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Cold and Flu?

Here Are Some Prevention Tips To See You Thru!

January is upon us and I’m sure that by now you are all too familiar with the sound of sniffling, coughing, sneezing and misery. About-25% of us get the flu each year and even more suffer from annoying colds.

Colds and flu share similar symptoms (lethargy, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, sore throat and headaches) but in most cases the flu is worse. There is no known cure for colds or flu, not even pharmaceutical antibiotics!  Your best way to cope in winter is to avoid infection altogether with a strong, healthy immune system. There are simple things you can do to improve your immunity and stay healthy during this cold and flu season.

  • Get plenty of Zzzzz - The circadian rhythm (body clock) exerts a strong regulatory influence on immune function. Prolonged sleep deprivation wears down immune protection. Conversely, getting plenty of quality sleep every night helps boost your defenses.
  • DE-stress - Stress increases production of stress hormones that compromise immune function, including antibody production. High stress levels impact sleep and leave you worn down, ripe for infection. 
  • Healthy Lifestyle – It’s no secret that living a healthy lifestyle (regular exercise, no smoking, no drinking and eating healthy) leads to better overall health including better immune system health and less chance of illness of all kinds including both colds and flu.
  • Water - Drinking ample water has a profound impact on immune system health (as well as overall health). Water helps nourish every cell in the body as well as ridding the body of toxins.
  • Caffeine and sugar – I know, you love your morning double double (as Canadians we drink a lot of coffee). However the stimulants in coffee (and other foods like energy drinks and chocolate) all reduce your immune response. Reduce the amount of white sugar and caffeine from all sources in your diet. Switching to other sweeteners (i.e. stevia, coconut sugar) and getting your kick from healthy sources (Active B-12, fruits, nuts and berries) will help boost your immune system.

If you do get sick, there are some steps you can take to get healthy more easily and more quickly. Remember not to spread the joy. Taking a sick day is better than infecting your co-workers (and their families).

Both vitamin C and zinc are essential for infection-fighting. Taking vitamin C and zinc will reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms. We are all lacking in Vitamin D, especially during the winter months. Topping up each day is important to overall health. It is even more important if you are ill to get back to good health faster.

Oil of oregano is a must. The oil’s active ingredient “Carvacrol” has antimicrobial and antiviral properties and is highly effective against a broad range of infections. When you start feeling sick simply take a couple of drops of the oil under your tongue followed by water. If you have issues with the taste, use vegan Oregano capsules as they are just as potent, without the taste.

The majority of your immune system is actually found in your gut. Here is where bacteria reign supreme. A healthy gut is one where the good bacteria (probiotics) are numerous and keep the bad bacteria (pathogens) in check. Take a high quality potent probiotic supplement (yogurt isn’t strong enough) mixed with a prebiotic (the food for probiotics) to ensure they can keep the pathogens under control.

Canada is not only the source of cold and flu misery, it is also the source of the best herbs to combat these infections. Mother Nature grows her best right here in the “True North”. Canada grows and produces the best Ginseng, Echinacea, Elderberry and Feverfew. All of these have properties that boost immunity for battling upper respiratory infections and help relieve sore throats. Ginger tea is used for fever, to thin mucus and suppress coughs.

Oscillococcinum (homeopathic remedy) is widely used to reduce the severity of flu symptoms. Be sure to use it within 12 to 48 hours of the onset of the infection.

To relieve congestion, add some pure eucalyptus essential oil (3 ml to 250 ml of boiling water) and inhale the vapours or use saline nasal drops.

Hopefully this year your body will be in top shape to fight off the common cold and flu but if you do get sick, stay home and give your body time to heal. Make sure to always remain hydrated with plenty of fluid. While recuperating, take the time at home to relax and enjoy a good book or movie.