Help, I don't want to get sick!

sick prevention with naturopathic medicine written with Dr. Aoife Earls ND in Oakville

So, it’s inev­it­able. You’re alive, your chil­dren don’t wash their hands, and you breathe air that oth­er humans breathe. You’re going to get sick, BUT there are many ways you can sup­port your immune sys­tem and either shorten the pro­cess or avoid it completely!

First thing’s first, let’s do the basics

  1. Sleep. For the love of god people, get to bed. Earlier than you enjoy, earli­er that you want to, just sleep. Nap, rest, do noth­ing. A rest­ing body fights infec­tion faster than a busy body.
  2. Stop doing. Sit down. Don’t do any­thing. Even if it is Christmas Eve and noth­ing is wrapped, who cares? Everyone will under­stand. REST.
  3. Hydrate. Put down your cof­fee and caf­fein­ated tea and wine/​beer. Drink water, spark­ling min­er­al water for elec­tro­lytes, and warm­ing herb­al teas. More water, more flu­id your body has to move whatever it is try­ing to fight.
  4. Vitamin C — clem­entines (23 day), pomegranate juice, dark ber­ries (black­ber­ries, blue­ber­ries) are all sea­son-appro­pri­ate Vitamin C choices, includ­ing lem­on spritzed in your warm tea. Vitamin C before a cold begins has been proven to shorten the dur­a­tion of the infec­tion.

Actual strategies if you are sick

1. You feel that funny tickle, your nose is stuffy, you feel tired…something doesn’t feel right…

  • Vitamin C foods (see above)
  • Zinc — Meat, Shrimp (shell­fish), chick­peas (hummous), nuts are all sources of zinc. Before the onset of a cold, zinc can slow and pre­vent both bac­teri­al and vir­al infec­tions. Once you’re actu­ally sick, the zinc does­n’t do as much, so pre­ven­tion is key here.
  • Honey — anti­bac­teri­al and moves mucous, can be taken in warm tea, warm water and is also help­ful for a cough if you get one in addition.
  • Elderberry — found at the gro­cery store (com­mon brands called Sambucol and Sambu Guard) is a rich vitamin‑C loaded berry that pre­vents infec­tion and reduce intens­ity of the infection 
  • Garlic — anti­vir­al and anti­bac­teri­al, it can be crushed and put in a tea with honey and drank sev­er­al times daily. Careful for sens­it­ive tum­mies — strain the crushed gar­lic as raw gar­lic can make you feel pretty nauseous
  • Sea salt gargles are anti­bac­teri­al, and sooth­ing to a pre-sore throat. If you have strep throat, read below.
  • Echinacea — Angustifolia (the spe­cial strain) is uniquely tingly and yucky all at the same time. Shoot back 5 – 10 mL every 5 hours and see if that tickle goes away.

Here’s anoth­er list from my own blog with a few oth­er ideas.

2. You do have a sore throat, but you’re not sure how to treat it

I have two great art­icles on this exact conun­drum. My stance? Treat what is there (read my ideas here). Strep throat is bru­tal, and is often most quickly treated with anti­bi­ot­ics, but you can abso­lutely do all of the above things and more while tak­ing your anti­bi­ot­ic régime. You might even bounce back more quickly!

3. Your sinuses are just killing 

Sinusitis, or inflam­ma­tion of the sinuses, is essen­tially the body’s way of try­ing to flush out whatever it has encountered, and is really just a lot of inflam­ma­tion. It can be come an infec­tion, but often anti-inflam­mat­or­ies are the first line of defence. Common anti-inflam­mat­or­ies include over-the-counter Advil, but you can also do:

  • Eyebright
  • Turmeric (curcumin)
  • Nettle

Read my blog all about sinus­it­is and move that stuff out :)

Hope these quick tips help you! Just remember, if you’re not capable of getting sick, you’re dead. It’s going to happen again, but you can be ready!

Dr. Aoife ND

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