Share information people can use...
Health.usnews.com: By Josh Axe
Winter ushers in a lot of fun things, including cozy nights in front of a fire, marathon Netflix sessions to escape the
cold and a months-long free pass to dress in sweats as often as you like. Unfortunately, though, the cold months also
bring along something more unwelcome: colds and the flu.
There are plenty of over-the-counter meds that promise to soothe sore throats and dry up runny noses, but they also
tend to have a long list of side effects. This winter, instead of chugging ill-tasting cough medicines or struggling to
stay awake even after swallowing pills that promised to be "non-drowsy," try these natural solutions that will kick your
symptoms without the side effects. You'll be back to your old self in no time.
1. Reduce stress.
We joke about being crazy-busy and living increasingly hectic lives, without acknowledging the very real impact stress
has on our health. The truth is, chronic stress severely diminishes your quality of life and affects every body system,
from your immune system to your metabolism.
Stress is directly tied to the body's fight-or-flight response, and when we appear to be in a dangerous situation, we
experience a surge of adrenaline that slows down other basic functions in order to give us the energy we need to
escape safely. When that stress is ongoing, and the body's fight-or-flight response is triggered repeatedly, it taxes the
body and makes it difficult to fight off cold or flu viruses.
Effective stress relievers are as varied as the people experiencing the stress. Some ideas include writing down
stressors and the resulting feelings in a journal, practicing yoga or setting aside a half hour for a hot bath and some
private time. Each of these activities will relax you and give your immune system the support it needs to head off the
next cold that comes your way.
2. Get more sleep.
If you're not getting enough shut-eye, you're raising your risk of getting sick and prolonging the time that pesky cold or
flu will stick around. In fact, not sleeping at least seven hours per night on a regular basis triples your chances of
getting sick. That's because while you sleep, your body uses that time to repair itself and keep all systems running
efficiently. Reduce the amount of time your body gets for the crucial rejuvenation period and you're all but guaranteeing
To prevent getting sick, aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. If you're already feeling under the weather, make
that a priority. The more time you can rest, the faster your body can get that immune system pumping. And, if you're
strategies can help.
3. Supplement with vitamin D.
While cold weather doesn't technically trigger colds and the flu on its own, the fact that so many people are stranded
inside due to inclement weather certainly helps cold-causing viruses to spread. Part of this may be due to the fact
that, in the winter months, most people are running low on vitamin D, which is best obtained from direct sun exposure.
Vitamin D strengthens the immune system and fights against disease, and it's also full of antimicrobials, which attack
viruses and bacteria that cause colds and the flu. Unfortunately, it's estimated that up to 90 percent of Americans
aren't getting enough of this vital nutrient. So, if you're not soaking up the sun's rays for at least 10 to 15 minutes a
day, you should definitely consider taking a vitamin D supplement. It can help keep future sickness at bay and, if
you're already sick, vitamin D can help speed up your recovery time.
4. Try eucalyptus oil.
I'm a huge fan of the healing power of essential oils and, when I'm sick, I especially rely on eucalyptus oil. It helps
cleanse the body of toxins and the harmful microorganisms making you sick. Plus, it smells great and can help clear
up your pathways if you're struggling with a stuffy nose.
One of the most effective ways to use eucalyptus to combat a cold is by adding it to an aromatherapy diffuser before
bed so you experience its healing benefits throughout the night. I also recommend making a eucalyptus steam bath
for your face. Just pour a cup of boiling water into a bowl and mix in 10 drops of the oil. Place a towel over your head
and inhale deeply for five to 10 minutes.
5. Cut out sugar.
You wouldn't leave a cheese platter on the counter if you were trying to rid your house of mice. Likewise, when your
body is being taken hostage by a cold or flu virus, it doesn't make sense to encourage the illness to stick around by
giving it more strength. Sugar wreaks havoc on your immune system by suppressing it while also encouraging the
growth of viruses, bacteria and microorganisms whose main job is to keep you sicker, longer.
Natural sugars, like those occurring in fruit, are OK to consume in moderation because the body treats them
differently. But eliminating processed foods, refined carbs and sweets are a must for helping you recover quickly, not
to mention their importance for maintaining good health. Remember, food is medicine – replace the junk with healing
foods such as grass-fed meats, organic dairy and loads of fresh fruits and veggies.
6. Take echinacea.
Echinacea used to be a favorite health-promoting herb among Native American tribes and, later, the medical
community, until antibiotics became all the rage in the 1950s. Thankfully, we're rediscovering how useful echinacea
can be when fighting common sicknesses.
Echinacea actually stimulates the immune system and kicks it into overdrive, which is just what you need when
waging the cold and flu battle. It also helps relieve those upper body aches and pains that often accompany colds.
You can buy the herb and prepare it as a tea, or purchase echinacea tablets or capsules to enjoy its full, immune-
Right at Home Washington DC
1818 New York Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002