Sneeze season survival guide

It is that time of the year again. Back to school season in my brain coincides with flu season and flu shots. I see all my friends stocking up on cold and flu medication. For years I was always sick the entire winter. I would always catch a cold and lose my voice as soon as someone around me was sick. I was in second year of Naturopathic Medicine when I decided to see how would boosting my immune system help, and let me tell you that I only got sick once past few years.

The main purpose of this blog post is for you to remember, “It is not the germ, it is your body”. If you have a strong immune system, germs cannot survive and make you sick. Therefore, your first step is to eat your fruits and vegetables and sleep well.

Let me start with prevention tips that are a must starting October until March especially in Canada:

• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water several times a day (I tell my patients washing your hand should take 15-25 seconds).
• Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth before washing your hands because your hands are contaminated with germs
• Always sneeze/cough into a tissue or your sleeve/elbow and cover your nose and mouth
• Clean all surfaces around you, computer key boards, etc. with a wipe and alcohol based cleanser
• Exercise 20-30 minutes a day. (But wait! What if you are already sick? If you have fever, chills and/or fatigue stay home. Otherwise, go ahead and exercise like a regular day.)
• Remember that copper surfaces have anti-microbial properties so they are good investments.
• And my favorite topic: COLD –FX. I am personally not a big fan of any proprietary blend because I don’t know how much of what is in the blend. However, I have a friend who is absolutely in love with it. Remember that ingredients like Echinacea, Astragalus, licorice and zinc are some of the natural remedies that can possibly prevent you from getting sick. The bottom line is to always talk with a health care professional because natural does not mean safe. Remember that there might be interactions with your medication.

The problem is life doesn’t always go as we plan it. Even the healthiest people end up getting sick some time.
What if you get sick? You need to help your immune system fight back. So:

• Take a healthy dose of vitamin C. Lemon is my favourite because it detoxifies and alkalinizes the body and it has high dose of vitamin C.
• Next on my list is raw honey because heat did not destroy minerals, vitamins and enzymes in it. My favourite would be 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey as soon as you feel sick because of high concentration of natural antibiotics in it.
• Cayenne pepper as it has a warming effect and it would help you break down the congestion, control the fever, sweat and decrease pain.
• Ginger is another good anti-viral remedy.
• Garlic has anti-microbial properties and it is very useful for fighting germs.
• Panax ginseng prevents acute respiratory illness- this is your Cold-Fx
• Siberian ginseng (eleuthro) is a great immune boosting herb

I am sure some of you wonder as Naturopathic Doctor what do I do when I am sick:
I start the day with my famous chicken soup (chicken broth, chicken with bone, onion, parsnip, turnip, celery, carrot, yam and parsley)

The entire day I sip on a tea made of 2 tablespoon of freshly shredded ginger, 1 tablespoon of manuka honey and half of lemon juice. And If I have sore throat I alternate between this tea and a tea made of licorice root and slippery elm bark.

I wish you all a sneeze/cough free flu season this year.
Dr. Z
Picture taken from: http://becuo.com/sick-person-with-flu-cartoon

Author resumes no liability for incorrect information or any action reader decides to take based on the information on this blog post. This blog post is only author’s personal input on the topic and by no means entails any medical advice.