You washed your hands after every handshake. When someone sneezed, you ducked. Somehow, though, you still managed to catch the common cold or the flu, and the viruses in your upper respiratory tract are making you feel uncommonly bad: feverish, headachy, tired and coughing and runny nose. Though we can’t necessarily “cure” the common cold or flu, we can certainly prevent, ease symptoms or even shorten the duration by proper use of nutrition and the addition of various herbs, vitamins and natural alternative practices that help boost your immune system.
Fight the Flu:
What to do now? Well first, rest. Get in bed as soon as possible and continue to rest for at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved (just because the sniffles are gone doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet!). Okay, this seems like a given, however you would be amazed at how many people choose to ignore this simple advice. They don’t heed the body’s initial warning signs of illness, keep working and going about daily activities until they drop. Remember, you will take longer to recover if you let the illness gain an advantage.
If you feel a headache, sore throat, congestion etc. coming on, please take it easy. If possible take a day off of work or school. This may prevent you from having to take three days off later on. Rest is the body’s healing time.
Drink More Fluids:
Fighting the flu and the cold puts your metabolism into overdrive. You burn off more calories and your body throws off water in copious amounts. Add to that fact your increased mouth breathing, and possibly a fever, and you can see why you need to drink more fluids. So, you have to replace that water constantly because your body needs it to expel the toxins being produced by your immune system as it’s destroying the body. Filtered water and hot soothing herbal teas (like Chamomile, Peppermint, and Ginger) are best. Fruit juices are not good choices since they contain large quantities of sugar, which can actually hinder the healing process. However if you do choose to have fruit juices, dilute them using half water and half juice.
How much water should you drink?
As a general rule of thumb most practitioners recommend drinking enough water to equal two-thirds of your body weight in ounces daily. The minimum for maintenance is about half your weight. In other words if you weigh 150 lbs you’ll want to drink at least 100 ounces if you’re sick and 75 ounces when you are not.
Now, you don’t have to just take water internally to reap the benefits. Applying water outside the body, a technique called Hydrotherapy, can actually relieve congestion, reduce a fever, improve circulation, increase the number of anti-viral white blood cells and even enhance sleep.
Warming Sock: Hydrotherapy Technique:
One hydrotherapy technique called “Warming Sock” treatment is excellent for colds/flu. I recommend starting this a soon as you feel as though you may be “coming down with something”. This should be done right before bedtime, for at least three consecutive nights. You’ll need the following: 1 pair of white cotton socks, 1 pair of wool socks, Towel and a basin or bath to stick your feet in:
– Soak your feet in water as hot as comfort allows for 5-10 minutes. (It’s important that the feet be warmed first; it won’t be as effective otherwise).
– Dry feet with towel
– Soak cotton socks in cold water, then wring out completely (socks should be damp but not dripping wet)
– Put on cold damp socks then cover with the thick wool socks. Go directly to bed
– Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.
I absolutely love this treatment and if done early enough you can even halt a cold.
Next time I’ll talk about some beneficial herbal preparations, immune boosting supplements and maybe throw in a few eccentric cold and flu-easing recipes as well!