Cold and Flu? You know what to do!
I used to think it was inevitable that I would fall ill when my daughter caught cold or flu. Not because I catch bacteria or viruses easily but because of the closeness that would occur when she was sick. Little ones with fevers like to be close to their mothers. Late nights of warm baths and back rubs when they have a temperature takes a toll on mom’s immunity. I am currently dealing with a cold that my daughter brought home from school and it has inspired me to write an article on the best ways to prevent, heal and recover from the nasty bugs that tend to circulate through the community during this season. Hopefully there is some golden nuggets of information for you the next time you or a loved one experience the cold/flu bug.
Do not wait until the flu hits to begin supporting your body and immunity. Be sure to keep a stock pile of immunity building supplements, teas and liquids in you during the cold months.
- Using bone broth with lots of garlic, apple cider vinegar and lemon drinks daily not only keeps your immunity strong but also repairs your gut. Hippocrates the father of medicine said “All disease begins in the gut”. By being proactive you might even avoid all colds and flu in the first place.
- Stay Hydrated! I can not begin to stress this one enough. There are some 20 billion electric biochemical responses in your body that are all dependent upon water (“Your Body’s Many Cries For Water” Dr. Batmanghelidj, M.D). Drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces a day and add a pinch of sea salt for minerals and electrolytes this will support your adrenals and digestion.
- Avoid Sugar. Sugar has the ability to incapacitate the immune system for up to 4 hours after consuming it. Usually we enjoy holiday desserts or wine with groups of friends and loved ones and it is not uncommon for at least one in the group to be coming down with or just getting over the something. Hugs and kisses can be the perfect storm for bugs to enter your system while its defenses are down.
- Wash your hands. Frequent hand washing can be the most effective means for cold I do not recommend anti-bacterial soaps or gels as it is showing that these can do more harm then good in the long run. Simple soap and water after going to the bathroom, handling money or cleaning up snot rags for your sick children will go a long way when it comes to prevention.
If you feel something coming on do not waste a single moment…begin amping up your system with any and all of these healing and immune supporting remedies. By using these products in protocol every 4-6 hours I usually can prevent any cold or flu from really taking hold. Keep these and other immune boosting remedies on hand and begin dosing at the first sign of cold or flu.
- Vitamin C. Taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. There is mixed information as to evidence that Vitamin C really helps colds and flu. I think the reason for this has to do with the dosage taken in the studies. It is recommend you begin with a loading dose of 3-4000mg, and then begin dosing 1000mg every 1-2 hours until you hit bowel tolerance. Bowel tolerance is a polite way of saying diarrhea. Let’s say that you hit 15,000mg and begin to notice more flatulence (gas) and some looser stool. You are near your bowel tolerance and you would back off your dosing slightly. Let’s say you’ve been taking 1000mg every hour, once you are near your bowel tolerance you would back off to 1000mg every 2 hours, adjusting up or down as needed to stay just below bowel tolerance.
- Many cold/flu prevention products now on the market contain Zinc and most of them are sweetened with sugar?!? Recently an analysis of several studies showed that zinc lozenges or syrup reduced the length of a cold by one day, especially when taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of a cold. You can get all the cold and flu prevention love from zinc by simply using a organic food based zinc supplement. Plus you will avoid the over priced sugary lozenges that might build but will also cripple the immune system.
- Medicinal Mushrooms. Rishi has been know for 1000’s of years as the king of immunity. This woodsy little mushroom along with it’s immune building buddies Maitake, Cordyceps, Lions mane and Shiitake have the power to kill viruses, bacteria, and yeast, destroy cancer cells, and even assist with nerve regeneration. There are lab studies to prove it. Using these daily will help prevent a myriad of health issues and ramping up your dosage at the first sign of cold or flu with shorten the duration of most illnesses significantly. Many products on the market offer a blend of these mushrooms in a liquid supplement. Placing the recommend dosage under your tongue and holding it there for 1-5 minutes will super charge your immune system.
- Fermented Garlic or Fire Cider. Garlic is known as the Russian Antibiotic. There are some hospitals in Europe that will give you and enema and garlic before even seeing the doctor when you come in with cold/flu symptoms. There are many simple recipes online to make these home remedies yourself and it is best to keep a stock pile of them on hand during the winter months.
- Colloidal Silver. By having a direct effect on cellular respiration, colloidal silver benefits the body in major ways, including as an antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal. When I feel anything coming on I will not only drink colloidal silver but I will also use some in my ears and in my netti-pot.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract. Do not confuse Grapefruit Seed Extract with Grape Seed Extract – though both are healthy – it is “Grapefruit” Seed Extract (abbreviated as GSE or GFSE) that works as a natural antibiotic with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Simple add 10-30 drops (it has a bitter taste) to your drinking water. Because if GSE’s anti fungal properties it has the capacity to make you feel sick (belly ache or digestive pains are a symptom) if this is the case discontinue or lesson your dosage during your cold and you may want to look into a candida cleanse when you are feeling better.
