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Dr. Rick's Health Seasonal Tip

Winter

10 Tips for Avoiding Colds, Seasonal Flu, and H1N1 Swine Flu

By Rick Allen, DC

cold/flu graphic

Why do we get sick?

With the colder weather, we spend more time indoors with forced air heat. This dry heat dries out the mucous membranes lining the respiratory tract, nose, mouth and beyond into the lungs. We tend to increase our intake of rich dairy and egg based foods over the holidays, which promote the overproduction of mucous in the respiratory tract. Excess mucus traps and supports the growth of bacteria and viruses. Our fast-paced lifestyles, even more hectic over the holidays, are not at all conducive to strong immune function.

What we can do:

  1. At the first sign of illness, slow down immediately and rest to prevent the illness from taking hold. It is better to stop activity in the short term rather than having your activity stop you.

  2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get 8 hours of sleep, relax often, eat moderately, drink plenty of pure water and decrease consumption of alcohol, coffee, and sugar. (Sugar almost immediately decreases immune function).

  3. Viruses are often passed by touch. Wash your hands frequently and avoid shaking hands with those who are already sick.

  4. Eat very lightly at first sign of feeling badly in a non-specific way--it is especially useful to cut back to only fruits and vegetables. Follow your body's inclination. If you are hungry, eat more and if not, eat less.

  5. Make choices that promote strong immune function. A few examples include: switching from coffee to tea consumption which has antibacterial and antiviral action; eating garlic liberally, for its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal activity; and adding yogurt to your diet as it sets up a beneficial situation in the colon, helping to strengthen this underpinning of good health.

  6. Take Echinacea, potentially mixed with Goldenseal, as a tincture or in capsule form, at the first sign you are starting to come down with a cold. Continue taking these until all signs of illness have gone. Should you succumb, continue the tincture throughout out the course of the illness, to shorten its length and decrease its severity.

  7. Useful early homeopathic prevention includes the use of Oscillococcinum or other potentised flu products or Ferrum phos cell salt for early stages of feverish conditions. As with Echinacea products, these homeopathic medicines can stop an illness in the early stages.

  8. As a prevention measure, take a good high potency multivitamin-mineral from a health food store, naturopathic physician or other natural health practitioner, daily, with at least 1000 mg. vitamin C, 5,000 IU vitamin A, 20,000 IU beta carotene, 400 IU vitamin E, 15 mg. zinc and 25+ mg. of the B vitamins.

  9. Use a humidifier in your bedroom overnight to moisten the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract.

  10. Take a long, hot bath with a teaspoon of added Eucalyptus or Thyme oil (unless you are taking homeopathic medicines). Towel-dry and then pop into bed for a deep rest.

Source: Ellen Potthoff, D.C., N.D., Alternative Medicine Newsletter HealthMall.com

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