Healthy Living Makes a Difference

Cold Flu Prevention

  • Erika Geisheimer, Blog Coordinator
  • Communications, Good n' Natural Health Food Store

The 2017/18 flu season was a nasty one in Canada. And while cases can vary in severity from a couple of days on the couch to hospitalization (or worse) for high-risk groups such as young children, seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, the flu certainly isn’t a good time for anyone.

Then there’s the other, less-severe, culprit who puts the “cold” in cold and flu season. The common cold is a different beast than the flu, but still comes with a host of unpleasant symptoms that include headache, watery eyes, a runny/stuffy nose, a sore throat and a cough.

We all have a lot on our plates this time of year. And we’re not just talking turkey and cranberry sauce. This festive season can be hectic, and it’s all the more challenging when you’re feeling under the weather. The familiar symptoms of head and body aches, sinus and chest congestion, coughing and sneezing are all indications that a cold or flu virus has significantly multiplied and your body is working to expel it and destroy affected cells. Over-the-counter drugs are effective at suppressing only some of the symptoms, and often have negative side effects. A better option is to choose natural health products that stimulate the immune system to kill the virus before full-blown symptoms develop.

So, what do you do when you’ve got the sniffles or a headache and crawling back into bed really isn’t an option? Here are three handy suggestions for coping with colds during the holidays:

3 Handy Suggestions to Cope with Colds During the Holidays

Drink up. It’s important to stay hydrated when you aren’t feeling well (or any time). But that doesn’t mean you should make a beeline for the spiked eggnog, as excess alcohol will dehydrate you, which can in turn worsen cold symptoms such as congestion. Stick to water, juice, or soothing teas and broths.

Rest up. With so many things to check off your holiday to-do list, hiding under the covers until you feel better might not be possible. But that’s no excuse to run yourself ragged. Learn to pick your battles. To delegate. Try to get to bed at a reasonable time, and take advantage of little moments to relax and replenish whenever you can. You’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life a million times; it’s okay to nod off while you’re watching it this year.

Stock up. Don’t wait until you’re an exhausted, infectious mess to drag yourself out for supplies. Be prepared. Have tissues, soup, vitamin C, a functioning humidifier, painkillers and a few of your favourite comfort foods on standby just in case you need them. If you choose to get the flu shot, do it now. Nobody wants to be sick during the holiday season, but if you do get the gift of a holiday cold, it doesn’t have to ruin the festivities. Be prepared, be kind to your body, and give yourself a break (and maybe an extra piece of fudge). Oh, and wash your hands, we’ll get through this!

Another tip is to CLEAR CONGESTION

If pathogens make it beyond the nasal passages (and many do), help the body clear the lungs and bronchial passageways by using an expectorant like honey thyme tea. Coughing and sneezing is your body’s way of forcefully expelling the invaders (just try not to expel them onto the people you love).

As your body begins fighting bacteria and viruses, excess mucus forms. This shows that white blood cells are stepping up into action! First, the mucus will be runny and clear. As the illness progresses, mucus can turn yellow and then green (infection). White blood cells cause this change in color as they flood into an area, fight the invaders, die, and pile-up in the process. Assist your body in clearing out the carnage by using a Neti Pot.

Neti Pot: 1/2 tsp sea salt to 1 cup boiled water. Let the boiled water cool to luke warm and then flush your sinuses 1 to 2 times daily. Follow the instructions and pour the warm salt water into your nose and out through your mouth.

You can also expectorate phlegm by using steam. Pour boiling water into a bowl, and add 1 drop of tea-tree, peppermint, pine, rosemary, or eucalyptus oil. Hang your head over the bowl, cover with a towel, and breathe deeply. Have tissues on hand and expect to expectorate!