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
- 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.
- Stop doing. Sit down. Don’t do anything. Even if it is Christmas Eve and nothing is wrapped, who cares? Everyone will understand. REST.
- 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.
- Vitamin C — clementines (2−3 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.
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:
- Turmeric (curcumin)
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