Winter is best known as “cold and flu” season. The stress of the holidays, along with the negative affects of the cold weather weakens our immune system, leading us susceptible to “catching” viruses. The first sign of getting sick is a persistent cough or sore throat, usually for 2-3 days. If it is a cold, then you will see a runny nose, headache, and fatigue. If the mucous is green, then it may be a bacterial infection which needs to be checked out by a healthcare practitioner. If it is a flu, then you will see muscle soreness and a fever. Fevers are meant to be encouraged in order to help the infection. If a fever is greater than 102°F then it needs to be treated.
Our immune system can be weakened by the following: physical stress, environmental stress, autoimmune disease, adrenal dysfunction, hypothyroidism, poor sleep, poor circulation, poor metabolism, and nutritional deficiencies (such as low iron or low vitamin B12).
Here are some General Tips for strengthening your immune system:
- Get adequate sleep (6-8hr for adults, 10hr for children under 12yo)
- Hand washing (with soap and water for 1-2 minutes)
- Eat your veggies since they are high in vitamins and nutrients
- Exercise (at least 30 minutes a day) to improve circulation and metabolism
- Drink water (2-4L a day) to help the immune system eliminate.
- Important nutrients – vitamins A/C/D and E, selenium and zinc
- Immune boosting herbs – Echinacea, garlic, onions, ginseng, licorice, elderberry, and reishi.
Additional Tips for Children:
- Food sensitivities may depress a child’s natural immune system. Play close attention to the food that your child eats and if there are any digestive or skin issues (indicative of food sensitivities).
- Children (especially infants) do not tolerate stress physiological well hence they are highly affected by negative stress or environmental changes.
Below are some quick easy naturally tips to help with fighting off cold and flus:
- Echinacea is a wonderful herb to help fight infections. It is safe for children and can be taken in tea or capsule form.
- Steam inhalation of eucalyptus helps clear sinus congestion
- Culinary herbs (oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary) and garlic are natural antimicrobials.
- Onion poultice for ear infection (cut an onion in half, boil it for 10 minutes, cover with cloth, hold next to ear).
- Warming socks (soak thin cotton socks in cold water, wring out, put on feet, put thick wool socks on over) to help reduce fever.
Stay happy and healthy this winter season!!!!