urban legend, but myth it is not. The first report in 2009 of a swine flu outbreak following the “Splendour In The Grass” festival was an unpleasant after effect of being up close and personal to your fellow party people and a whole lot of potentially less-than-healthy few days of, well, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
Being in the heart of Byron Bay, we see our fair share of Splendour flu casualties each year, but not wanting to be party-poopers and in encouraging and promoting the “everything in balance and moderation” tune ourselves (I believe more than a few of our staff and practitioners are amongst the above in the cover of darkness) we have taught our party-going patrons to embrace preventative, rather than post-event measures to boost immunity and the know how to make next year's frivolities flu-free.
This year, we would like to let you in on our Splendour flu prevention tips.
IV Vitamin C all the way
Vitamin C is like a vacuum for viruses and pathogens that may be lingering in our system. It is found in high amounts in citrus and kiwi fruit, red capsicums, berries and papaya. It can also be taken as a powder or tablet, however there is only so much vitamin C that the body can absorb or allow to pass through the gut before it may cause aggravation and diarrhea.
Intravenously, the body can accept up to 10 times the amount we can processes by mouth, making it an incredibly effective preventative and treatment options for acute and chronic infections, fatigue and for generally boosting immunity and increasing antioxidants in the body (it also makes you feel pretty awesome and boosts collagen production of your skin).
An IV generally takes from 30min-1hr to administer by one of our nurses and can be utilised both as a pre- and post-Splendour boost.
There is no doubt that zinc is an overall favourite here at The Health Lodge due to its relevance in so many of our bodies processes. Zinc is vitally important for immune strength and fighting infection; for the correct functioning of our brain chemistry and mood regulation; to make and balance hormones; for skin health and healing and for detoxification. Because it has so many uses in the body, zinc is constantly in high demand, particularly in our modern era where high stress, poor food choices and increasing exposure to toxins are the norm. Zinc can also be depleted with alcohol consumption.
Zinc is predominantly found in oysters and other seafood sources, fish, red meat and chicken. Non-animal sources include pumpkin seeds, legumes, sesame seeds and wheat germ, but to lesser extents so this is one of those nutrients that vegetarians and vegans need to be diligent with.
A good quality zinc supplement is another immune boosting tool to be added to your bag, or at least make sure you are getting plenty of kilpatrick's onto your plate in the lead-up.
No, not those type (and yes, I do realise we are in the Northern Rivers, but seriously for a moment...)
The medicinal mushrooms I refer to include Reishi, Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, Shiitake, Maitake, Lion’s Mane and Chaga amongst some of the better known. These gorgeous earthy little delights are jam packed full of polysaccharides and beta-glucans which not only boost immunity (and are so wonderful for chronic immune issues) but are also classified in herbal medicine circles as adaptogenic plants, meaning they help our bodies adapt to stress. These components of medicinal mushrooms are so potent that there is some phenomenal research showing their potential in Cancer prevention and support.
If you are lucky enough to come across any of these guys in your local health food shop or Asian produce store then add them to soups and stir-frys. For the even more powerful extracts we stock powdered, tableted and liquid extracts of many of these in our dispensary.
Our suggested course of action
1. Book your tickets
2. Start putting together your best festival outfits (or lack thereof)
3. Book in for an IV vitamin C in the 6 week lead up to Splendour
4. Get started on a decent zinc and medicinal mushroom supplement and make sure you include these into your diet where possible
5. Book in a post-Splendour IV vitamin C to get you back onto your feet
So do your fellow-man a service by not being the Splendour-flu instigator; your boss a kindness by not having to take a post-Splendour sickie, and give yourself the gift of a banging immune system to be ready for the next gig.
Much love and festivity support, The Health Lodge Team
Note: IV vitamin C needs to be approved by a GP or qualified practitioner and can be arranged by contacting The Health Lodge and making an IV appointment. IV vitamin C has been shown to have very few side effects in clinical trials but should be avoided by those with haemochromatosis, GPD6 deficiency (history of fava bean allergy) and kidney disease.
If you want to have an immune boosting plan put together just for you then book in with one of our naturopaths or acupuncturists/Chinese medicine practitioners.