Are you ready for
cold and flu season?
I’m finally getting over some viral illness that attacked my voice (laryngitis), throat, sinuses, and chest. Watch out because this bug is out there and hitting healthy people like me. I pride myself on not getting sick very often. I have attributed this to my generally healthy lifestyle – I eat right, exercise daily and get plenty of rest. As I had to pause from my busy life to heal, I realized I could have done better. We all can.
What causes the common cold and flu this time of year? Contrary to grandma’s loving advice, you do not catch a cold by going outside without a hat. LOL. In fact, while the exact mechanism behind the seasonal nature of influenza is not well known, it is proposed that being indoors more, being in close contact with others (think subway) that results in direct person to person transmission. Other proposed mechanisms:
- The cold temperatures allow the virus to decompose slower and linger on external surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, and countertops
- The cold temperatures are associated with drier air, which may dehydrate mucous membranes, leading to decreased defense against respiratory infections.
Here are the most common symptoms for the flu. The common cold, caused by a different virus, shares these symptoms, generally with less severity.
How do you deal with symptoms if and when they arise?
Here are some of my favorite, natural, drug-free tips to beat the bug and stay healthy this season
Sip Tea. I like to drink hot green tea with lemon and honey. Drinking the tea and breathing in steam stimulates the cilia — the hair follicles in the nose — to move out germs more efficiently. Lemon thins mucus, and honey is antibacterial
Drink Water. Lots of it! Water flushes out toxins through the lymphatic system.
Go Green. Green juices or green smoothies are chockful of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants and delicious. Remember, the darker the greens, the higher the nutrient count. My go-to green smoothie, is kale, spinach, cucumbers, mango, berries and banana.
Eat healthy foods. Remember you are what you eat. So, eating healthy foods, should make you, uh, Healthy. We’re not just talking fruits and vegetables here, superfoods from all major food groups that can improve your immunity. Fish, oysters, mushrooms, garlic, probiotic foods, carrots, sweet potatoes and don’t forget Dark Chocolate.
Vitamin C. If you’re sick, you should consume 500 mg or more. If you feel something coming on, start right away. This is hard to do with food alone, so I take a pure supplement.
Sanitize shared surfaces at home, at work, and at the gym. Wipe everything down!! Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours! Wash your hands! I walk around with Purell in my bag at all times.
Pamper your nose.
NETI, developed thousands of years ago by yoga and Ayurveda practitioners in India, is a nasal purification technique, that involves the use of Neti pots.
The pot is filled with a saline solution (specially packaged salt mixtures can be purchased, but non-iodized salt (not sea salt) and water will do just fine. Once the neti pot is filled, its spout is inserted into one nostril while the user tilts the head to the side to allow the saline solution to flow up the nasal passage and then out the other nostril. Then the technique is repeated on the opposite side.
Neti pots do the following:
- Clear the nostrils to allow free breathing
- Remove excess mucous
- Reduce pollen or allergens in nasal passages
- Relieve nasal dryness
- Reduce cold and flu symptoms
- Alleviate sinus headaches
- Improve sense of smell and taste
- Reduce snoring
Pamper Your Body. Massage Therapy – I like to get a massage once a month to improve circulation which nourishes the cells with oxygen and nutrients. Also, massage reduces stress which means… Less stress… less of a germ magnet.
Good night. Research shows that our bodies need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to stimulate an immune response from our natural killer cells against viruses. Sweet and Healthy Dreams!