- Oregano Oil. The oil has been proven in scientific studies to be an effective antimicrobial agent.Oregano oil contains 50 active compounds with immune-boosting and germ-fighting properties, and antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Its nutrient content includes vitamins A and C, both of which support respiratory health and help fight infection. Oregano oil also contains calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, copper and boron. Oil of oregano helps your lungs recover from a bout with a cold or flu by thinning the mucous, allowing for easier breathing and faster removal of the infecting virus.
- Diffuse essential oils. Thieves, peppermint, eucalyptus and oregano oil have the ability to keep airborne bugs at bay and relieves congested nose and lungs. I personally like to diffuse these and other oils through-out the cold and flu season in my home and studio as a form of prevention and a mood enhancer.
These are just a few of the many items I keep in a little prevention box in my cupboard. There is more than these listed here and finding the right combo that works for you is key. The minute a sore throat or sneeze makes its way into my home the box comes out and the whole family begins to dose the protocol (even if it is 3 a.m. in the morning).
The Cold/Flu has got a hold of you~
Even with all the prevention in the world sometimes it happens and you just don’t feel good. Here are my mommy go-to’s for easing the duration, body aches and pains during the throes of the cold/flu.
- This is the number one thing you can do for yourself anytime you are ill. Getting quality sleep and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and action movies will keep your body in a regenerative state that can help rebuild the system once a bug has taken hold.
- Hot Baths/showers. I can not stress this one enough! They help with aches and pains plus will assist a fever in rising your core temperature to burn out the bugs. You can add epsom salts to ease aching joints and get a dose of magnesium to help you sleep or eucalyptus oil to open clogged bronchial pathways. I have been know to use 3-4 of theses a day when resting with the flu. By keeping the same water in the bath and adding more hot when you are ready to take another dip you can conserve water and epsom salts.
- Hot tea and Broths. Warm fluids helps to body with lymph drainage and can unstuffy a congested nose and throat. You can purchase organic herbal teas specifically formulated for colds, sore throats, stuffy noses and immunity building. I loved local raw honey, lemon and cayenne in hot water when I was little this instantly relieved a sore throat. Ginger and honey will help stomach aches and pains. Yes, honey is a form of sugar but it also has anti bacterial properties that can support healing. The flavor of sweet is known to have a mothering effect, think of the sweetness of breast milk. The honey will coat the throat of your loved ones and give them the nurturing sweetness of mothering energy.
- Neti-pots. A neti pot is used for nasal irrigation. Nasal irrigation? It may sound strange, but it’s simply the act of flushing out your nasal cavity. A neti pot allows a user to do just that quickly and efficiently with a solution of purified water and salt. If there is any mucus or allergens clogging up and irritating your nose then a neti pot may be just what the doctor ordered. I keep a solution of Himalayan salt crystals and filtered water next to my Neti pot in the shower. Using it for stuffed sinuses has the ability to keep me breathing clear for 4-6 hours after a neti flush. By flushing regular when sick I use less tissue and prevent the raw dry skin from cracking and becoming painful under my nose.
- Vapor rubs. I love a product called winter crest and use if not only for sore muscles but also for sore throats and congestion. It has the power to clear up stuffed noses and alleviate pain from the outside in with vapors of menthol and wintergreen essential oils. The skin is a great pathway to absorb medicines and release toxins. Just be sure the vapor rub you choose is organic and has no toxic ingredients like petroleum. You do not want to cause more work for the body then it already is doing.
- Continue with all the immune building supplements and protocols mentioned earlier in this article until the body has recovered and you are feeling well.
- Often times when we are sick we tend to ruminate in that feeling. By using visualization, meditation and positive affirmation techniques we can speed up the process of recovery. Seeing yourself as healthy, happy and whole quickly can have a placebo effect with far reaching benefits. Any time you use these protocols or other wellness remedies focus on the work that they are doing in your body and see them working quickly and efficiently to make you well.
Continue to care for your body and get good sleep even after you are feeling better. It is easy to want to jump up and party as soon as the fever breaks during the holidays. Knowing that even after cold and flu symptoms have subsided the body is still working with a less than par immune system. There is a variety of bugs that go around with the season and a healthy body and mind is the key preventive from becoming a host.
I write this article currently inspired by my bout with the sniffles. I hope this helps you and your family stay well over the winter months. As for myself I am headed to a hot bath and then back to bed.
Holistic Health Coach
Co-owner Iron and Salt studios