colds and flu season is on us! what can YOU do...

I started writing this blog a few days ago and then I got a cold... I was worried it was going to turn into the flu and so I took some time, slowed down and took it easy. I tried some alternative remedies and in record time I was back on my feet (more on that later). I wanted to write a blog because I was listening to NPR talk about flu season and the announcer asked "Isn't there anything you can suggest to do besides a flu shot and washing your hands?" the health and human services "specialist" said "No".... I thought.. wait a minute YEA!!... there are quite a few things you can do.. in MY opinion!

First of all we did give our kids the flu shot, I figure they are in school where it's so easy for these things to incubate so they need all the help they can get. We also have them wash their hands when they come home from school. After their nightly shower or bath (if they take a bath we add a large handful of salt to the bath), they gargle with warm water and salt (at least three times), we have done this for years during the winter season and I think it has always been helpful. Keeping their nostrils clean and vigorous is very healthy, so at the end of gargling they dip their fingers (in the warm salt water) and clean out their nostrils (it's totally fun to watch them do this!).

I honestly think that candy and sugar depletes their immune system so I don't make it a big deal but we don't have intense sweets during the winter (no ice cream, candy etc..), they don't really even seem to notice and we don't have it around in the house. I fill the house with apples, other fruits and nuts instead. I try to squeeze fresh orange juice for them each morning (it's not as big of a deal as you may think, just two oranges, a simple squeezer.. it takes just a few minutes), this isn't very macrobiotic (too sweet) but the idea to me is nice :).

I have talked about it before and I have seen Thieves oil show up more often lately at health food stores and so on, so it may be easier to find now. Thieves oil can be used to naturally fight colds and flu, it is a blend of essential oils and smells mostly like cloves. I have been known to send my kids to school with it on and my son says that no one will talk to him because he smells! But I just happen to like the smell so EASY. As the story goes thieves doused themselves with this oil and would go into homes overcome with small pox (or scarlet fever.. or something) and steal from the sick... Thieves Oil! I put it on the back of my hand when I am in public places (subway, trains, etc..) and take the smell in my nose frequently.

Exercise, the reason that colds and flu are rampant at this time of year is that people tend to be sedentary, not outside exercising and not keeping healthy. So YES! this is a good time to get outside and exercise and make sure your kids are doing so as well. Try skiing, skating or any winter sport... jogging (even for kids), yoga, walking... just get yourself and your family outside and get COLD and then warm up... it's good for their bodies. I think just taking a walk with your family is COMPLETELY overlooked at this time of year and can be delightful! (yes complaints at first, but make it fun!). So make sure you keep up with exercising for the WHOLE family.

In kids this looks like sneezing and those tired red eyes. In you it can be very subtle... that feeling in your chest, the drippy nose.. whatever your 'signals' are you probably know yourself pretty well and if you listen you will hear it. For kids I like to use Astragalus, it's easier on the digestive system than Echinacea and for adults I use Echinacea. It will help your immune system fight the cold or flu, just give yourself and your kids a good heavier dose that first day and then do what you need to do from then on. In the case of Echinacea you only want to use it if 14 days and NO LONGER (or give yourself a two week reprieve). No coffee or chocolate please.. it will just disturb what you are trying to do, it will cancel it out. Some people are assured by Airborne or other things and I think they are great too.. I think Airborne may help if you are additionally having headaches etc...

I just learned a POW drink that may just cancel it out for you, as it did in my case. Julie (who works with me at NCM.. many of you know her ALL too well!) told me to drink hot water with lemon, chayenne and honey - which I did and it practically deleted my symptoms immediately. BUT you have to give your body a chance to regenerate, so you need SLEEP!

Sleep is the most important thing to recover from a cold or stop one from coming on in the first place. Take extra time to rest and relax, go to sleep extra early, and sleep-in a bit in the morning. You will find that one day will give you a world of difference and you may have reassured your body that you can fight any cold that comes your way! And same for your kids... trick them into going to bed early, start your night time ritual a half hour earlier and get them into bed with some extra time.

So NO NPR, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy and happy!

Good Luck and stay healthy!

read my previous story on colds and flu