Fall has barely begun but the cold and flu is in full force. I am already seeing increase cases of colds in my office. And this year, we have to deal with the enterovirus D68 that has moved its way from the east coast and has been confirmed here in Southern California.
But don't fret. There are many things you can do to prevent this cold as well as all the other colds and flus that come our way during the Fall and Winter months.
Here are my 7 tips:
1. WASH YOUR HANDS! You and your kiddos need to be fastidious about washing your hands during this season. Before eating, when coming home from work or school, after you've been with sick people, you name it. And of course, keep your fingers out of your mouth, nose and eyes.
2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water (tea and coffee doesn't count b/c they are diuretics; sodas don't count b/c they are too sweet and will suppress your immune system). Drink so much, your water is practically clear each time you go to the bathroom!
3. Get plenty of good night's rest nightly. Consistent good night's rest is one of the BEST defenses from the onslaught of the cold and flu season. Sleep helps the body repair and restore during the night so that it can keep up its immune system strong during the day. Take advantage of the best reparative sleep time that starts at 10pm and ends around 6am.
4. Cut back on sugar and dairy intake. Eating sweets (and that includes a lot of carbs, which turn into sugar) suppresses the immune system b/c yeast and other pathogen feeds on sugar. You don't want to make the virus or bacteria have a feast when it comes in contact with you. (Ever wonder why kids get sick after Halloween? It's all that sugar they just consumed!) Dairy also suppresses the immune system by creating a highly phlegmy/mucusy environment in the body. Virus, bacteria, and yeast all love to multiply in this kind of environment. So instead, eat a lot of veggies, drink a lot of clear broth soups (chicken soup is always a sure fire immune booster!) and eat good quality proteins to keep your body strong and your system flowing so that none of the pathogens can lodge inside and wreak havoc.
5. Get Preventative Medicine treatments. Come see me so that I can help you or your child's body stay at tip top shape. My treatments help to keep you and your child's energy and bodily fluids flowing so that the pathogens can't lodge inside you. The immune system will get a boost with my treatments, and you'll both sleep better after my treatments, too. Come weekly or monthly. Up to you. To learn more about my non-needling pediatric treatments, go here.
6. Take Preventative Medicine. I have herbs for adults and kids to take both as prevention and also, if once sick, to minimize the duration and severity of the symptoms. (To learn why Chinese herbs are awesome for respiratory infections and conditions, click here.) The picture of tinctures above, from left to right, address: digestive imbalances to improve both your digestion and up the immune capacity of your digestive system (an improperly functioning digestive system is often at the root of frequent colds and flus since the digestion has one of the highest amounts of immune cells in the body, and when it's not functioning properly, the immune system goes down and you become susceptible to respiratory infections); the next three all address respiratory symptoms from mild cold symptoms to deeper respiratory complications like asthma, bronchitis, cough; the 5th from the left treats ear infections (forget antibiotics!); and the last one is a cold/flu preventative tincture. Many of my asthma pediatric patients are on either Chest Relief, Open Air or Children's Jade Defense Formula, and they are able to reduce their asthma prescriptions or get off of it all together, and their colds are now much milder, if at all. Children and parents alike love Windbreaker for its ability to nip a cold in its bud.
Consider also taking homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum both as a preventative (one dose a week for prevention) or to treat an acute infection (follow instructions on package for acute infection).
Put on the humidifier or a nebulizer/diffuser and use essential oils to keep the air moist and clean. Eucalyptus or Cypress is a great place to start.
Here are other home remedies you can use for yourself and the whole family.
7. Last but not least, if you do get sick, PLEASE Stay Home and Rest. Thinking that you're a superhero chugging through work while you're sick only makes you sicker and others sick. Same goes with our little ones, keep them home, even if they go stir crazy at home. Does nobody any good spreading the infection. And once you or your child has recovered, take it easy. The body is susceptible to catching another infection right after getting over one because your body just went through the wringer. Convalescing to rebuild your strength and immune system is another very important preventative measure.
Be safe and healthy everyone!