While seasonal cold and flu viruses are detected year-round in the United States, common cold and flu viruses typically increase during the fall and winter during what society calls ‘flu season’. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons varies, but what is most important is to recognize that there is no such thing as flu season; but rather the stress season that plummets your immune system and nervous system health, and lets the viruses in!
Nevertheless, symptoms of sickness are never fun, even though they are normal and important pieces of your immune response. So how do you increase your chances of not getting sick, and what can you do to help your body heal naturally and quickly?
Symptoms of the common cold, which usually appear one to three days after being exposed to a cold virus include a runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, sneezing, watery eyes, mild headache, mild fatigue, body aches, and fever less than 102 degrees. These symptoms are your bodies own natural healing mechanisms, your bodies medicine:
Mucus helps to move and get rid of dead bacteria and viruses.
Coughing helps move the infection out of your lungs, up your airway, and out of your mouth
Sneezing clears the airways of harmful irritants and allergy-causing substances.
Fever is your body heating up to kill off the infection (the same way you heat food or water to kill off bacteria). In other words, taking cold medicines and other suppressive formulas inhibits your body’s defense mechanisms so that it can’t fight back and might even prolong your cold or flu.
Consider fevers — While some experts believe a fever should be suppressed with medications, others argue running a fever is a protective response that should be allowed to run its course most of the time. Several recent randomized controlled trials support this idea, sometimes called the “let it ride” philosophy.
In other words, when you let a safe (emphasis on safe) fever run its course rather than take fever-reducing drugs or, you actually support the body’s defense mechanisms. You can use wraps or baths that cool the body to help naturally lower your fever.
10 Ways to Naturally Eliminate or Minimize Cold and Flu Symptoms
When it comes to the flu or common cold, prevention is the best medicine. There’s a more natural, effective approach than medications. Whether you want to avoid whatever bug is going around your office or minimize the impact of a cold or the flu, these 10 strategies can optimize your body’s natural immune defenses.
- Visit your Chiropractor.
A healthy immune system requires a healthy central nervous system. Ensuring that your spine is free of subluxations, which interfere with the normal function of your nervous system, gives your body access to properly support a healthy immune response and minimize your risk for viruses.
- Eliminate immune-sabotaging foods.
There’s no debate — excess sugar is bad for your immune system, ramping up inflammation and increasing your risk for diseases including type 2 diabetes. Sugar and other food sensitivities like gluten can lurk in obvious and not-so-obvious places like almond milk.
- Find your ideal weight to lower inflammation.
Weight and inflammation go hand in hand. If you are overweight, you can guarantee your body has excess inflammation that you need to shut off. Working towards reducing your weight will naturally eliminate the inflammation as well.
- Sleep well.
Optimal sleep levels support a healthy immune system, while sleep deprivation can compromise immunity. Aim for seven or eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep to minimize the common cold or flu. If you’re sick, additional sleep can strengthen your immune system. You can also use a melatonin supplement to help regulate your sleeping habits, although it is important to not become dependent on melatonin.
- Exercise consistently.
Regular exercise can support a healthy immune system. Make move more your mantra to support immune health and find strategies for quick, effective workouts. If you’re not feeling well, you should probably go easy on exercise, although light walking in fresh air could help you feel better.
- Take Epsom salt baths.
A hot bath soothes achy muscles and other symptoms of cold and the flu. Add a cup of Epsom salt to your bath. Epsom salt is an excellent form of magnesium, which has a strong impact on the immune system. Many of us are deficient in this mineral. One review found that 75 percent of women consumed less than the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for magnesium.
- Minimize stress levels.
One meta-analysis of over 300 studies spanning three decades concluded that stress can impact your immune system. You can’t eliminate stress, but you can create ways to reduce its impact. Find your stress reducer activity and incorporate it regularly, whether that means yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or just watching a funny movie with your best friend.
- Optimize your antioxidant defense.
Glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant, can fine-tune your immune response to infections including the common cold. Glutathione can also recycle other antioxidants including vitamins C and E. Our NAC supplement contains N-acetyl-L-Cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that also helps build glutathione.
- Get adjusted!
I know I said visit your chiropractor already but this bears repeating. Adjustments have been shown to boost white blood cell counts and going back to number 7, even though you cannot stop the stress in your life, you can change how your body manages the stress with a properly aligned nervous system.
- Utilize the right nutrients.
Certain nutrients can optimize immunity, including:
Vitamin D3: This vitamin — actually a hormone — can modulate the immune response, and deficiencies can increase your risk for infections.
Zinc: Studies show this mineral can reduce the number of colds in children, and researchers see no reason why it cannot also work with adults.
Lauricidin: Supporting the immune system begins with the gut. This supplement has been shown to provide powerful antimicrobial support, killing viruses and bacteria in the body.
Feeling the symptoms of a cold or flu can make your day miserable. Instead of relying on over-the-counter medications, trust your body’s natural ability to heal. Those cold and flu symptoms are actually good for you — they mean your immune system is fighting off the infection. Remember: Your body doesn’t need any help to heal itself, it just needs no interference.