Are you worried about COVID-19? Want to boost your immune system or fight a viral illness naturally?
Follow my top viral illness tips to help your immune system.
These tips are in no particular order. Like most things in life, the more things you do generally the better and faster the results.
- High dose liposomal Vitamin C (whilst the adult tolerable upper intake level (UL) is 2000 mg daily, this is only relevant for standard, non-liposomal vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as higher doses of this form of vitamin C can cause osmotic diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset. However liposomal vitamin C is much better absorbed, tends not to cause the gastrointestinal effects and therefore can be taken at higher doses. To further increase the absorption, aim to hold any type of vitamin C in your mouth for as long as possible (at least 5 minutes and even have fun swishing it around your mouth like mouthwash which is infinitely more pleasant than rectal vitamin C (another option!). For children under 6-use 500mg every 2 hours, then reduce to 500mg 3 times a day for 3 days.
- The ‘Blis’ a range of probiotic products can help improve oral and therefore overall immunity. Additionally, also use a high CFU count probiotic that has a wide range of good bugs.
- Use immune boosting supplements that contain olive leaf extract, garlic, echinacea, oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, or blends.
- Use natural (homeopathic and/or herbal) remedies.
- