The dreaded cold and flu season is underway and hitting hard. People everywhere are under the weather! Natural methods to prevent and treat the nasty flu bug has been a hot topic in my Facebook group, since it’s that time of year again, let’s revisit that topic.
It’s a myth that extreme temperatures cause cold and flu viruses and other bacterial illnesses, we catch it from one another. It’s all that passing germs back and forth and all around by touching handles, cell phones, door knobs, the dillweed that double dips at happy hour, the chick that sneezes on you in the elevator… which is why you’ll never catch me eating with unwashed hands.
Look, we have to build our immunities but who likes to get taken out for days on end by bad virus?! Sucks to feel lousy. Isn’t coughing the worst? Just as you’re finally falling asleep – ?
The annoying symptoms suck but certain viruses can be serious
The flu is the cause of roughly 36,000 deaths each year and over 200,000 people are hospitalized because of it. Some succumb because they end up having sepsis.
Strep is going around, both my boys had it over the holidays. If a sore throat persists for a few days, even without a fever, (neither of my boys had a fever) get checked. If it’s Strep, you need to get treated because when it goes un treated it can lead to Rheumatic fever or kidney problems. I saw first hand, how terrible this is.
My best friend had strep but was diagnosed with the flu. She later developed rheumatic fever but when undiagnosed for 3 years. No one could figure it out. It was a devastating ordeal for her. Fortunately a fantastic infectious disease doctor properly diagnosed her and she recovered.
We’re most contagious the first few days we have symptoms
However, we can even be contagious 24 hours before the first sign of cold symptoms and up to 4 days before flu symptoms appear so it’s not easy to avoid the nasty little germs but there are measures you can take to prevent or at least lessen the severity.
Healthy Habits Keep Illness Away
1) Drink up
You’ve heard it before but it’s sage advice: stay hydrated, it helps ease a stuffy nose and sore throat and helps flush out those germs. Drinks plenty of water! More and more doctors, including Dr. Oz recommend Elderberry extract. One way to get it that will also aid your hydration is in an herbal tea. Drinking 4 – 6 cups of elderberry tea a day at the onset of symptoms because medical trials have shown that it helps block viruses from entering your cells and aids in shortening the duration of the flu. He calls it a ‘natural Tamiflu’. In fact, my pharmacist told me that a study done in Israel found Elderberry to be just as effective as Tamiflu. How about that?!
2) Catch your zzzz’s
Sleep is restorative, our bodies rejuvenate and repair while we sleep. Inadequate amounts of shut eye compromise the immune system and make it difficult for our bodies to fight infection and illness. While you are resting, your immune system is better able to produce cytokines, chemicals that attack virus cells.
3) Manage stress
Stress depresses our immune system and makes us more vulnerable to illness. Things that cause major stress like the loss of a job as well as little stressors like the jerk that cuts you off on the freeway both take their toll. Meditation helps but if getting your om on isn’t going to happen at least give yourself 10 minutes of downtime to do some deep breathing and get yourself centered.
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4) Eat the right foods
The Real Age docs also say that lean protein rich foods such as turkey, tofu, chicken, nuts, nonfat dairy, beans and fish enable your body to make disease fighting antibodies. They also recommend loading up on foods that contain flavonoids and vitamin C like oranges, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, tomatoes and broccoli because they help your body produce protective immune cells. Whole grain foods are also beneficial because they have immune enhancing nutrients like zinc, selenium, and beta glucan. Don’t let a hectic schedule keep you from healthy choices, grab my Healthy Eating On The Go guide with simple tips & habits along with several delicious, nutritious options to grab & go when you are pressed for time.
Natural Remedies Work
5) Try Probiotics
I take a good probiotic every day because gut health is vital for a strong immune system. 80% of our immunity is in our gut. The connection to our health cannot be denied. Find a quality probiotic and make sure your doctor agrees it’s right for you. I take a good probiotic every day because gut health is vital for overall health. a review of 10 studies revealed that those who took them were 40% less likely to get that yearly cold or have a bad season with 3 or more colds. If you do come down with one, a probiotic will reduce your need for antibiotics if you get a bacterial infection along with it. If you do end up needing antibiotics, probiotics help replace the good bacteria which is very important!
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6) These Natural Remedies Are My Must Haves
These remedies are great if you feel like you’re coming down with something or if you’re already feeling sick. Oregano Oil strengthens the immune system which is what your body needs when fighting off illness. It is very anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Lots of ‘antis’ against bad stuff which is good! Its benefits are far reaching including healing skin issues, digestive problems and so much more! Grape seed extract is another rock star immune strengthener to take at the first sign of illness. Colloidal Silver is a good flu fighter to keep in your medicine cabinet. A study from the Journal of Virological Methods showed that Silver kills various types of flu viruses.Thieves Essential oil is great. There are several essential oils that can help, Dr. Axe has a handy guide you can find here. Garlic and good old vitamin C help too. Winter Tonic & Winter Balance are homeopathic remedies that help prevent the flu, I have thankfully found both to be very helpful at warding it off. I can’t give you medical advice, just sharing what works for me and my family.
