Preventing Cold & Flu

, December 2, 2015 in Mother and Child / Therapeutics

How can we prevent  a cold or the flu?

We can OPTIMIZE the resilience of the body.

Colds and flus are opportunistic pathogens. When a person’s immune system is run down it presents an “opportunity” for the pathogen to infect the body.

The immune system becomes run down from:

  •  highly refined diets
  •  refined sugar
  •  chronic stress
  •  lack of sleep

What is the difference between a COLD and the FLU?

 COLDFLU
onset:gradual, 1 to 3 daysrapid, 3 to 6 hours
duration:4 to 10 days1 week to several
fever:little or nonehigh, often with chills
coughing:hacking, productive coughdry, unproductive cough
aches:slightsevere
sneezing:commonuncommon
stuffy nose:commonuncommon
sore throat:commonuncommon
chest discomfort:mild to moderateoften severe
headache:fairy uncommoncommon
chills:uncommonfairly common

LIFESTYLE SUGGESTIONS

  • Wash hands with soap frequently during the day
  •  Ensure adequate rest – 8 hours in ideal. Restful sleep is healing and restorative
  • Do deep breathing exercises
  • Walk and do stretching exercises to boost the immune system (Note: Extreme aerobic exercises and weight training are best minimized if you have any of the above symptoms)
  • Dry skin brushing and contrast showers are useful to support optimal lymphatic system function
  • Remember that ‘emotional’ stress, fear and worry can depress the immune system
  • Allow and respect a fever. A fever of 1-3 degrees above normal core body temperature (37.5 degrees Celsius) has a profound effect on immune modulation and optimizes the healing response

NUTRITION

This is a good time to incorporate preventative measures to help strengthen the body’s immune defenses.

Some beneficial choices include:

  •  Immune Boosting Astragalus (see recipe attached)
  •  Vitamin D – It is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Remarkably, researchers have found that 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day abolished seasonal influenza. This is somewhat surprising, as it is half the dose of what most adults need to achieve ideal levels of vitamin D. The best source for vitamin D is direct sun exposure. For many of us, especially in our Canadian climate, this just isn’t possible during the winter so supplementation is recommended. In order to prevent the flu, children and adults need 35 IU of vitamin D per pound of body weight. So, for example, a child weighing 57 pounds would need 2,000 IU a day of vitamin D.
  • Drink plenty of fresh, pure water daily – we recommend half of your body weight in ounces (for a person weighing 150 lbs., drink 75 ounces of water). Water is essential for the optimal function of every system in the body
  • Avoid too many sweets or processed foods – these foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability
  •  Eat 5-8 locally grown organic fruits and vegetables every day – they are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals
  •  Include mushrooms, especially Reishi, Shiitake, Chaga and Maitake, which contain beta glucans (with immune-enhancing properties)
  •  Use Coconut oil – it is antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral when used topically or eaten
  •  Use vitamin C daily – Young children (under 5) can take 250mg twice a day and older children can take 500mg twice a day
  •  Include probiotic as a part of your daily supplement regime as well as consuming plenty of probiotic rich fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, etc…
  •  Eat garlic regularly – it is a potent antimicrobial that kills bacteria, viruses AND fungi (recipe for Honey Elixir with garlic attached)
  •  Exercise – preferable outdoors in the fresh air – regular, moderate exercise can reduce your risk for respiratory illness by boosting your immune system. Be careful though and do not overdo it, over-exercising can actually place more stress on the body, which can suppress the immune system–and you don’t want that either. You might just go for a walk if you are coming down with something

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  •  Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  •  Bluish or gray skin color
  •  Not drinking enough fluids
  •  Severe or persistent vomiting
  •  Not waking up or not interacting
  •  Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  •  Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  •  Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  •  Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  •  Sudden dizziness
  •  Confusion
  •  Severe or persistent vomiting
  •  Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

HERBAL TREATMENTS

If you or a loved one happens to contract a cold or flu there are many natural options that can shorten the duration of an illness and lessen the symptoms.

I have included a number of suggestions here. You may choose what works best for you. The herbal medicine that we use comes from Viriditas Herbal Products, which use the highest quality organic herbs and are handcrafted in a precise artisanal manner.

If you buying herbs on your own, look for those that are organically grown and be sure that they are fresh.

HERBAL TEAS & TINCTURES

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) is safe, gentle, and capable of both preventing and fighting viral infections. Echinacea of course is the king of the cold/flu herbs, and deservedly so. Echinacea can be used in small preventative doses throughout cold and flu season or in larger doses for fighting sickness. Use of echinacea has been shown to shorten the duration of colds. The tincture is the single most effective way to give children this medicine. For maximum effectiveness during an acute infection it’s important to give echinacea tincture in therapeutic doses.

Dose:

1 drop of extract per 2 pounds of
the child/adults’s body weight

(i.e., a 50-pound child would get 25 drops, every 2 to 4 hours, depending upon the severity of the infection).

It can be given diluted in 1/4 cup of water, tea, or diluted natural fruit juice.

In children over one year honey may be added.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) syrup is a wonderfully sweet tasting way to boost the immune system and treat influenza. Research has found that patients taking elderberry syrup had higher levels of antibodies against the flu virus and has actually been proven effective against eight different influenza viruses.

This knowledge may help solve the perennial problem of the mutation flu.

BASIC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE FLU

In most cases it is best to not eat during a flu, drink plenty of fluids and rest.

Especially avoid dairy products and sugars.

Allow the body to sweat. Beneficial teas for easing the flu and promoting sweating include:

  • yarrow, ginger, catnip, elderflower

  These may be sweetened with a bit of honey.

To make a tea, use 1-2 heaping tablespoons of dry herb per liter of boiling water.

Let steep for 15-30 minutes, strain and drink throughout the day.

If the symptoms are going into the chest, use elderberry syrup

  • -2 TBSP 3-6 times a day together with a tea made from elderflowers.

If there is a high fever, any other associated symptoms or no response to treatment please call or make an appointment with your health care provider or go to the hospital.

HYDROTHERAPY

Try a warming (wet) sock treatment for upper respiratory congestion and sinus pressure.

After a warm bath or shower put a pair of cotton socks wet with cold water on to the feet. Cover with a pair of thick wool socks and go to sleep. When you wake up the socks will be dry and you may feel a lot better.

The remedies listed here are intended for children over the age of two. For treating younger children with herbs, consult your health care practitioner.

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