The symptoms of both the common cold and flu are often the same; both are caused by the same family of respiratory viruses. The difference between the two is generally the severity of the infection and symptoms you experience. A cold is usually concentrated about the head whereas the flu usually involves the whole body. A cold can occur at any time of the year, while the flu usually develops in epidemics, normally during the late fall and winter seasons.
As your body attempts to fight the invade pathogens that can cause cold and flu, your immune system via the white blood cells quickly arrive at the sites of your infection. This chemically mediated inflammatory response of the white blood cells causes swelling, which can result in stuffed sinuses and swollen nose and throat. Mucus is secreted to trap the pathogens. Such reactions are signs of a normally functioning immune system. Runny nose, sneezing, and coughing are also signs of normal function as they serve to expel toxins and infectious organisms in the form of phlegm.
What causes it:
- Gut dysbiosis
- Poor diet (nutrient deficiencies, inflammatory foods, mucus-producing foods)
What can I do about it:
Conventional medicine’s approach to cold/flu is to suppress your symptoms with drugs, which can compromise your body’s innate wisdom. Through medicating symptoms, symptom relief may be achieved, but the duration of your cold/flu can often be prolonged. The use of antibiotics for a cold/flu and for secondary infections resulting from colds/flu disturbs your gut ecosystem and bowel function, ultimately making your body more susceptible to more serious forms of illness. Even over-the-counter cold medications can come with a price so be sure to check out the potential side effects.
In the alternative medicine arena, we believe the biggest determining factor of whether or not you succumb to a cold/flu is your internal environment, so here are some steps you can take to strengthen your digestive, immune and elimination systems:
Steps to immediate relief are:
(1) Take action at first onset of your symptoms. Caught early, many natural remedies can stop your cold or flu in its tracks, such as homeopathic remedies: Oscillococcinum, Quadruple Nosode, and Influenzin. To be most effective, the remedy that matches your symptoms must be taken within the first 12-24 hours of onset of symptoms. Carefully selected ingredients such as Kali mur or Kali sulph can help control your mucus production, sooth congestion in your chest, and relieve your coughing episodes. Other remedies you might look at are: aconitum napellus, natrum muriaticum, allium cepa, nux vomica, and eupatorium perfoliatum. Work with a skilled practitioner to help you determine which remedy will best match your symptom needs.
(2) Make water your beverage of choice. Water is one of nature’s natural cleansers. Drinking optimal levels of purified water benefits your overall health by supporting your ability to digest your food, supporting your liver in its ability to detoxify your body, and providing fluid for optimal elimination of toxins.
Commit to drinking 1/2 your weight in fluid ounces of water each day. Drinking sips of warmed water (not microwaved) can help support you with detoxifying the congestion in your intestinal tract and lymphatic system throughout your entire body. Eliminating all other caffeinated, sugary, mucus-producing, carbonated beverages (such as coffee, tea, dairy, and soda pop) is essential as they support digestive dysfunction, parasitic and yeast overgrowth, and accumulation of toxins.
(3) During your cold/flu, modify your diet to include more nutrient-rich broths, salads and non-creamy soups. Drink lots of water or mucilaginous (non-caffeinated) herbal teas help to dilute the thickness of your mucus discharge. Eliminate sugar and other inflammatory and mucus-producing foods such as dairy, gluten, sugar, and fried foods. This will give your digestive system a rest and feed that energy to your immune system to fight the viral infection. When you avoid dairy products while recovering from cold/flu, you will experience less nasal congestion and throat phlegm.
(4) Stop smoking and/or eliminate your exposure to smoky environments. You will also want to eliminate your exposure to inhaling cleaning chemicals, paint fumes, etc. You may need to invest in a HEPA air purifier to improve the quality of air in your home and work environments.
(5) Boost your consumption of Vitamin C during the time you are experiencing cold/flu symptoms. This will boost your immune system. You can also boost your levels of other supplements such as: vitamin A, zinc, selenium, vitamin D3, and N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC). Work with a skilled practitioner to determine dosage levels of these supplements.
(6) Drink teas to decrease the thickness of mucus and to alkalize your system (such as mullein tea, ginger tea, Ume Paste tea, and apple cider vinegar mixed in hot water). You can add a little pure, organic, non-pasteurized honey to sweeten your tea, but use it sparingly. Add a pinch of ground cayenne pepper to your apply cider vinegar drink. The spiciness of cayenne will loosen mucus.
(7) The use of essential oils can be beneficial to you. For immediate pain relief, apply 1-3 drops of essential oil (such as Eucalyptus Radiata, RC, Purification or Deep Relief) to 1 tsp of carrier oil (V6 or olive oil) and apply through self massage of area(s) where your discomfort lies.
You can also massage the neurolymphatic points and foot reflex points that correlate to areas of the body that are troubling you (such as head, sinuses, throat, and lungs). Layering multiple oils can create a synergistic effect. You can add oils to your bath or vaporizer, do steam inhalation, or diffuse them in your environment. For cold/flu, look at oils that will also support your immune system (such as Ravensara and Thieves).
Young Living Essential Oils as they are safe, effective, and known for their pureness and therapeutic-grade qualities. At Essential Wellness, we can show you how to use the oils and help you determine which ones will work best for you.
(8) Nasal irrigation is an Ayurvedic technique that involves pouring salt water through each nostril to cleanse the membranes of your nose and sinuses and to flush out mucus. Invest in a Neti pot. To use the Neti pot to perform nasal irrigation, warm purified water slightly (not in the microwave) and fill your Neti pot. Then add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Next position the pour spout of the Neti pot in one nostril and tip your head until the water comes out the other nostril. Repeat this process on your opposite nostril.
(9) Honor your body’s need for rest, especially when you are sick. We do most of our repair and regeneration during sleep, so take the time to relax, rest, and repair.
