Cold and Flu Season… It’s Here!
During autumn the leaves change color, Halloween decorations go up, & we start hearing the common sounds of coughing, sniffling & sneezing…. cold & flu season is here! Get a head start before decisions about the flu vaccine begin. A proactive approach to warding off colds and flu will certainly make for a healthier, happier home. What will you implement today, to keep those pesky viral visitors away?
- Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing then dispose of the tissue or cough/sneeze into a bent elbow
- Wash hands thoroughly and often especially after coughing and sneezing (using an antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer has no additional benefit over regular soap because these illnesses are caused by viruses NOT bacteria)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth at all times unless hands are clean
- Avoid contact with sick people: Colds & Influenza are spread most by person to person contact through coughing or sneezing by infected person
- If ill stay home from work/school and social activities to limit infecting others
- Get adequate rest: 7-9 hours of sleep/night or more if you need it.
- Do breathing exercises focusing on exhaling twice as long as inhaling or alternate nostril breathing—reduces stress that can depress immune function
- Walk and do stretching exercises to boost immune system- exercise improves circulation of immune cells within the body (Note: extreme aerobic exercise & weight training best to be minimized)
- Dry skin brushing & contrast showers are important to support optimal lymphatic system function- this also improves circulation of immune cells & helps flush out toxins.
- Allow a mild– moderate fever of 1-3 degrees Celsius above normal body temperature (normal 37.5 degrees Celsius). This has a profound effect on immune modulation, helps to kill more bugs and optimizes the healing response.
- Avoid foods that stress the gastrointestinal system– reduce/eliminate intake of sugar, refined foods, food additives, fried foods & trans– fatty foods
- Increase intake of fruits & vegetables to 7-10 servings per day— this provides vitamins/minerals essential for optimal immune function & healing
- Water– drink minimum 8 glasses of pure water/day, organic herbal teas are great alternatives
- Focus diet on warm foods like soups & stews to keep the body nourished, hydrated & warm
Home Care Treatment
- Follow the above prevention hygiene, lifestyle & nutrition guidelines.
- Contrast showers daily – 3min warm/hot & 30 seconds as cold as you can tolerate. Do this cycle 3X per shower & end on cold. This improves the circulation of germ fighting white blood cells & overall circulation in the body.
- Infra red or steam saunas regularly for 10-20 minutes– produces an “artificial fever” which will reduce the infection, improve circulation, and boost overall immune function.
- Steam inhalation with essential oils— boil hot water & place in a large bowl or basin with essential oils like rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, citrus. Lean over the bowl & place a towel over your head to trap in the steam. Breathe normally- the steam with essential oils will help break up mucus & help with expectoration
******* use with caution if allergic or sensitive to scents ******
- Gargle with salt water twice daily—to clear throat & reduce mucus
- Use a netti pot or nasal irrigation with saline water to flush out nose & sinuses- this will reduce mucus build-up, flush out bacteria & any dust or particles trapped in the nasal passages.
What a Naturopathic Doctor can do
As a Naturopathic Doctor individualized treatment is paramount because each person is unique however the following is an overview of some treatment options that may be implemented. It is important to note that any good immune supportive program will also investigate digestive health, detoxification, stress management, and a person’s unique profile of health concerns. Every system in our body is linked and so the immune system cannot be treated in isolation.
· Support your body’s natural healing ability to kick start the immune system using botanical and homeopathic medicine
· Nutritional & lifestyle counseling—to ensure adequate vitamins, minerals & fatty acids required for optimal immunity & recovery
· Work with you to reduce stress & improve overall health – stress is a major factor in depressing the immune system.
· Use homeopathic, botanical, & nutritional supplements to stimulate your immune system, encourage illness resolution & provide a natural alternative to the flu vaccine.
· IV & injection therapies- homeopathic & vitamin injections help to boost immune function & combats infection.
· Acupuncture– to reduce symptoms of illness & speed recovery
· Diathermy– improves circulation & lung function
For more information on prevention or treatment of a cold or flu contact Dr. Zutz (250) 562-3813.