As promised from the last article, I am going to share with you some of the best ways to manage colds and flu that so commonly happen this time of year. All too often people rush to their GP to get a prescription for an antibiotic or even for Tamiflu when they do not feel well. If the doctor feels these medications are not necessary, they are often told to just wait it out and they will feel better soon enough.
Fortunately for you, you have me, and I know of so many ways to treat these infections naturally, without using antibiotics or over-the-counter medicines. There is no need to wait it out and suffer endlessly! Many home therapies, vitamins, and herbal medicines are great for helping you get over the crud faster.
Induce a Fever (and Don’t Suppress One if You Are Lucky Enough to Have One)
The ability to mount a fever is an eloquent demonstration of the body’s innate self-healing potential. A higher body temperature enables the body to make more white blood cells, which kill viruses and bacteria, and allows those cells to move faster to the site of infection. Fever decreases the appetite and makes you tired. This mechanism actually helps you conserve energy so that you can fight the infection better. Finally, a fever will move iron from the blood where it feeds bacteria and viruses and stores it in the liver. A fever is a sign of your immune system working to fight infection, not a sign of the infection itself, and is generally safe. I ask my patients to allow a fever to continue, and to induce a fever with a sauna or hot bath if they do not have one. Because a fever has such a profound effect on the immune system, having a fever will actually help you fight off an infection much faster than if you never mount one.
I said this in my last article and in every other article I have ever written about the cold and/or the flu: if you are sick, stay at home! Rest, hydrate, sleep, and let your body heal. During a cold or flu you are already more tired, and this is because your body is focusing all of its energy into fighting the infection. The best thing you can do is listen to your body, rest if you are tired, don’t eat if you are not hungry, and allow the wisdom of your body to take over. You will get better faster AND prevent the spread of your infection.
We all forget sometimes that vitamins play an important role in immune function.
Vitamin D is important for proper immune function and it also produces somewhere around 200 antimicrobial peptides in the body. I encourage everyone to have their vitamin D levels tested and get your levels between 50 and 80.
Don’t ever forget about the incredible good old vitamin C when it comes to treating colds and flus. Vitamin C, even at very high doses, is a safe and effective treatment for viral infections. It neutralizes free radicals, strengthens the immune system, and helps you both prevent infection and fight it off faster.
The product that I have been using forever to treat my family and my patients is called Super Bio-Vegetarian. This particular product is full of effective immune stimulants that will shorten the duration of any infection. It has antimicrobial herbs such as elderberry, garlic and Oregon grape, immune stimulants like echinacea, shiitake and maitake, and even vitamins like A and zinc. Just a warning about this supplement: the tablets are big and spicy (the garlic and cayenne are strong)! I recommend taking a loading dose of 2 every hour for 4 hours upon the first sign of a cold and continuing with 2 every 3-4 hours until you are better. This is, my friends, the magic elixir.
These tools should help get you through any cold you encounter, without having to resort to any prescription or over-the-counter cold medicines. Stimulate your immune system and improve your terrain and you are less likely to suffer from colds and flu! Take your vitamins, listen to your body, and trust in your body’s innate ability to heal itself.