So Groundhog Day 2017 is behind us and it looks like we are in for another 6 weeks of winter. Everyone around me seems to be catching that cold that is going around and I have moments where I think it’s only a matter of time before I succumb. I think we all have at least one friend who, on an annual basis, manages to evade cold and flu season. Part of this can be attributed to a hearty, healthy immune system and part is due to some of the advice I’m going to impart below.
Note: This blog posting is not in place of a visit to your naturopathic doctor. Please see a health professional before taking any of the supplements/recommendations provided here within. This is to ensure that the supplements you take work well for your particular diagnosis and treatment plan.
How can you avoid getting sick in the first place? Here are some great habits for prevention.
Wash Your Hands after every contact. This is one of the most crucial steps to cold and flu prevention. This means washing your hands after touching anything someone else may have touched and spread their germs. Hand sanitizer can be a convenient solution but tends to be very drying so use this method sparingly to save your skin. Effective hand washing means at least 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and hot water. Use tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading your germs and avoid touching your face with your hands.
Sterilize The Air of viruses traveling in droplets if you are living or working with someone who is sick. Use an atomizer and eucalyptus essential oil. This isn’t always possible so avoid close contact when possible. If you live with a loved one who is sick, sleep in a separate bedroom – particularly if they are coughing through the night.
Drink 2-3 L of Water per day to maintain moisture in the mucous membranes, thereby ensuring their effectiveness as a barrier against bacteria and viruses. Humidifiers and hot showers also help.
Once you’re sick, there is only so much that can be done. Conventional medicine will mediate your symptoms to help you get through the workday as needed. There are some naturopathic approaches that have been shown to reduce severity as well as length of duration of a cold or flu. Here are my go-to’s!
Elderberry Syrup by Suro
How It Works: this plant is a strong antioxidant and is anti-infective against the flu virus. It can decrease the length of a bout of the flu by 3 days!
How Much to Take: 2 tsp 2-4 times daily at the first sign of symptoms.
How It Works: this oil has constituents that are antiviral and antibacterial, and can help to kill off infections before they take hold
How Much to Take: A small amount goes a long way! Take 2-3 drops three times daily at the first signs of a cold or flu.
EchinaSeal Infection Fighter by St. Francis Herb Farm
How It Works: this plant is antibacterial, antimicrobial and immune stimulating. It can help ward off a cold or if you’ve already succumbed it will decrease the length and severity of your symptoms
How Much to Take: 30 drops 6 times daily on an empty stomach.
Last but not least, I love curling up with a blanket and a nice hot beverage. Hot toddy has been a standard cold relief in my home for as long as I can remember. They are comforting and will allow you to get some much needed rest.
A Naturopathic Hot Toddy
Most of you will have at least heard of, if not had, a hot toddy. The recipes vary and are traditionally consumed prior to heading to bed in cold wet weather or to fight off a cold. Try the recipe below for an immune boosting version on an old classic.
Juice from ½ a lemon
2 ounces of amber rum or whiskey for it’s sedating effects
8 ounces of boiling water
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 crushed clove of garlic
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp honey
Combine all ingredients, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drink and head to bed.
**For children or a daytime drink alcohol can be replaced with one Echinacea teabag.
If you are considering any of the supplements within this blog, please consult with me to ensure they are safe with your diagnosis and treatment plan.