It’s that time of the year when the cold and flu have become more prevalent. Now is the best time to prepare for this season of the cold and flu. Prevention is key, and having a stock of items best for battling the cold and flu are the winning practices to ensure your sickness does not develop into something more serious.
First off, it would be helpful to better understand the cold and flu, so lets answer a few questions:
Why are the cold and flu more prevalent during the winter season?
There are many different theories about how and why the cold and flu are more prevalent during the cold and wintery seasons. This ARTICLE gives a great possible explanation backed with a bit of research and great visuals.
To summarize the article, it explains that the flu virus travels through the air from host to host. When more humidity is in the air, such as during the warmer times of the year, the virus will become trapped in water droplets of the humid air. The virus becomes too heavy to float to its next host so it falls to the ground with the water. The more dry air, such as during those cold, dry and crisp wintery nights, will allow the virus to float without anything weighing it down.
Other supporting theories include the fact that we travel more for holidays during the winter, thus breathing more circulated airplane air. Also, we spend more time indoors, see less of the sun due to shorter days and sun is at a less than optimal position to supply UVB rays, which our bodies convert into vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an integral role in our immune defense.
Cold vs flu, how do you know which you have?
According to DUKE UNIVERSITY, “common viral infections such as upper respiratory infection can typically be detected by runny nose, cough, low-grade fever, sore throat and difficulty sleeping." A viral infection can be either a cold (rhinovirus) or flu (influenza virus).
This is a great chart from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
I would like to point out that there are many other options or alternatives to treatments and preventions of the cold and flu than what is seen on the above chart. Let's check these options out:
How to protect to prevent: The following items all assist in keeping your immune system functioning at its full potential:
Vitamin D: One of the most powerful defenders of your immune system. Because we see the sun less and spend more time indoors it is important to supplement with vitamin D during the colder months.
Cod liver oil: An excellent source of vitamin A which is beneficial for immune health. Cod liver oil can triple up as a source of healthy omegas, vitamin D AND vitamin A! Vitamin A is also fat soluble, which means it requires fats for our body to digest. This makes cod liver oil a great way to ingest vitamin A. Tolerable intake should not exceed 10,000 IU/day of vitamin A!
High quality fish oils not only help to decrease inflammation, improve heart health and supply other nutrients such as vitamin D and A, but they are great for supporting other body organs. Organs such as eye and skin health, which are your body’s first defense to external microbes or toxins.
At Positive Motion Health, we support and sell Nordic Naturals fish oil products. You can also find this brand at Whole Foods. Check out THIS LINK to read more about this reputable brand and how their products are well researched and of the highest quality.
Washing your hands - This seems like common sense, but if infact viruses and bacteria are more prevalent during the winter months than it would make sense to pay better attention to disinfecting your hands, especially while out in public areas.
Eating healthy and foods that do not promote inflammation: A clean and healthy diet would include lots of fruits, veggies, grass-fed meats and natural fats. Avoiding processed oils, sugars, and grains that cause inflammation, and weaken your body's first and most powerful defense system, your GUT!
How to defend when it hits
There are many vitamins, minerals and nutrients that should be on hand for when you feel that first tickle in your throat, sniffle in your nose or uneasiness in your stomach. If you bought each of these individually you would run up a very hefty bill. Instead I recommend going to a reputable store such as Pharmaca or Whole Foods, or your alternative health practitioner and find an immune defense combination supplement.
What to look for:
Zinc (in the forms of zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate), vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid), vitamin E, B vitamins, selenium, and iodine.
Herbs and phytonutrients may also be included in the supplement blend, and these can be excellent aids in immune defense.
Colloidal silver: Before you start thinking I’m going to tell you to chew on your favorite silver necklace to cure your sickness, know that colloidal silver is silver in its ionic form, which is bioactive and not in a solid state. It has been used in various ways mainly for it’s anti-bacterial properties since Hippocrates. There are many different forms it is available in, but the ingestible form is great for immune support. ***Talk to your health care professional if you are taking antibiotics or prescription medications before taking this product.
Click HERE for more specific information on Argentyn colloidal silver, which we carry at Positive Motion.
Allicin: Consider taking this to balance bacterial, fungal and yeast in your gut. It can also be used to fight the common cold and assist the body’s immune response. This is a super-punch of garlic oils.
Uh oh, you didn’t catch the infection in time or you caught something serious? You ended up taking antibiotics? That’s ok! I would recommend taking a probiotic at a high dose from 50-100 billion CFUs for at least 30 days. It is most beneficial to take probiotics at this high does after you have finished the antibiotic course. The antibiotics will just keep killing off the probiotics that you are trying to add back into your system.
Other sources of probiotics, such as kefir yogurt, kombucha, kimchee, etc, are great to ingest while on the antibiotic course. You will still be providing your body with healthy bacteria, but will not be killing off expensive probiotic supplements.
Know that typically when you become sick it is due to a viral infection. When you present with common cold or low grade flu symptoms anti-biotics will not help because they only treat bacterial infections. However, if the infection worsens, and continues for over 10-14 days, then a bacterial infection most likely has ensued as a secondary infection.
Consult your alternative health professional, Dr. Nordin (that’s me!) at POSITIVE MOTION , or supplement shops such as Pharmaca, Vitamin Shoppe, etc for more information on targeting more specific conditions such as a sore throat, upper respiratory conditions (coughing, sneezing, congestion, etc), queazy stomach, or kid safe products. They will be able to direct you towards products more specific to your symptoms, while still keeping you on a homeopathic track.
By: Dr. Vanessa Nordin, CFSV Health/Lifestyle Coach, Chiropractor at Positive Motion Health