We all know the familiar prelude to a cold or flu: a sneezing attack; a scratchy throat or feeling like your throat is about to be sore; perhaps an achiness or other ominous hint of an ailment.
If you tackle such infections at the onset, you can often derail them. Below are tips for intercepting sickness. Even better, start with prevention.
Optimize Vitamin D. A journal Epidemiology and Infection makes the case that the flu is no more than a vitamin D deficiency, hence the surge of flu in winter. Vitamin D produces hundreds of antimicrobial proteins that kill bacteria and viruses, keeping our immune systems on task. Low blood levels are associated with not the flu, but many cancers.
Shun sugar. For a full half hour after a sugary snack, your white blood cells’ ability to engulf foreign invaders is cut by half.
Optimize Zinc. In addition to calming an overanxious mind and nourishing your thyroid, adequate zinc keeps immunity strong. Beef, lamb, seafood and especially oysters, are good sources.
Sleep. If you are challenged here, email me for specific sleep strategies or schedule a phone consult. I was once an insomniac, but now sleep deeply.
Homeopathics: Oscillococcinum is a preventive as well as early treatment for cold and flu. Two European double blind placebo-control studies found a significant reduction in severity and duration of flu symptoms with use of this remedy. Influenzinum was reported by French homeopaths to be highly effective as a flu preventive in 90% of cases treated over a 10-year period. (note the flu 2012-2013 vaccine was reported to be 56% effective across all age ranges, and just 9% effective in those over 65 years; the vaccine last year was even less effective).
OK, so now you are getting sick. What to do?
Here are a few homeopathic remedies for winter ailments. With homeopathics, you generally take one dose every 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how bad your symptoms are, up to a maximum of four doses. If nothing happens after four, STOP. More is not better. Stop when you feel at least 50% better. Homeopathics are not like vitamins, you don’t keep taking them. They give your body a push toward balance, so you need to stop after the right push.
Natrum Muraticum (6x or 12x). This cell salt can work if your cold starts with a sneezing attack, especially with clear white mucous, a loss of taste and/or smell, dry cracked lips and you feel weepy yet push away well-intentioned help.
Ferrum Phos (6x or 12x) This cell salt works best if you get colds often. It is effective when used at the very onset, including when there is a tickling or dry, painful cough, with sore chest, hoarseness and you seem to get better at night.
Allium cepa (30C). This homeopathic is also good for colds ushered in with a sneezing fit, especially when there is clear mucous that irritates your nose and upper lip. Your eyes are likely red and burning. A tickle in your throat triggers a dry cough; you feel worse when in a warm room and you are very thirsty.
Gelsemium (30C). This homeopathic is indicated for cold or flu symptoms that come on gradually, over a day or so. There will be achiness, especially around the shoulders, neck and head. If you’re coming down with a cold, your nose is probably runny. Your throat is likely sore and tonsils swollen with some difficulty swallowing. A hallmark feature is feeling tired and dull…. very drowsy.
Drosera (30C). This homeopathic “cough remedy” is indicated when the cough is painful, dry and croupy with a barking or ringing sound to it. You may find yourself holding your chest while coughing to reduce the pain. Lying down makes it much worse as does eating. Your throat may be sore too.
Oscillococcinum and Influenzinum. Take as directed at the very first signs of cold or flu, especially when symptoms are vague and dp not fit any of the above descriptions.
If you want an ally on board, with just the right remedy through the cold and flu season, consider my 2 for 1 special: Two months of email support for Q & A and quick help for averting illness. Email support is ideal for past clients or if you are familiar with my recommendations on diet. Email me to request the special.