So many people have been hit with a fierce flu this year, it seems a good time to share our favorite cold and flu survival tips, and we’d love to hear yours posted as a comment below, or on our Facebook page.
What works for us and for you may work for and help someone else, and that’s our favorite thing to do here at Best Boomers and Beyond!
Does Cold Cause Colds?
Why is it that winter is the cold (rhinovirus) and flu (infuenza) season? Do you know? Most people tend to assume it’s the reduced temperatures that cause the viruses that afflict most of us at some point during the fall and winter seasons each year.
We’ve likely all heard as we were growing up, parental admonitions like, “Bundle up or you’ll catch cold.” And in turn, we’ve likely thought and repeated these kind of memes to our loved ones.
But is it true?
Well, it turns out that it is true… indirectly. There are several ways in which cold weather can be the trip-switch for a virus. This video by AsapScience explains it all very well in under 3 minutes. Meanwhile, continue reading for some of the most favored treatments toward increasing comfort and shortening the duration of colds and flu.
A doctor friend once told me that so many patients go to see him as soon as they or their children get sick. They expect him to prescribe medication to make them better, and yet he knows that antibiotics will not kill cold or flu viruses, AND that it could be compromising their health. And yet…
If he doesn’t give them medicine they don’t need, they will think he’s a bad doctor.
My doctor friend said that for the majority of viruses, the body will heal itself naturally in about the same amount of time as with medication, (accept in severe cases, or where health is already compromised). However to allow and facilitate the body’s natural healing system, costs less and is less likely to strip our bodies of the good bacterias.
An antibiotic might be what’s most needed. Or, it might be akin to bombs in war, where to drop a bomb takes care of the enemy, but it also wipes out regular workers and innocents.
Rather, if a community is struggling, such as when a community is ravaged by a storm, what’s needed are reinforcements to the existing resources and infrastructure. It’s the same with our bodies.
Our body is like the community that needs reinforcing relief efforts.
Of course this article, is no substitute for medical advice from your doctor. However, be mindful that just as with the axiom, “Physician heal thyself”, so too may it be that that’s all your body needs: natural support to carry on its good work.
Just don’t assume your physician’s prescription is what you need. Ask him or her if it’s really necessary, and why. Ask if it will really make much difference, and what his perspective is on the overuse of antibiotics.
The best physicians—those with a learner’s mindset, (they are after all “practitioners”), tend to welcome a patient’s active involvement in their healing and treatment prescriptions.
If your physician does not welcome questions and alternative perspectives or treatments, you may wish to seek out an integrative medicine physician who uses both allopathic and naturopathic treatments and remedies.
We—our bodies—are natural… a part of nature, and it just makes sense to start there in our healing process. Better yet, to start there in our prevention process!
Sunning in Winter
Another significant reason the season can help to make us sick has to do with sun exposure, or the lack thereof.
In winter, most of us receive significantly reduced amounts of an essential hormone. This hormone is in every tissue and organ, and communicates to your DNA what materials to produce in order to keep your body functioning in a healthy state.
Without a doubt, activated vitamin D is the single most powerful hormone in the human body.
So one of the biggest causes for fall and winter cold and flu season are an absence of vitamin D, and an absence of fresh air.
So, whenever you can, get out and get some sunshine each day. The more skin touched by sun, the greater the vitamin D benefit. And don’t worry. This 15-30 minutes of daily sun exposure has been found to provide far more benefit and without the degree of detriment we’ve been led to believe. We urge you to read Dark Deception for illumination on the topic.
We’d love to hear your favorite remedies for colds and flu. Meanwhile, here are a few of ours, and remember, these are our favorites, and that of others that we’ve researched. These are not doctor prescribed conclusive cure-alls.
Herbal Tea Remedies
At our house we have a stash of herbal teas good for various ailments. A favorite brand we’ve used for years, is Traditional Medicinals. They’ve been around for 40 years and are one of the original medicinal-oriented herbal tea companies with a huge selection of health-promoting healing remedies. Here are some of our favorites for stocking your flu fighting medicine chest.
Echinacea Plus Tea
Echinacea is found in most immune-boosting remedies. We especially like the Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea Plus, with a strong dose of fresh lemon juice (preferred), or from concentrate (no sugar), and a tablespoon of honey. Both soothing for the throat and each with their own immune-boosting properties. It’s even better if you can use manuka honey for the added nutrient and virus-fighting boost for the immune system. It also soothes sore throats and the added flavor is a bonus..
Throat Coat Tea
For when your ailment includes a sore throat, soothing slippery elm bark partnered with hints of cinnamon and fennel serve to soothe sore and raw throats with Traditional Medicinals’ Throat Coat tea and also Organic Lemon Echinacea Throat Coat Herbal Tea.