Bonus natural remedy…
7) Immunitone Plus
Immunitone Plus is my newfound gem. It’s fantastic – however – only take it if you feel like you’re coming down with something or if you are already not feeling well. It’s not something you take on a daily basis because too much echinacea and the other ingredients is not beneficial. I discovered this supplement last spring on a visit to a local holistic doctor. This is now my first line of defense. My kids were sick over the holidays, I felt like I was coming down with it one night, took this along with chlorella and woke up feeling fine! It contains Astragalus, herbs, elderberry, mushroom extracts and other natural compounds that boost the immune system including herbs that support the balance of cytokines, regulatory proteins released by immune cells as well as normal natural killer (NK) cell activity. However — echinacea should not be used unless you are feeling ill because it can affect the liver and there are other issues. AND — there are situations when elderberry is not advised as outlined in this article: When Not to Use Elderberry: Using a Little Discernment As I always recommend, check with your healthcare provider. I am simply making recommendations and letting you guys know what works for me; I’m not a doctor, I’m not prescribing anything.
Tried and true methods are your friend
8) Gargle with warm salt water
The saline solution has a sanitizing effect that helps flush out viruses and bacteria and clears mucous and irritants, it also reduces inflammation by drawing out excess water from throat tissue. Saline nasal spray (non-medicated) and nasal irrigation systems like a neti pot (when used with the proper solution, not just tap water) help ease congestion and clear out sinuses.
9) Coat your throat with honey
1 – 2 tablespoons of organic honey help sooth your throat and curb a cough. You want organic honey because regular honey is often contaminated, especially if it’s manufactured in China. Raw organic Maunuka honey (one that has a minimum of UMF 16) has the most healing properties. I highly recommend taking a teaspoon of Manuka honey if you feel you’re coming down with something and if you do get sick, take one everyday, it’s my get well quick secret.
10) Wash your hands
You touch a door nob after someone who is sick or getting sick has, then grab your cell phone, your Ipad – their germs are all over your stuff. I’m a regular hand washer although I try not to be too crazy about it because exposure to harmless germs and bacteria strengthens our immune system. And this doesn’t mean wash your hands, touch your cell phone, steering wheel, a door handle, then eat or prepare food and say, ‘well, I washed my hands’. Seriously, want to get sick LESS often? Do Not eat with your hands or touch your face unless you have just washed them!
Use good old soap and water, NOT the antibacterial type because they kill good bacteria and weaken our body’s ability to fight germs; many health professionals claim that they are to blame for the increase of deadly ‘super bugs.’ Even the FDA is investigating triclosan, a very toxic chemical found in most antibacterial products. I keep eco-friendly chemical free hand sanitizer and baby wipes in my car to wipe away germs my kids and I come in contact with. I use the sanitizer sparingly and only when necessary because overuse of hand sanitizers can be detrimental as well.
Grandma was right
11) Have a bowl of soup
We’ve all heard that chicken soup can help ease a cold, apparently it’s true. According to the doctors at Real Age, sipping chicken soup cuts the duration of a cold by 50%. They believe it’s because cooked chicken releases an amino acid called cysteine that has a similar chemistry to the bronchitis drug, acetylcysteine. Add garlic, a natural infection fighter to your recipe along with some hot red pepper, a strong decongestant and you should feel better.
Physical activity boosts the immune system so staying active and working out on a regular basis will help keep illness away. When you do get sick, it’s ok and even beneficial to keep up your physical activity as long as your symptoms are above the neck – stuffy nose, scratchy throat. However, if you have the chills, a hacking chest cough, stomach flu, fever, etc., rest.
Fortunately, I rarely get sick, I’m blessed with a strong immune system but I also have adopted most of these habits that help keep germs at bay.
How ’bout a little bonus tip? Believe you are well. Believe you are healing. Mindset is everything in all areas of life. As Abraham-Hicks says, “A belief is a thought you keep thinking.” Keep your thoughts leaning toward positive, healing vibes. This works in all aspects of life. We become our thoughts.
Do you find yourself prone to getting sick often? It could be an underlying issue but most likely your immune system simply needs a boost. Simply balancing nutrition and blood sugar can help. Set up a free health assessment with me, I’ll evaluate you and offer some guidance and tips.
A votre sante
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