An acute illness is a signal telling you to pay attention. Perhaps you need to slow down, rest more and examine your priorities. A cold or flu once a year may also be your body’s way of exercising your immune system. Flu shots do not tend to make people healthier over the long run.
It has become routine to avoid acute illness through whatever means available. But at what cost? At the same time, we have seen a marked increase in suffering from chronic diseases, many of which reflect weaknesses of our immune system. Instead of flu shots, most of us are better off if we let our immune systems go through the more normal course of being exposed to the illness and fighting it off. When the immune system has a healthy work out it ends up stronger as a result.
You can minimize your susceptibility to cold and flu illnesses by:
- Including tonic herbs like fresh garlic and ginger in your diet.
- Exercising moderately on a regular basis to keep your circulation at its peak.
- Staying rested and practicing stress reduction techniques such as Yoga and meditation.
- Washing your hands frequently and trying to avoid touching your face especially during flu season.
- Taking Echinacea tincture (one dropperful) once a week through out the cold and flu season as an immune system booster.
When you first begin to feel sick, take Vitamin C — 500 mg two to ten times a day (reduce if diarrhea occurs). Increase your use of Echinacea tincture to three times a day. Eat lightly — broth soups, vegetable juices and water may be enough.
Old-fashioned hydrotherapy can provide a pleasurable boost to the body. Keeping your body warm is important for healthy circulation and a strong immune system. Fill a dish pan with warm to hot water. Sit down and make yourself comfortable. Soak your feet and ankles for five minutes. Then place them under cold running water for twenty seconds and return them to the warm water — adding more hot water as needed. Repeat this process for at least twenty minutes. Finish with the cold. Dry your feet and put on warm, thick socks. Afterwards lie down and rest for twenty minutes.
When your throat is sore, gargling is an effective way to sooth the irritation. Choose a quarter teaspoon of salt or a quarter teaspoon of Tabasco (cayenne in vinegar) or a dropperful of Echinacea. Place in a cup of very warm water. Gargle a little at a time, using the whole cup. You can swallow the Echinacea water after gargling.
Zinc lozenges can be very helpful for a sore throat – suck on them slowly for the maxium effect.
Call Dr. Breiten if your cold or flu has gone on for more than a week or if you are becoming very weak, dehydrated or it is moving into other systems such as the lungs or urinary tract. She can prescribe more aggresssive therapy to help your body heal.