Bryce Wylde Doesn't Get as Sick as You
Toodle-oo Cold and Flu
With cold and flu season here, I am often asked how I am able to ward off so many colds throughout the season. After all, I see sick patients on a daily basis during winter season. You would think that I get sick more often, but I only get one or two brief colds during the entire winter. Let me explain why. Optimal health doesn't preclude one from getting a cold – even a flu. If one's immune system has never encountered a particular bacteria, virus, or any other microbe for that matter, then it will succumb to specific symptoms such as temperature elevation, increased mucus production, cough, and perhaps a headache among other symptoms. The epitome of health however, is how well one manages with an infection. A rapid onset of symptoms including and not limited to a high but brief fever, fatigue, mild cough, lasting only days with no complications, is optimal health. If symptoms linger for weeks accompanied by additional complications this is unhealthy. One example might be "bug" on top of a "bug" – as in the case of an infection that starts off as viral and then becomes bacterial such as when bacteria invade the lungs that have succumbed to a depressed and overwhelmed immune system.
First and foremost, washing of the hands after each contact is of utmost importance. This means washing your hands after you have held on during a bus ride where others most likely have touched and spread their germs. Using a hand sanitizer is also not a bad idea, but overusing a hand sanitizer will dry your hands out too much, so use wisely and when most needed. Proper hand washing involves at least 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and hot water.
Avoid touching your face since germs often enter the body through the nose, eyes and mouth. Use a tissue or your sleeve for sneezing and coughing—avoid using your hands to cover your mouth or nose. Although you've likely heard this all before, it's worth reiterating and is the best and most effective natural advice I can give.
At my office, if someone has the flu – which is spread by respiratory droplets – I will disinfect the room used to see the patient before seeing the next patient. This is to protect us and the next person. And, yes, there are natural products that kill 99.9% of surface bugs widely available.
If you live with a loved one that is sick, it's always best to sleep in a separate room, especially if they are coughing all night. Of course, many times it's hard to avoid people that are sick around us. An atomizer with essential oil of eucalyptus can help sterilize the air of viruses traveling in droplets.
Mucous membranes (such as the lining of your nose) must be moist to act as an effective barrier to bacteria and viruses. Using a humidifier in your home or office, or even taking a hot shower helps to keep membranes moist. Another tip is to try a small amount of coconut oil on a Qtip and apply that inside each nostril. If you're congested, then on top of that try a Breathe Right Nasal Strip for instant relief. Staying hydrated on the inside is also extremely important. Make sure you are drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water per day.
Natural Remedies That Help Block Colds & Flu
Besides personal hygiene, the most important preventive strategies are the natural remedies I have come to depend on to stay as healthy as possible during the winter months. Many of them also improve the efficacy of the flu vaccine by helping your immune system develop antibodies to the shot more efficiently. The caveat: if you decide on the vaccine, ensure you are getting the Mercury-free flu shot by asking for the single unit dose (avoid the multi dose). Remember, during any given flu season, the circulating Influenza virus could be predominantly one strain or another. In the past, if the flu vaccine missed the strain that became the more predominant one during a season, this rendered the vaccine less than 50% effective. With the flu vaccine a bit of a toss-up, it's best to have an arsenal of natural remedies with proven efficacy against the flu.
What are my favourite natural remedies? A first line of defence to have in your arsenal is Echinacea by A.Vogel called "Echinaforce". This is where the science is strongest.
Taken at the first sign of cold or flu-like symptoms (whether you have the flu or not), this botanical immune booster can help temper some of the worst symptoms, including the fever and body aches and even work to prevent getting sick in the first place.
Dr. Ron Eccles out of Cardiff University common cold centres – one of the only cold and flu treatment and research centres in the world – has completed some very convincing research on this product. More than 750 people were part of a study using Echinaforce and researchers found that taking three daily doses of the common remedy for four months reduced the number of colds.
The duration of the illness suffered by patients also went down by an average of 26 per cent. The treatment also cut the number of recurrent colds suffered by those with weak immune systems or a history of catching several bouts each year by 60 per cent.
I add to this Elderberry. This high antioxidant fruit extract, has anti-infective properties against the flu virus. It actually prevents it from spreading from cell to cell. In studies that looked at its efficacy against influenza strains A & B, Elderberry was found to shorten the duration of the flu from the typical 7 days to 4 days. That's 3 days less of flu-like symptoms! In comparison, the medications on the market to treat the flu only shorten its duration by a mere 1 day.
Combine these with Vitamin D3, and you've got a power combo that will get you well faster than any prescription remedy. Jamieson has a high quality chocolate flavour chewable vitamin D – widely available at your local pharmacy – which you should keep desk side. Ask your GP to test you for your actual vit-D status using a simple blood test called "25-OHD", but I assure you – where we live north of 40° lattitude – most of us are low to deficient and need daily supplementation.
And what about colds and sore throats?
For the day to day sore throat that may start after exposure to the common cold, I like to recommend gargling with warm salt water every hour and oral oregano oil. North American Herb and Spice wild craft Oregano oil has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. So, it is an all-around great anti-infective.
Echinacea also has anti-microbial properties and immune stimulating properties so you can use echinaforce throat spray. Echinacea has also been found in studies to reduce the severity and duration of illness significantly! In fact, studies show using the echinaforce also showed significant reduction in the use of Tylenol and other conventional OTC products.
Zinc Lozenges are another great tool for your cold prevention kit as they can help reduce the duration of illness as well. Studies show that zinc helps to prevent bacterial adhesion to mucous membranes. Be sure to start them within 24 hours of first symptom onset!
In combination, these natural remedies will have you back to work and feeling better in no time! Here is what I have to say about zinc on my Supplement Scorecard evaluation on the Doctor OZ website. And if you're really curious as to whether flu is popping up in your neck of the woods, or just need a little bit of an extra push to get started, check out Google's flu trends.
Here's to getting through cold and flu season unscathed by a big one! May you ward off most colds that come your way, and get through any that you succumb to as fast as possible. Of course, if you are considering any of these treatments, it is a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe and ideal for you.
Please join me on Twitter and help make this viral (the flu-free kind of viral!) using #NoFlu4U and sharing YOUR favourite natural cold and flu remedies.
Best of health to you this season!