Breathe Easy Tea
The Traditional Medicinals Breathe Easy Tea has a mild peppermint flavor, with hints of citrus, that helps support your respiratory system and soothe sinus membranes, and as the name of the tea suggests it helps you breathe… Easy.
Cold Season Tea
This Yogi Cold Season Tea has herbs and spices known for warming the body, such as ginger and eucalyptus, pepper and cinnamon, amongst others. These warm the body from chills and induce sweating, which can help to break a fever. The warming effect of the hot liquid, combined with the steamy fluid aerating your sinuses as you drink, provides multiple benefits.
There are many other herbal teas that support different maladies, but these are a few of our favorites!
For centuries honey has been recognized as having beneficial health-giving qualities due largely to an enzyme activity.
Scientific research at New Zealand’s University of Waikato discovered that some strains of New Zealand manuka honey contains an extraordinary, naturally present, very stable and more powerful unique antibacterial activity not found in any other variety of honey.
This unique antibacterial activity is a non-peroxide activity and comes from the nectar of the manuka flower – it is quite distinct from the enzyme/peroxide activity that is common to most honeys.
This special non-peroxide antibacterial activity sets Manuka Honey apart as one of nature’s true wonderfoods. So while high grade raw manuka honey is expensive, we look at it as nature’s medicine and use it judiciously for prevention and treatment. Source: ManukaHoney.com
For coughs, we’ve found that a large spoon (like a tablespoon sized soup spoon) of 1/2 manuka honey and 1/2 lemon juice really helps reduce and even eliminate coughing. We choose natural remedies over harsher cough medicines whenever possible, and in the case of manuka honey and lemon juice, not only is it a remedy that works, but it also adds healing and nutritive value, not just ameliorative.
Does Chicken Soup Really Work?
Apparently vegetable soup works just as well. The benefit in the soup has to do most with hot liquid, which helps to create a steamy environment around our respiratory system that serves to loosen congestion and soothe sore throats. The other benefit is that keep warm and moist creates a less hospitable environment for bacteria, as indicated in the AsapScience video.
So, whether it’s chicken soup or vegetable soup or a combination, have some soothing soup!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Next to sun, water is the next most healing agent to life on planet earth. We’ve all heard that approximately 70% of our body is comprised of water. And interestingly, that same 70% applies to earth’s water ratio. Like sun, that brings life to earth and earth to life, so too does water, so it just makes sense that water should be a large portion of our health and healing protocol.
I listened to a Lewis Howes podcast with Scott Harrison of Charity Water, and learned that 740 million people in the world do not have running water today. Charity Water is making a huge dent in this problem, and 100% of all donations go directly to drilling wells to bring fresh water to those who would otherwise have to walk, sometimes extreme distances to dirty watering holes. Please visit their site, and also Lewis Howes’ podcast with Scott, which you can listen to on iTunes, or on his page, where there’s a 3.5 minute video that sums it all up.
Meanwhile, for most of us with easy access to running water, here are some simple healing recommendations that incorporate WATER.
WATER FOR YOUR BODY: Drink lots of water and healthy, healing fluids. Thanks to medicinals herbs, there are many remedies we can enjoy sipping away at through an illness, while also keeping hydrated.
I alternate between herbal teas and water with a few squirts or wedges of lemon or lime for refreshing, hydrating water with hints of tangy citrus and the added benefit of steady doses of vitamin C—ascorbic acid—and numerous other healing nutrients and phytochemicals.
WATER FOR YOUR NOSE: For Sinuses, use a Neti Pot, or other Nasal Rinsing Systems. Just be sure to use filtered water and read up on any precautions. I’ve never needed to use these personally, however several family members often use during an illness, and while it’s not fun or pleasant, it’s over in a couple minutes yet produces hours of improvement and relief.
MORE WATER FOR YOUR NOSE: Moisture is the natural environment for the nasal passages, and saline nasal sprays can help preventative illness by creating the environment in which bad bacteria cannot thrive.
WATER FOR THE AIR: Humidifier. This year we’re running a humidifier round the clock and it’s made a huge difference in our overall health and comfort. We use a Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier, and though we haven’t tried others for comparison, this one works really well.
WATER FOR SKIN: Keeping our winter environment humidified has also helped to keep the skin hydrated and moist, rather than as dried out as it tends to get in the dry winter interiors.
WATER FOR EYES: I wear contacts, and in highly controlled environments, such as heated interiors or stuffy places like airplanes, hotels and highrise, the air tends to be so dry it actually hinders vision as eyes and contacts lose moisture to the parched air. A humidifier helps tremendously with this, but in absence of a humidifier, lubricant eye drops work, and for that. I prefer the Systane brand, available from any pharmacy and grocer.
If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy this article on herbal remedies from your kitchen cabinet.
Please let us know your favorite cold and flu care remedies. You can share them below here in ‘comments’, and on our Facebook page.