Yesterday my neck was aching and I had a mild headache. Today my throat is dry, bordering on sore. In all likelihood I am fighting off a virus. Here is what I do when these warning signs hit:
1. I scale back on activities and sleep as much as possible. I was impressed a few years ago when we had a Korean university student boarding with us, because whenever she had cold symptoms she immediately went to bed and slept for hours and hours. She usually only needed one day off school, then she was fully recovered. How many of us try to ignore these initial symptoms, bravely going to work and soldiering on through the day? Did you know that you are the most highly contagious during the first 48 hours of a virus? So yesterday I skipped church, went back to bed and didn’t do much at all. Today is following in a similar pattern. I return to bed whenever I am tired, otherwise I am doing low key activities (like writing this).
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I drink liters of water when I am ill. I vary that with ginger tea. Ginger tea is a potent anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial. Purchase fresh ginger root, grate or finely cut about 1 tsp or more per cup of tea, boil in a covered pot for 10 minutes, strain and enjoy. A small amount of unpasteurized honey can be added to sweeten. Avoid ginger if you are on blood thinners such as Heparin or Warfarin.
3. Vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin A – I will take these in varying amounts, depending on what my current use is for them. They all help support the immune system. I have found taking vitamin D regularly has really cut the frequency of upper respiratory infections. Use discretion in dosing and length of time for these – especially when dealing with babies and young children. Consult a health care professional for further advice.
4. Herbal tinctures. I personally alternate these depending on what I have available in the house. Again, I am being a little vague here, since I think that specific herbs and dosing should be based on your health history, what other medications you are taking etc. So educate yourself, or seek out advice!
5. Homeopathy – a very safe form of treatment. I will occasionally use an indicated remedy for my symptoms. If you are interested in using homeopathy for your family there are good books you can pick up that will give you the indications for the appropriate remedy.
6. Lymphatic massage and drainage. If you go to our SANP FB page, there is a great little video on how to do lymphatic drainage. Very useful for helping the body get rid of waste products and encouraging the flow of white blood cells to combat the infection.
7. I stay off sugar. Very, very important. Up to 50% of our white blood cells are destroyed for up to 6 hours after consuming a teaspoon of sugar. Kind of like helping the enemy rather than defeating it. This also means no orange or other types of juice when sick.
What I don’t use when I am sick:
1. Essential oils – surprising, I know. Many of my patients use these, I don’t because I have homeopathic remedies in the house which I can’t expose to scents. I also have allergies and lots of my patients do as well. Essential oils can be quite effective, however. Essential oils are safest used diluted and on skin or inhaled, but not taken orally. You must dilute because they can burn skin, or cause allergic reactions. Be careful as well with inhalation, there was a case recently of a daycare where essential oils had been put in a diffuser and several people became ill. I hear my patients talk about Thieves oil working well for them.
2. Cold and Flu products from the drugstore. Yuck. I have never used these. Full of chemicals and they do not aid my body in getting better, they just give my liver and kidneys more work to detox.
Overall a good day. My nose is a little runnier than usual, however. My daughter did come down with cold symptoms last night, which developed into full blown illness today, so this may be a virus and not a food sensitivity. Between caring for her this afternoon, not a lot of time or inclination to cook a meal, so I ate a little less well this evening. I find it harder to maintain a really good diet during times of stress. I guess one strategy can be to have lots of healthy snacks around that can be grabbed easily. I plan on picking up more kale this week so that I can make more kale chips, and also lots of fruit. Here’s what I ate today:
Coconut amino pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Flax crackers with coconut oil
Brown rice with tomato sauce (at last it is finished!)
Large green salad of lettuce and cucumber
Organic corn chips with salsa
Hemp, cacao, coconut, date balls