Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds & Flu

August 31, 2015

Feature_Flu

There are about 1 billion colds in the US every year, with every child catching it 6-10 times a year, resulting in 22 million school days being lost every year!

When it comes to cold and flu season, prevention really is the first line of defense. To keep your body’s defense system–the immune system–in peak condition, follow our immunity-boosting tips to help your body fight off the bugs looking for a host. And, for times when you are feeling ill, the second set of tips can help ease your symptoms and support a quick recovery.

Cold & Flu Prevention Tips

Your immune system is at work 24/7! The best approach to supporting immune function is a healthy lifestyle that includes stress management, exercise, whole foods, nutritional supplementation, and the use of plant-based medicines. On a daily basis, you can take the following steps to help your immune system keep you healthy:

  • Wash your hands regularly to help prevent transfer of bacteria.
  • Stay clear of people sneezing or coughing. Avoid shaking hands or other close contact with anyone whom you know to be sick.
  • Make sure your home and work space are well-ventilated. Even on a cold day, open a window for a few minutes to clear out stale air.
  • Follow a consistent sleep/wake schedule so the immune system can repair and recover.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of organic (when possible) fruits and veggies, which contain antioxidants that help the body neutralize cellular damage.
    Healing Tips
  • Rest. Sometimes the body’s only way of getting your attention is to force you to slow down by getting sick. Don’t push through fatigue. Honor your body and sleep/rest as needed to promote healing. Reduce activity at home and at work as much as possible.
  • Increase fluid intake to include water, diluted vegetable juices, soups, and herbal and green teas.
  • Eat light meals and eat more soup. Whether you choose a vegetarian broth or a heartier bone-broth, soups for healing should be loaded with a variety of herbs and veggies.
  • Manage stress. Even just 10 minutes of meditation a day has positive effects on the immune system and promotes a positive mindset.
  • Laugh–it truly is good medicine. Patch Adams was onto something when he brought humor to his patients’ bedsides. Read a funny book. Watch stand-up comedy. Share jokes with a friend or your kids. Laughter lowers the stress hormones and elevates your mood–both are good for healing.

Vitamin, Mineral, and Botanical Support for the Immune System

There’s no panacea, but a growing body of research has shown that certain vitamins, minerals, and plant-based supplements can help prevent/curtail the symptoms of colds and flu. Some that you may want to include are listed below.

These are best tailored to your specific needs and health status, with guidance from your doctor.

  • Multivitamin and mineral formula
  • Vitamin C
  • Bioflavonoids, 1000 mg/day
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D, 2000 IU/day
  • Zinc, 30 mg/day
  • Echinacea, elderberry, and astragalus (tea, capsule, or liquid extract) help prevent common cold and viral infections. Physicians and scientists continue to study the immune-enhancing effects of these and other botanical remedies.

Food for Thought. . .
“He who cures a disease may be the skillfullest, but he that prevents it is the safest physician.”
– Thomas Fuller

In health,

Dr. Gina

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New Information on the Treatment of Ear Infections

June 30, 2010

A research review reported in the November 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 2010;304:2161-2169) revealed that there is little consensus among doctors on how to diagnose and treat ear infections in children. Acute Otitis Media (a highly prevalent type of ear infection) is the most common condition for which antibiotics are prescribed for US children. However, there is NO data available on the long term effects of antibiotic therapy in children!  Further, there is  a popular vaccine used, called PCV7, and the research shows that while it somewhat reduces the prevalence of one type of bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, it INCREASES the prevalence of a major Flu virus, Haemophilus influenzae. Two of the most common causes of childhood ear infections that we diagnose and treat at our medical practice are food allergies and low levels of nutrients that are essential for healthy immune function.  A blood test done and interpreted correctly will reveal immediate and delayed food allergies and nutrient deficiencies related to immune function.  If you or your child have a history of long term antibiotic use, it also becomes critical to supplement with a high quality probiotic, at one to two capsules per day. In conversation with a wise woman in the desert last week, we contemplated the value of common sense in the practice of medicine.  It makes sense that diet and nutrition play an important role in how well a child’s immune system will function.   If you start there, the need for antibiotic therapy diminishes. In health, -Dr. G


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