There are many natural options available to help deal with cold and flu symptoms. I’ll get you started with a few of my favourites:
Sleep: If you’re feeling under the weather, do us all a favour, take the day off and SLEEP. Not only does no one want to hear you cough, but they don’t want to catch your germs either! Spending the day resting lets your immune system work in full force. The less energy you’re spending on forcing your body to continue your regular activities, the more energy it has to fight that cold.
There is substantial research on Zinc lozenges and their use in the treatment of the common cold. Studies suggest beginning at the onset of the cold taking a zinc lozenge every couple of hours can significantly reduce the duration of a cold. Don’t worry about over doing it, high doses of zinc lozenges while having a cold was proven to be the most effective!
Probiotics and Vitamin C:
Research shows probiotics reduce cough and cold symptoms by 30%, meaning less days ill, and less days off school, work and daycare. Even better is that taking both probiotics and vitamin C while sick showed a 51% decrease in upper respiratory tract symptoms including sneezing, sore throat, cough, runny/blocked nose. Pretty great results, for simple interventions if you ask me!
Now people have told me I’m crazy for this next one, but I swear, IT WORKS! Do you ever dread going to sleep at night when your sick because you know waking up in the morning you’ll feel like garbage? Well, THIS is your solution! Warming socks work wonders. By putting cold, wet, socks on before bed, your body’s natural response is to increase circulation to warm up your feet. This increase in circulation not only causes your feet to become warm within minutes, but also helps the healing elements of your immune system travel to areas to fight infection more quickly than they normally would while sleeping. Now, I’m not saying you’ll wake up the next day feeling good as gold, but you’ll definitely feel better than you would, if you didn’t do this. Before you knock the idea, give it a try for 3 nights in a row. I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
What you need:1 pair of cotton socks, 1 pair of thick wool socks, access to water.
1. Make sure you’re complete ready for bed, once your socks are on you want to go to sleep right away!
2. Take the cotton socks, and soak them in cold water. Wring them out thoroughly so they are not dripping.
3. Ensure your feet are warm. If they are not, soak them in warm water for a few minutes.
4. Place the cold wet socks on your feet. Immediately put the dry wool socks over top.
5. Bundle up and go to sleep, your socks will feel warm any second, and by the time you wake up they’ll be dry.
6. Repeat this process for a minimum of 3 nights in a row.
Another one of my favourites that some people have a hard time wrapping their head around is the Neti pot. Being congested, with a stuffy nose and that awful pressure you feel in your head and face is so dreadful. Neti pots work wonders on clearing mucus out of your nasal cavity, relieving the pressure and making it easier to breath. Some people find the results so amazing they use their Neti pot every day to help with allergies, sinus problems and general clearing of their nostrils.
How it works
You fill your Neti pot with lukewarm water in a salt water solution. The purpose of the salt is to reach the bodies ideal saline solution so it doesn't give you that typical water up your nose feeling we all know way to well from swimming. You tilt your head forward, and to one side, pour the solution up one nostril and watch as the water and mucus come pouring out the other side as your nasal passages become clear. Depending how congested you are, you may choose use half of the solution in one nostril than switch to the other side OR use the full solution on one side and make another one for the other side. Be sure to tilt your head and chin forward as to avoid the water going down the back of your throat. The first few time you try to use a Neti pot, it may seem a little weird, but once you get the hang of it, you'll become addicted! For further instruction on how to use the Neti pot, check out the youtube link posted below.
Sleep, Zinc, Probiotics, Vitamin C, Warming socks, and the Neti pot should get you well on your way to feeling better! There are however several things NDs can prescribe to further aid in fighting off infections. If you’d like more support battling your cold, or find yourself constantly getting sick, click here to book an appointment. Let's get you on route to feeling good as new!
Hemilä, H., Petrus, E., Fitzgerald, J., & Prasad, A. (2017). Zinc acetate lozenges for treating the common cold: an individual patient data meta-analysis. Retrieved 4 January 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27378206
King, S., Glanville, J., Sanders, M., Fitzgerald, A., & Varley, D. (2017). Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved 4 January 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4054664/