Get a Jump on Colds and Flus This Season

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Acupuncture, Blog, Colds and Flus, Diet

Despite the beautiful weather we are having here in northern California cold and flu season is almost upon us.  Patients end up coming in for acupuncture and herbs after they get sick.  While treatment is helpful the idiom “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies.  For your best chance to stay healthy throughout the cold and flu season, taking some precautionary measures will benefit you greatly.  The following are my best suggestions for both prevention and treatment of colds and flu.

Preventing Colds and Flu

  • Eating a nutrient dense diet is extremely important.  Take packaged foods out of your diet.  Avoid inflammatory oils like canola, peanut, or vegetable oil.  Instead use butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.  Cut down on sugar to once or twice per week.  Go moderate on the alcohol intake.

  • Don’t do any extreme cleanses or juice fasts.  Wait for the Spring or Summer do those.  Raw foods can put stress on the digestive system.  Instead think about slow cooked meats, sauteed greens, and soups or stews.  When we warm food up we are effectively pre-digesting our meal.

  • Supplement proactively. Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Probiotics are all very important.  Vitamin D becomes especially necessary in the winter as our exposure to sunlight decreases with the shorter days. I also recommend an herbal formula called yu ping feng san or “Jade Windscreen” in english.  Jade Windscreen contains Astragalus, Schizandra, and other powerful immune tonic and adaptogenic herbs.  Finally, for a super immune kick take bovine Colostrum which is super rich in antibodies.

  • Wash your hands but don’t overuse hand sanitizer.  Washing your hands after you’ve been out in public or before you eat can drastically cut down pathogen transmission.  However, constant use of hand sanitizer kills friendly bacteria on your hands and can create antibiotic resistant super bacteria.

  • Make sure you sleep and sleep and sleep.  Lack of sleep decreases insulin sensitivity and increases inflammation in the body even after a night or two of deprivation.  Take naps.  Dim the lights when you get home at night and stay away from screens an hour before bed.

But I’m already sick.  Now what do I do?

  • Sleep more.

  • Supplement more.  If you’re already sick the Jade Windscreen formula won’t do much good.  Instead switch to Yin Qiao San or Gan Mao Ling.  Both are excellent formulas for colds and flus.  Take more vitamin c and begin supplementing with zinc at first sign of sickness.

  • Drink more water.  Warm water with fresh ginger, lemon and honey is a great way to stay hydrated.  Ginger warms the digestive tract and can prevent stomach upset and nausea.  The lemon adds vitamin c and when combined with the antibacterial effects of honey can help to soothe the throat.  Lot’s of water will help your body deal with the toxic waste from your immune system battling the bad guys.

  • Get some acupuncture.  Acupuncture and especially moxibustion helps to restore homeostasis in the body and stimulates the immune system.

  • Chill out.  If you’re sick take a sick day.  Your colleagues will appreciate you for it.  Get some couch time and catch up on episodes of Homeland.

If you have any cold and flu remedies that you use or have used successfully please let me know in the comments section below.  That way we can all stay a little healthier this season.

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