Cold & Flu Prevention This Fall

Fall is a gorgeous time of year filled of changing colors, crisp air, sweaters and pumpkin everything. However, as the air turns cooler and kids go back to school, we remain in close quarters surrounded by our colleagues or classmates, thus allowing bacteria and virus to spread like wild fire. Inevitably, you have already been around someone who is sniffling, sneezing or coughing. Perhaps you have already awoken one morning with a scratchy throat or with limited energy to get through the day.

There is a multitude of natural supplements that we can use to prevent colds and flus and to shorten the duration. The first onset of cold/flu is a crucial time to attack. This is when we can prevent the illness from getting worse or perhaps not coming on at all. Vitamin D and Vitamin C consumed in high doses for a short term help to strengthen the immune system. Echinacea is a great herb that is anti-viral and boosts the immune system. Elderberry is also a great anti-viral herb that is safe for children.

Meet with your doctor to be set up with an individualized acute cold/flu protocol. Working alongside a doctor to strengthen your immune system can make your body resilient and prevent a cold/flu from even emerging. Acupuncture is also a great way to strengthen the system.  

A note about fevers:

Fevers often accompany the flu. Please note that fevers are a physiological reaction of the body to help clear the bacteria or virus. Our goal is to harness and support the fever to recover quickly. Try to avoid the use of fever reducing medicines such as NSAIDs, Tylenol, etc unless absolutely necessary. These halt the healing cascade and often make the illness last longer.

Instead, reach for methods such as herbs, homeopathy and hydrotherapy to make the fever manageable while speeding recovery time. The biggest risk of fever is dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids – water and/or herbal teas. Also, note that our appetite is reduced when we are feeling ill. This is a normal physiologic response to prevent ourselves from feeding the fever. Our body requires a lot of energy to digest foods. When we are sick our body needs to focus its energy on fighting the bacteria or virus; and therefore, does not have the energy to break down foods. With a fever stick to water and herbal teas, as the fever begins to break you can introduce soups and broths as tolerated, slowly transitioning back to a regular solid food diet.

Give us a call to discuss how you can strengthen your immune system as you work with a naturopath or acupuncturist, or to get individualized advice if symptoms have already began to appear.

Stay healthy this fall!

Melanie Brown