TOP 10 tips for beating colds and flu this winter. And why having mild forms of flu and colds is actually good for you!
By Dr. C Groenewald
M.TECH HOM (UJ)
It is that time of the year again, the congested, stuffy, coughy, miserable season. Colds and flu is miserable, but it is so important to building a strong immune system. When you are exposed to a virus, your body responds by forming antibodies to that specific virus (antibody- antigen reaction). So next time when you are exposed to the same virus, your body has the necessary ammunition to nip it in the butt.
A healthy individual with a strong immune system, should be able to beat a cold in 3-7 days, and flu within 5-14 days. This is so often not the case, and I often see patients who have been suffering for more than 3 months. THREE months??? Why does this happen?
• Low immunity or immune compromised individuals
• Repeated use of antibiotics
• Use of corticosteroids
• Adrenal burnout with consequent low immune function
• Lack of sleep
• Poor diet
• Leaky gut syndrome
• Vitamin and mineral deficiency
• Previous infections
• Low thyroid function
• Lack of exercise
What is the difference between a Cold vs Flu?
Common signs and symptoms of the FLU include:
• KEY: Flu develops rapidly, feels like you have been hit by a bus.
• Fever over 100 F (38 C)
• Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
• Chills and sweats
• Dry cough
• Fatigue and weakness
• Nasal congestion
The common COLD is a viral infection (more than a 100 viruses can cause the common cold) of your upper respiratory tract — your nose and throat.
• KEY: cold usually develops more slowly, fever is not common.
• Runny nose,
• Sore throat,
• Watery eyes,
• Sneezing and congestion
• Possible mild cough due to post nasal drip.
• Feeling like you ill, but not that ill to not perform normal duties
So how are you going to beat it this year? This does not mean you will not get sick, remember, you want to get a mild form of the cold and flu, to build up your immune system. It is normal and important to get a cold and flu at least 4 times per year…what is NOT normal is to be sick for weeks on end, with secondary bacterial infections and often 3 courses of antibiotics later, still feel like death warmed up. So let us help you get you dose as mildly as possible, so we can have you up and running again in no time.
TOP TEN TIPS FOR BEATING COLDS AND FLU
1. VITAMIN C
Your first line of defence. There is amazing and exciting research demonstrating the effects of high doses Vitamin C in enhancing the immune function, and reducing the severity of colds and flu by up to 25%.
This herbal tincture has both immune boosting, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
3. Aconite 1 M
A homeopathic ‘prophylactic’ preparation, to be taken 1x per week during high risk season. At the first sign of colds and flu, you can stop a cold in its tracts, by giving Aconite 2 hourly.
Especially Vitamin A, C and E, zinc and selenium. These vitamins are essential in maintaining a healthy immune system. Also enquire with your homeopath regarding Vitamin B12 and B complex immune boosting injections during the flu season.
No surprises here. A healthy balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, omega rich foods and foods rich in pre and probiotics, is the way to health this winter. Consider making freshly pressed carrot, ginger and apple juice to drink each morning, as this will have amazing immune boosting effects. Soups prepared with homemade bone broth, which does wonders for a healthy gut, and as we know, a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system. Stay away from foods that can destroy the gut lining, 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. Foods like sugar, wheat and dairy, often have adverse effects on the integrity of the gut lining, so try and steer clear.
High intensity exercise is bad! Low intensity exercise is good. Why? High intensity exercise produced high volumes of cortisol secretion, which supresses immune function. So try doing light – moderate intensity training, yoga, Pilates and weight training, to keep you strong and healthy.
As mentioned above. High levels of cortisol, supresses your immune system. Increased cortisol production from your adrenal glands, is as a result of increased levels of stress. Cortisol forms part of the ‘fight and flight’ cascade, and although it can do wonders for our safety short term, long term exposure to high levels of cortisol, can have detrimental health effects. So chill. Meditate. Yoga. Sound therapy. Take a much-needed holiday. Long walks with a loved one. Whatever it takes to manage your stress. There are also numerous herbs that your homeopath can prescribe, that can help nourish your adrenal glands and balance your cortisol.
6-8 hours of good quality sleep is crucial for a normal functioning immune system.
9. Drinking enough water
250ml of water per 10kg of body weight, to support the digestive and renal systems.
10. Immune boosters
Ask your homeopath about immune boosting biopuncture injections. This is especially useful for individuals who are prone severe colds and flu during winter.