Cold and Flu Natural Approach

Colds and Flu Natural Approach

Many of my patients are asking my opinion on flu vaccination and prevention. I would like to present a little more information to balance the media’s hype that tends to provoke fear and anxiety.

In an interview with the Cape Coral Daily Breeze, Dr. Erika Schwartz, medical director of Cinergy Health in Miami reminds us that, “More people died from the side effects of the vaccine [in 1976] than the swine flu. If we don’t pay attention to history, then we are bound to repeat it.” She goes on to say that while each year approximately 36,000 people die from influenza, there have only been 555 deaths in the United States from swine flu. She also emphasizes prevention over vaccination, pointing out that even after getting the shot it is still possible to get sick.

At this point, the swine flu vaccinations are still in the trial stage and their efficacy has not yet been determined. In 1976, the swine flu vaccine actually killed more people than it helped and despite this there are recommendations for even children to be vaccinated.

Vaccinations carry risks and I advise people to research those risks to make an informed decision about whether or not to participate in vaccinations. I will support whatever decision my patients make about vaccinations but feel it is my responsibility to provide information that presents the risks of vaccinations such as flu like symptoms, neurological damage, autoimmune diseases, and possible contamination from metals, chemicals, and other viruses.

References:

CDC downplays estimates on flu deaths, infections
How dangerous is the swine flu?
Flu Vaccine
Should you get the flu shot?
Swine flu ‘debacle’ of 1976 recalled
The last great swine flu epidemic
Swine Flu 1976 & Propaganda

Natural Protection

Susceptibility to colds and flu are in direct relationship to the strength of our immune system and internal hygiene. Viruses and bacteria will not thrive or take hold if our internal hygiene is balanced and healthy. For example, diets that are too high in refined carbohydrates, chemicals like pesticides or preservatives, and heavy metals can create too much acidity. Diets too low in enzymes can create environments too alkaline. Stress can weaken our adrenal system impairing our immune anti-inflammatory response.

Each system of the body is intricately connected with the health of the whole organism so when we discuss mechanisms and systems it is very complicated to break them down in isolation. Each of these recommendations has benefits to more than one system in the body but in combination they support that balance and homeostasis that supports health and optimal resistance to infection and disease.

1. Get enough sleep. Your immune system functions much better when you get enough sleep. Most people need about 8 hours per night for optimal health. If your body is tired your immune system cannot mount an adequate immune reaction such as the production of antibodies and numerous immune cells and anti-inflammatory molecules.

2. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep your immune system strong. Exercise increases respiration and higher oxygen content in the body deters the proliferation of bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells and boosts the production of macrophages that attack viruses and bacteria as well as increasing circulation to move white blood cells to where they are most needed.

3. Avoid sugar. Even small amounts of sugar can significantly impair your immune function, making you more susceptible to a flu infection. Sugar molecules look similar to vitamin C and compete with the vitamin C needed in macrophage cells that gobble up viruses and bacteria. Think of it this way: when you eat sugar think of your immune system slowing down to a crawl.

4. Drink lots of pure water. Keeping your mucous membranes well-hydrated helps optimize the mucous membranes of the mouth, ears, and nose. This is your first line of defense where immune cells reside to capture and prevent further entry into the body.

5. Wash your hands often.

6. Eat Vegetables. Vegetables contain huge amounts of the array of nutrients the body needs for health. The nutrients to metabolize energy, support detoxification by the liver, and to support a strong adrenal or stress response are loaded in fresh foods. Chicken soup made with fresh vegetables works for a reason!

Each person’s symptoms reflect systems of the body that are usually deficient. Even toxicity is a limitation in the body to maintain optimal balance. Digestion, liver support, adrenal support, and immune support cannot really be separated as their influence on one another is so complex and interrelated. Your best protection comes as we treat the body as a whole and work together to bring the body into optimal balance and health.

Naturopathic Treatments for Cold and Flu Symptoms

The best treatment for colds and flu is prevention! Here are some tips to help you stay healthy this winter:

Eat your vegetables and fruits strengthen your immune system.
Avoid sugar which weakens the immune system.
Avoid dairy which causes an overproduction of mucous and may aggravate the immune system.
Don’t over heat your home as dry air dries out mucous membranes. (Mucous membranes are loaded with enzymes, immune cells, and lymph glands designed to catch viruses/bacteria and are our first line of defense against infection!)
Keep rooms a moderate temperature and consider using a humidifier to keep air moist.
A HEPA filter in bedrooms is a great way to minimize dust and toxins, thereby reducing the burden to your immune system.
Wash hands frequently and avoid putting fingers in mouth, eyes, nose, and ears.
Drink plenty of fluids, get enough rest, and exercise to balance stress.

If you do happen to catch a cold or come down with the flu, consider the use of vitamins, herbs, and homeopathics. They are best used at the onset and can help lessen their severity and prevent secondary infections. Unlike antibiotics, which are not effective against viruses and work by preventing the replication of bacteria through one or two mechanisms, herbal products work by many mechanisms. For example, they may directly kill bacteria, stimulate white blood cells, stimulate circulation, or prove vitamins and minerals that nourish glands involved in the anti-inflammatory response. The more ways an herbal product works, the less likely resistance can develop! Homeopathics work as an energetic catalyst to stimulate the body to overcome symptoms. They can be extremely effective and have no side effects and are usually taken as small pellets under the tongue.

I often recommend the herbal/vitamin combinations Bio Vegetarian and Super Bio Vegetarian from Priority One in big doses the first day or two to beat a cold. A homeopathic remedy I recommended for the flu is Oscillococcinum which can be used safely alone or with other medications. Homeopathics are very safe for children.

Call at the first sign of a cold or flu or for a recommendation specific to you about what products to keep on hand.

Stay well and enjoy the season!

Please contact me if you would like to discuss products to have on hand to enhance immunity and for cold and flu prevention including Standard Process whole food supplements, homeopathic remedies and herbal medicines. I also love to hear about your progress so feel free to email me if you run out of product or if you need a change in your treatment plan. Often such changes can be made without an office visit. Your feedback is needed to keep you in good health and on a progressive program. We are changing health care one person at a time as we take responsibility for educating ourselves about good health. Education empowers us to make the right choices. It’s a process so stay open, keep learning, and congratulations on the changes you’ve already made!

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