Beware folks, when the cold and flu season is upon us. Once we get sick, there are no proven cures other than time. But this year let’s make a pact: Let’s kill the bugs before they have a chance and make it through unscathed! What do you say?
The secret is to stay ahead of the game. “You have to be pro-active if you want to hold your own against flus and colds,” says Dr. Janet Maccaro, who has a PhD in Holistic Nutrition and is the author of A Woman’s Body Balanced by Nature.
To make sure misery doesn’t strike, here are several precautionary tips, and an arsenal of things to keep in your medicine cabinet/ fridge. Let’s make “sick-free” a possibility.
Wash your hands
Both colds and flu can be passed through coughing, sneezing, and touching surfaces such as doorknobs and telephones. Touching your nose, mouth, and eyes with contaminated hands makes it easy for cold and flu viruses to enter the body. So it’s wise to make a habit of washing your hands (and teaching children to do the same), unless you want to pick up an uninvited guest. The CDC recommends scrubbing your hands with warm, soapy water for about 15 seconds.
Incidentally, the American Society for Microbiology, a national survey found that Americans were most likely to say they wash their hands after changing a diaper and before handling food. Most, however, said they don’t wash their hands after coughing and sneezing.
Get those zzz’s
Make sure to make enough time to rest. Your body regenerates repairs and recuperates during sleep. This in turn will help to keep immunity high during winter months. It’s difficult, but try to go to bed by 10 PM every night, suggests Dr. Janet Maccaro.
Eat close to the original garden
Chose to eat fresh, whole foods instead of fried, fatty and sugary ones. Your body needs high quality fuel from food that will energize and support your system and keep your immunity high. Also take into account that caffeine and sugar depletes the body by interfering with sleep, acting as a diuretic and lowering your immunity.
Take time out for yourself, breathe deep and manage your stress! Take a mini vacation from your troubles by calling a good friend. Laugh, share stories of happy times together, and don’t forget to nurture your spirit. All of these things boost immunity and most importantly enjoyment of life, adds Dr. Marcaro.
If a cold or flu does begin, don’t fight it or get mad. Take some time off, rest, and heal. If you go to work, remember that you’re also bringing your germs for others to share.
And don’t doom yourself with negative thoughts. Think positively. Keep mentally repeating “I am well. Winter bugs are not welcome here, they’re going away.” The healing power of the mind can work wonders in keeping you well – especially if you believe.
Herbs & essential supplements
There are many natural things you can take to fight the onset of a cold or flu. Here are several suggestions from Dr. Carolyn Dean M.D., N.D., author of The Magnesium Miracle.
Take 1,000 mg every 1-2 hours; it can cut the duration of a cold or flu by several days.
To figure out how many ounces you should drink a day, take your weight and divide it by two. Take sips rather than gulps.
Take 300 mg, twice daily
20,000 IU daily strengthens mucus membranes.
Zinc lozenges because they kill viruses in the throat.
Place a small clove or half a clove of garlic in your mouth and let it sit without chewing through the day and night. Swallow with water when it becomes macerated.
Sage tea for cough (steep twenty minutes)
Fenugreek tea for mucus (steep five minutes)
Grated and boiled, 2 tablespoons in 3 cups of water. Gargle and use as a poultice by saturating a hand towel and wrapping around the throat, changing when the poultice becomes cool.
Use wild oregano oil, Echinacea herbal antibiotics as tincture, tablets, or teas at least three times a day
You may want to use Zicam which is an OTC medication that will help to shorten the duration of cold symptoms if you do come down with one.
The most common homeopathic remedies is Oscillococcinum, which is a combination remedy used at the first signs of a cold or flu. Some people use it when they travel, are in crowds, or throughout the flu season on a weekly basis. Oscillo has undergone clinical trials for the treatment of colds and flus and comes through with flying colors. Considering that flu vaccines have side effects and the flu can cause considerable distress, it is important to have a safe remedy in the medicine cabinet.
So you’re already sick. What now? Well, there are several things you can do to make sure your condition doesn’t worsen:
Keep your toothbrush in three percent hydrogen peroxide (you can get it from the drug store) then replace or boil your toothbrush when you recover so you won’t reinfect yourself. Or better yet invest in a brand new one!
Stop all sugar, dairy, and wheat to decrease mucus and don’t eat heavy foods such as meat.
Take plenty of fruit and vegetable juices and chicken broth.
Take Epsom salts baths, 2 cups in hot water, to open pores.
Wear lots of clothing layers to encourage sweating and wrap a scarf around your throat.
Wear a hat at all times to avoid the possible loss of 40 percent of your body heat.
Use a vaporizer; mucus can collect at night if the air is too dry.
Do chest clapping to loosen mucus in the chest.
Here’s how to discern between the common cold and the flu.
The common cold
The common cold is a short-term (acute) viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that may be spread through the air (by sneezing, for example) or by contact with contaminated objects. The common cold often causes runny nose, sore throat, and malaise.
Influenza a.k.a. the flu
Influenza is the name of a virus and the infection it causes. Although for most people the infection is mild, it can be severe and even deadly in those with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include headache, chills, dry cough, sore throat and runny nose. The onset of symptoms is often rapid and intense.
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