Immune support can be very helpful in preventing infections, as well as lessening the length of the infection and severity of symptoms. I like to look at immune support in two stages.
1) Prevention 2) Acute care
PREVENTION During cold and flu season, keeping your immune system strong will help prevent getting sick and can shorten the duration and severity of the infection. Begin supporting your immune system before and well into cold & flu season.
The following remedies are helpful for prevention:
Homeopathic remedies can be taken during cold and flu season to prevent an infection and can also be taken at the first sign of a cold to help prevent a full-blown infection
Immune herbal tonics that contain adaptogenic herbs such as astragalus, Siberian ginseng and medicinal mushrooms, when taken daily can help boost the immune system and prevent infections
Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin A & Vitamin D are nutrients that enhance the immune system’s ability to respond to infections. It is important to have healthy levels going into cold and flu season as a deficiency of these nutrients lowers the immune system and increases susceptibility to infections.
Many supplements contain a combination of these ingredients
Supplement vitamin D on its own
Cod liver oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D & A
A.C.E.S. + zinc is a great combination
Avoid sugar and dairy. Consume a whole food-based diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits
Wash your hands often with soap and water
Address Stress. Don’t allow yourself to get run down as this increases susceptibility to illness.
Keep Your Wind Gate covered. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the wind gate is a specific acupuncture point (Urinary Bladder 12) but is generally considered the neck and upper back. This area is vulnerable to entrance of wind and external pathogens. The invasion of wind can lead to symptoms of cold and flus. Keeping your neck warm and covered through windy, cold months will help your body stay warm and improve resistance to illness.
ACUTE CARE This as a very important time to take action! Colds usually begin with a sore throat and a flu with a chill or aching.
COLD & FLU FIRST AID KIT (keep these on had during cold & flu season)
Warm saltwater gargle. Respiratory illness aka Colds, begin in the throat. Gargling can help address the local infection.
Boiron Oscillococcinum. Take daily at the first sign of a cold
Echinacea herbal tonics help to boost the immune system in order to fight off an infection
Avoid sugar and dairy
Sugar lowers immunity and dairy promotes mucous formation – Consume cooked, warm foods that are easy to digest and warms you from the inside. Soups, stews, broths and tea
Remember to rest. This is one of the most necessary pieces for healthy immune support and recovery from infections.
The Warming Sock Treatment is a simple hydrotherapy technique that is especially effective for relieving nasal congestion in bed at night (frequently better than medications and without the side effects). It also helps to stimulate the immune system in the upper respiratory tract and is relaxing for aches and chills, and helps bring on a more restful night’s sleep when sick. We find it helpful in such conditions as colds, & “flu” (“not the stomach flu”), earaches, sore throats, and sinus infections. It is useful with people of any age from infants to the elderly. The Cold Sock Treatment is especially good to use with the nasal congestion of colds and influenza.
Preparation. In the evening before going to bed, prepare by having a pair of cotton socks and a pair of wool socks. They must be at least 90% cotton and 90% wool, respectively. Most sporting goods stores and some department stores carry wool socks. For small children you can use safety-pins to hold a wool sock on that is too large, or rap wool cloth around each foot.
Step 1. Soak the foot part of the cotton socks in cold tap water and wring them out thoroughly. Place the socks close to the basin or bathtub used in the next step. Note: If your feet are already warm (e.g., you have already been in bed) you can skip to Step 3.
Step 2. Put your feet into a basin or bathtub of hot water to warm up your feet. Soak them for a few minutes until they are hot and pink.
Step 3. Remove your feet from the hot water and quickly dry them off. Immediately put on the cold wet cotton socks, and then over them, put on the dry wool socks.
Step 4. Go directly to bed and keep the feet covered through the night. The therapy does not work if you or your feet are uncovered, such as when walking around or sitting in a chair uncovered.
When the Cold Sock Treatment procedure is followed correctly the feet will start warming up within a few minutes of getting covered in bed. The congestion will usually start to be relieved within 30 minutes. It will often work better than a decongestant or antihistamine to relieve congestion during sleep. In addition, it is not uncommon to see a small child or infant fall immediately to sleep after they are put to bed with the Cold Sock Treatment. After approximately four hours the socks should be totally dry, the feet warm, and the symptoms will be much improved (if not gone).
1 tbls of fresh grated ginger, 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped, ½ lemon juiced, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of Manuka or regular honey. This is good for 2-3 cups (the size of a Bodum or French press). Let steep for 20 minutes. Drink through out the day
Herbal teas, liquids, conges and broths are easily digested, nutrient rich and will prevent dehydration. Digestion takes allot of energy that the immune system needs in order to fight an infection and this is often why appetite is low during the flu. The old saying goes: “starve a fever, feed a cold”.