Keeping well through the cold and flu season can be challenging. Viruses are highly contagious, but using preventative strategies can greatly bolster one’s immune system to defend itself. And should you contract an illness, there are ways to reduce the severity of symptoms and decrease the likelihood of secondary complications.
Always consult a qualified health practitioner for advice on healing through flu.
KEY PREVENTATIVE STRATEGIES:
- Avoid sugar. Sugar has the ability to impede immune system response for up to 7 hours post consumption. Certain forms of sugar completely shut down immune system response while others will slow it.
- Wash hands often in hot soapy water. Avoid antibacterial agents as they eliminate the healthy bacteria that aid in virus consumption.
- Use essential oils as a way to clear airborne pathogens.
- Eat whole foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene, and Zinc.
- Supplement with a good quality Vitamin D product.
- Using adaptogenic herbs to strengthen immune response. Examples are Reishi, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Licorice, Rhodiola, Eleuthero root.
- Sleep. Rest often and frequently at this time of year.
- Avoid detoxification programs. Reserve cleansing for spring time when the seasonal approach supports this.
- Limit the amount of raw food and cold foods this time of year. Maximize healing broths and teas. Use spices and herbs to warm foods. Limit dairy, cold beverages, ice cream, green smoothies, etc.
- Consume a source of Essential Fatty Acids daily.
What happens if you do start to come down with something?
Viruses can come on very suddenly with extreme symptoms such as high fevers. Remember fever is not a disease, it is a defense mechanism that the body mounts to combat the flu. Watch for the main signs of a healthy fever: Responsive, Perspiring, Consuming Liquids. Watch for fevers that are dry, high, and the ailing person is non-responsive.
KEY STRATEGIES FOR COMBATTING A VIRUS
As soon as you feel the tickle or ache of something coming on begin the following strategies:
- Brew a pot of tea that contains herbs that aid in dispersing the virus from the body. Yarrow flower, Elder Flower, Peppermint are examples. Can’t get your kids to drink a cup of tea? Brew a strong pot of tea, put it in the bath and bathe your children in the tea. Works just the same.
- Begin infection fighter herbs such as Echinacea, Osha, Elder Berry, etc. Having a conversation with a Herbalist ahead of time to stock your herb pantry is essential. Don’t wait until you are sick to seek out these herbs. Having these herbs set aside for those moments you need then will greatly improve your recovery time.
- Discontinue with your adaptogenic herbs until you feel well again. These herb are tonifying and will encourage the virus to stay in the body.
- Up your Vitamin C and D intake.
- Include Healing broths.
- Seek out a qualified health professional if you need advice. Don’t wait until the virus evolves into something more serious.
It’s important to be able to differentiate between a cold and a flu virus, because flu viruses can turn into secondary infections within the body’s systems. It’s these secondary infections that can be of concern, such as upper and lower respiratory infections. When mucous production changes color to yellow, this indicates infection and requires one on one consultation with a heath practitioner.
This handy chart courtesy of Herbalist 7Song details this for us:
Be well, and enjoy the wintry weather season!