As fall and winter approaches, most people find they become more susceptible to falling victim to a bacteria or virus. Though for most it is not life threatening, it does reduce productivity and can throw a monkey wrench into your normal routine.
“The microbe is nothing, terrain is everything”
– Louis Pasteur, the father of germ theory, confessed on his deathbed in 1895.
Other Preventative Measures
There are one trillion organisms that inhabit your body with many of those found in your gut. Good bacteria actually help your immune system fend off bad bacteria and reduce inflammation. Food sources of probiotics include live cultures like kim chi and sauerkraut.
By ending your warm showers with a cold rinse helps move lymph throughout the body to move immune cells efficiently.
- Sambucus (Elderberry) Syrup
This antioxidant packed anti-viral herb has been shown to stop viruses from replicating and boost immune cells to fight off germs. Sambucus is a great herb to take to avoid becoming sick and lessens severity of existing colds/flus.
Too late. You’ve got the cold. Now what to do?
When you first observe symptoms of a cold or flu, it is important to address them early within the first 24 hours. If you let it linger, you allow more time for the bacteria or virus to replicate.
Avoid dairy, alcohol, and sugar
Dairy creates more mucus in your system, which only aggravates the situation. Alcohol weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off offenders. Sugar serves as food for bacteria and helps pathogens replicate.
Salt water gargles for sore throats
For a sore throat, you can add salt to a glass of water. Gargle the salt water in the back of your throat. The salt water serves as an anti-septic and kills bacteria on the surface of your throat.
Homemade cough syrup
Take half an onion and place it in a jar. Cover the onion with honey and let it combo sit for 6 hours. After 6 hours, you can use take a tablespoon three times a day. It sounds gross, but sounds worse than it actually it. Plus, it works magically!
Steam inhalation for congestion
Find eucalyptus nearby or use the essential oil and add it to a steaming pot of water. Cover your head over the steaming water with a large towel and inhale the steam. The eucalyptus has anti-microbial and drying properties to help you breath better. My mom would always convince me to do this by telling me I was getting a facial.
Epsom salt baths for body aches
Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate, which relaxes muscles. It can be used for any kinds of body aches even exercise induced. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm water bathtub, soak, and relax.
Warming sock treatment for high fevers and immune stimulation
A fever is a natural mechanism for your body to kill germs as they cannot survive in higher temperatures, so don’t be so quick to pop a Tylenol. Watch it to ensure it doesn’t go over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.Take a pair of cotton socks and run them through cool water. Wring them out and put them on your feet. Cover your feet with the cool socks with dry wool socks and jump into bed. When you wake up, the cotton socks should be dry and you should feel better. This treatment stimulates lymph movement to move immune cells throughout your body.
If you are not noticing an improvement in your symptoms, OR if you see that they are worsening in 48 hours, it’s time to consult your physician.
Lastly, to feed your belly…studies have actually shown chicken soup to help people overcome their colds. The ingredients reduce inflammation and stimulate release of mucus. With that, here’s a recipe that I keep on-hand all times of the year.
Enjoy and be well,
Mom’s Chicken Soup
2 cleaned whole chicken legs with their skins and bones
1 diced onion
2 diced garlic cloves
1 ½ cups chopped celery
½ cup parsley
½ medium sweet potato
1 cup turnips
1 teaspoon of paprika
Juice from a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, add whole chicken legs, onions, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice and filtered water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the celery and turnips.
- Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, then add the cilantro. Serve with freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Variation: I use yam-based shirataki noodles to make it a chicken noodle soup with no added carbs/sugar. You can add these in towards the very end.