(10) Reduce stress. During times of stress, hormones are released in the body that cause the thymus gland to shrink, reducing immune activity. The more stress one is under, the greater the chance of viral infection. Identify your stressors and look for ways to decrease your stress levels (such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, visualization, Eden Energy Medicine exercises, EFT, and Mental-Emotional Stress Release).
(11) Hot bath or infrared sauna can be used to stimulate your body’s immune response and encourage detoxification through sweating. This stimulates detoxification through your skin. Though it can sometimes be uncomfortable for you, this type of sweating creates fever that produces a natural antibiotic effect within your body and it appears to shorten the duration of your cold, flu or infection.
Steps to long-term, permanent relief:
If you are experiencing cold/flu, especially multiple times eat winter season, your inner ecosystem is out of balance. It’s time for you to consider implementing these additional steps:
(12) Choose your team of healthcare practitioners wisely. Your health condition and experience of discomfort may be the result of many imbalances in your body, requiring proper testing and an accurate diagnosis. Choosing practitioners with additional training in the areas nutrition, hormone testing/balancing, and detoxification processes will help you take a multi-faceted approach.
Taking ownership of your health equation can be one of the most empowering steps you can take and you can do this by: becoming more informed, listening to your inner wisdom, focusing on your “ideal experience” of health, and partnering with your healthcare and wellness practitioners to effect the best possible outcome. Essential Wellness would be honored to be a part of your wellness team.
(13) It’s very important that you digest, assimilate, detoxify and eliminate properly. Anytime a food is eaten and not completely digested, it will only feed inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and leaky gut. Low stomach acid interferes with the first step of digestion and can be a factor when you experience chronic cold/flu.
The HCI Challenge Test can help you determine if you have low stomach acid. If your HCl Challenge Test causes you to experience immediate reflux symptoms, confer with your doctor to rule out a possible H. pylori infection, ulcer, or other stomach issues. Repairing your stomach lining is essential.
(14) Determine whether your chronic symptoms are related to an overgrowth of microorganisms like Candida and Parasites because they often show up with Leaky Gut Syndrome. Their symptoms overlap and can be an underlying cause if you are experiencing chronic colds or flu. With this information, you will be better informed to ask questions of your team of practitioners. We can teach you how to improve your diet, eliminate candida and parasites, and repair your leaky gut by incorporating an elimination diet as your next step.
(15) Eliminate the most common highly-reactive, inflammatory foods (dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and corn) while you complete the required repair work. Upgrading your building materials will help you to unburden your digestive system, remove the foods that feed unfriendly microorganisms, stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings, and support your body’s detoxification and elimination processes.
Replace inflammatory foods with satisfying balanced meals (healthy, lean and clean proteins; low-glycemic and high fiber carbohydrates; lots and lots of dark leafy greens; and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, oils). Reintroducing each reactive food group separately will allow you to determine what foods are still a problem for you. At Essential Wellness, we have a specific coaching program designed to help you formulate a diet that will work best for you and teach you how to optimize your digestion.
(16) Detoxifying your body through dietary improvements, an herbal cleanse program, and/or detoxification therapies can be an effective way to improve your overall experience of well-being. Before beginning any detox protocol, check in with your healthcare practitioner, to determine if there is a reason you should not complete a cleanse at this time. (When your body is in an extreme state of stress and toxicity, it’s important to replenish your nutrient reserves before beginning any detoxification protocol.)
It is also very important for your elimination channels to be open before beginning and during any detoxification program, otherwise you may suffer from a Herxheimer Reaction. At Essential Wellness, we know the ins and outs of the cleansing and detoxification process and we can help you minimize your discomfort as you detoxify your body.
How can Essential Wellness help:
At Essential Wellness, we believe repair and recovery is based on many factors. Although we cannot diagnose, prescribe, treat or claim to cure any medical condition you may have, our focus is on helping you reduce the many levels of stress that are playing into your current health experience.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, the therapies you’ve tried are not giving you relief, and you need more assistance in putting it all together, Essential Wellness can help you in the following ways:
- Nutrition & Wellness Plan is one of our coaching programs that will help you get clear about what your wellness goals are (based on your individual needs), teach you how to decipher and make sense of all the dietary information available to you, and help you formulate your own wellness plan with accountability. The foundation of your wellness plan will be structured around habits that only you have the power to control and change.
- Based on our knowledge and experience, most health disorders including chronic colds and flu are connected to some physiological dysfunction (leaky gut) that causes accumulated toxicity in the body and vice versa. We offer the detoxification therapies of Colonics, Core Lymphatic, and IonCleanse Foot Detox to help you reduce the stress on your digestive, detoxification and elimination channels. Colonics in combination with herbal support will compliment your dietary foundation and can be especially helpful to you when you are not eliminating at least once per day. Both Core Lymphatic and IonCleanse Foot Detox will help address the stress in your lymph system.
- We offer Core Synchronism, Eden Energy Medicine exercises, and Vibrational Raindrop Technique therapies to help you in balancing your physical body by reducing your stress. When your body feels out of balance and you feel stress, it is usually due to blocked or congested energy that has settled in your physical body. We can add Essential Oils to compliment the therapy you receive.
- Toxic emotions can block the flow of your energy channels and become stuck in your physical body. The emotional component of an upper-respiratory cold/illness can stem from having too much going on at once, with confusion, disorder, and chaos. If this description matches what you are experiencing, Mental-Emotional Stress Release techniques to help you understand and integrate these experiences and diffuse the stress they cause you. Flower Remedies can compliment the therapy you receive.
- With chronic colds or the flu, you are most likely experiencing multiple symptoms. We offer RAE Radionics Hair Analysis as another tool to help you understand any stress that is present in your energy system.