Avoid Colds and the Flu, Naturally

Well, cold and flu have hit hard this year! Hopefully you’ve been taking great care of yourself and are feeling great! Prevention is always the best remedy.

If you’ve been wondering what you can do to stay healthy when people all around you are sick, here are some natural ways to keep your immune system strong, and some tips for what to do if you start to feel a bug coming on!

How to keep your immune system strong!

  • Get enough sleep!
    • I know, it’s pretty boring, but 8+ hours of sleep each night is a must for a strong, healthy immune system.
  • Hydrate!
    • Drink water or hot tea w/ honey throughout the day to keep well hydrated. When your mucus membranes are dried out, it makes a prime breeding ground for those viruses and bacteria
  • Daily Nasal Rinses
    • This is advice I give to people all year long (and most likely to get a groan.)
    • Nasal rinses, either with a neti pot or a NeilMed bottle, with warm salt water, are helpful for several reasons.
    • At least once a day, preferably twice a day, do a nasal rinse to
      • keep your nose, throat and sinuses clear of congestion
      • keep those membranes moist and healthy
      • reduce inflammation in the nasal passages
      • physically rinse away germs and allergens
  • Cut way back on sugar
    • We all love a little sugar, but here’s some good reasons to limit your intake, especially in flu season
    • sugar creates Phlegm and congestion, according to Chinese Medicine
    • sugar weakens the Immune System
    • sugar increases systemic inflammation, which isn’t good for anything!
  • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D is essential for immune health, and most of us are low in it, especially in the winter months.
    • Take 5,000 IU daily, and make sure your supplement also has vitamin K2. We carry a great version of this. Let us know if you need some!
  • Daily exercise
    • Daily exercise strengthens your immune system.
    • It doesn’t have to be a lot every day.
      • Even 10 minutes of movement helps to keep your lymphatic system moving.
      • Sweating is an important way for your body to expel pathogens.
  • Herbs
    • We have several different Chinese herbal formulas that are excellent at keeping you healthy in cold and flu season. Depending on what’s going on with you, we can prescribe herbs to
    • boost your immune system
    • fight off bugs you’ve been exposed to
  • Regular acupuncture and massage
    • Acupuncture is excellent at boosting your immune system.
    • Acupuncture can also treat your chronic congestion, coughs, sinus issues, and more, making it easier for your body to fight off germs.
    • Massage has also been shown to improve the immune response
  • Manage your stress
    • Studies have shown that stress takes a huge toll on your immune system. Finding ways to manage your stress is important for your overall health.
    • Manage your stress with
      • daily exercise
      • daily meditation or prayer
      • keep it in perspective —don’t sweat the small stuff
      • get regular acupuncture, craniosacral therapy and massage
  • Wear scarves!
    • Keeping your neck and chest warm and protected from the wind does wonders for your health in the winter. And if you feel congested in your chest, it’s especially important to keep it warm and covered.

What to do if you feel a bug coming on

  • Start taking Cold Nip!
    • At the first signs of a bug, start taking Cold Nip every 4 hours.
      • It has strong antiviral herbs, along with 3 classic Chinese formulas that are extremely effective at treating early-stage colds.
      • The sooner you start taking it, the better.
        • The maker of Cold Nip, Six Persimmons Apothecary, has done research showing that it’s 80% effective in nipping a cold in the bud when started right away. Keep this stuff on hand! Let us know if you need some. We always keep it in stock!
  • Hot tea with honey
    • Lots of fluids are really important, and warm fluids are best.
    • Add some honey to your tea to help soothe your throat and chest, and keep your nasal passages from drying out.
    • If you have cough, add some lemon ( or even a bit of whiskey to make a hot toddy for a deep cough.)
  • Sweat!
    • In Chinese Medicine, the first thing we do for early stage colds is try to get you to sweat. The herbs and acupuncture points help your body to push the pathogen out through sweating. So take your Cold Nip, drink your hot tea, bundle up and…..
  • Get to bed early
    • Again, sleep is imperative to help your immune system.
    • If your feel a bug starting, aim to get at least 9 hours of sleep, and as many naps as you can.
      • And I mean actual sleep, not lying in bed with Netflix.
  • If it’s flu, take Oscillococcinum homeopathic or call for an herbal consult with us.
    • Don’t mess around if it’s the flu. If you haven’t had the flu (influenza) in awhile, you may have forgotten how bad it can be. And for some, it can be dangerous. So take extra care, and stay away from people as much as possible, because influenza is very contagious.

You already know a lot of this. But we all need some reminding sometimes. We get caught up in the daily grind and think we’re doing ok, until it hits us.

As always, if it starts to seem serious, and especially if you’re having trouble breathing, go to your medical doctor right away!

In the meantime, stock up on herbs like Cold Nip, and let us know if you have any questions!

Jennie Luther, L.Ac
Acupuncturist Centennial
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness, LLC
Phone: 720-507-1705
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