Learn 5 Tips on How to Prevent and Fight a Cold or Flu Naturally!
As the fall ends and the winter begins, we are flooded with warnings about the impeding cold and flu season. We start to see commercials for cold medicine and pharmacies begin displaying their large banners reminding us to get our flu shots. It is said that the “cold and flu season is upon us” during the months of October to December but how much of that is due to our immune system being more compromised at the time? The consumption of sugar, alcohol, food and stress is rampant during the holiday season which all affect our immune system. People who have a depressed immune system due to stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and other health factors can be more susceptible to getting a cold or flu.
The common treatment is to take cold medicine to stop the pesky cough or runny nose, get the flu shot in hopes of preventing the flu and to use hand sanitizer if you come in contact with anyone who may be sick. The question is how effective are these methods and have we done our research to know if these measures are the best for our health now and in the long term?
Let's talk cold and flu medicine
While over-the-counter cold and flu medicine might soothe your stuffy nose, cough and fever and help you feel better, it’s not actually curing or shortening the illness. It must take its natural course and while it may feel like the medicine is helping, it is simply masking the symptoms.
Acetaminophen is a common ingredient found in over 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications, including many cold and flu remedies. It reduces pain and fever symptoms but has a history of causing liver damage from overuse. According to the FDA, the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States is Acetaminophen overdose. Along with this toxic ingredient, these medications can be filled with fillers and preservatives such as parabens. Drugs that are decongestants, antihistamines and cough medicines also can be damaging as well so it’s best to limit it and even better to avoid it all together.
What about getting the Flu Shot to prevent it?
Every year, a new flu vaccine is developed that contains three different viruses (two influenza A strains and one influenza B). According to the CDC, the three viruses that are selected for the new flu vaccine are selected on the basis of an “educated guess.” However, there are thousands of flu virus possibilities so there is no guarantee that the viruses selected for the flu vaccine will be the identical strains that are present during a given flu season. So unless they happen to be 100% accurate on their guestimate of what they predict the exact 3 strands will be, it wouldn’t make sense to take the vaccine if they miss the mark because it would have no effect on treating the flu for the specific year.
What is in the Flu Shot?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists the common substances found in vaccines on their website.
- Aluminum is added as adjuvants to help promote an earlier, more potent response, and more persistent immune response to the vaccine. Aluminum is neurotoxic and can depress your immune system and brain function.
- Antibiotics which are added to some vaccines to prevent the growth of germs (bacteria) during production and storage of the vaccine. Antibiotics not only prevent the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria that is needed.
- Egg protein is prepared using chicken eggs. These type of foreign DNA/RNA from animal tissues can wreak havoc in the human body and trigger autoimmune issues.
- Formaldehyde is a preservative. The National Institute of Environmental Health Science, among other organizations, have classified it as a toxin and carcinogen.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) to help the vaccine remain unchanged when the vaccine is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity. Historically it has been linked to adverse health problems.
- Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal that has been linked to neurological disorders.
(Click here to see the list of the exact ingredients found in each vaccine that is publicly posted on the CDC website)
These ingredients are notably toxic. In fact, there were studies between 1970 and 1980, that found if you’ve had five consecutive flu shots, it increases your chances of developing Alzheimer’s by ten times! This research was done by Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, a medical doctor who is the world’s leading immunologist, the 13th most quoted biologist, and has been published in over 850 peer-reviewed journals. When asked why, he said, “Because of the mercury and aluminum build-up in every flu shot.” He said, “It’s building up in the brain. Aluminum build-up, mercury build-up in the brain causes cognitive dysfunction.” When these harmful toxins are being injected directly into our bloodstream, it is direct exposure and is even more concerning. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine effectiveness was only 48%. During the 2014 and 2015 season, effectiveness was just a mere 19% and in the last two years it was less than 50% effective. Is it worth the risk when the efficacy rates are dismal and the foreign chemicals can have negative impacts on our health?
Opting for more natural remedies instead allows our immune system to do what it has been designed to do. Our immune system is like a shield that can attack and fight off viruses. A strong immune system will help prevent the flu or help you fight the flu if you get it. If you contract the flu, your immune system becomes stronger and many studies have shown that when we fight off infections using our natural immunity, we help protect ourselves from other serious diseases.
Here are 5 Tips on natural ways to prevent and help cure a cold or flu
1. Avoid sugar - All forms of refined sugar depress white blood cells' ability to destroy bacteria. It has an immediate effect on weakening your immune system which impairs the ability for your body to fight off viruses. Remember, nearly 80% of your immune system is in your gut so removing sugar, diary and processed foods and eating a clean diet can help you recover faster.
2. Wash your hands - Washing your hands with warm water and organic soap for 30 seconds is simple yet effective and dislodges the viruses in our hands. While it is marketed that we should douse ourselves with antibacterial hand sanitizer anytime we come in contact with germs, this actually can cause us to become sicker by encouraging bacterial adaptions leading to resistance. Moreover, colds and flus are mostly caused by viruses so using hand sanitizer wouldn't have efficacy against viruses since it is antibacterial.
3. Nourish your body with healing foods: Eat foods that will fight viruses and build your immune system. The below foods have great health benefits to help combat sickness.
- Turmeric - Is a medicinal super food that has gained well deserved popularity for it's many health benefits. It reduces inflammation at the molecular level and the antioxidants in turmeric neutralize free radicals throughout the body. It is known to heal and prevent numerous diseases due to the powerful compound curcumin. When consuming, it's helpful to pair with black pepper to increase the absorption of the curcumin.
- Bone Broth - Chicken noodle soup is an old classic but what's truly healing is bone broth made from pasture raised chickens, beef or lamb. It has minerals that support the immune system and kills pathogens that cause upper respiratory infections. It's also a great source of collagen which can reduce inflammation and repair gut permeability.
- Garlic and Ginger - Both garlic and ginger are herbal medicines that have antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties and is great for relieving cold and flu symptoms. The compound, allicin, found in raw garlic helps prevent a cold and if infected, helps you recover faster. In fresh ginger, gingerol is a key component that enhances immune function, removes toxins and cleanses the lymphatic system.
- Immunity Tea (warm water, lemon, apple cider vinegar and honey) - making this tea and sipping on it while not feeling well is very comforting and also provides great health benefits. The warm water with lemon is alkalinizing. Raw honey kills bacteria while also relieving a sore throat. Apple cider vinegar is antibacterial, kills viruses and contains prebiotics to help balance the gut flora.
4. Take high quality supplements:
- Vitamin D - is vital in cold and flu prevention. In recent randomized controlled trials it was confirmed that vitamin D supplementation increases immunity and cuts rates of cold and flu. Many people are deficient in Vitamin D and during the winter months we get much less skin exposure to sun which may be related to why people fall sick during the colder months.
- Oregano oil - has remarkable health benefits for respiratory and immune system health. The carvacrol is a component in oregano oil that has antimicrobial properties that protect bacteria from the immune system and help prevent and treat infections.
- Probiotics - are live good bacteria that aid in your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. Around 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut so ensuring you balance your gut flora is important to preventing frequent colds and flu.
5. Embrace it! While getting a cold or flu is not comfortable or enjoyable, it is a time that your body is telling you to rest and reboot. Use this time to de-stress, get sleep and build your immune system up. It's good for the body to go through a cold or flu and continue to build it's immunity, especially when fighting it naturally.
Try these natural options the next time you are feeling under the weather. Not only will you be avoiding harmful toxins found in conventional cold and flu treatments, but you will also be building your immune system up to be healthier and stronger.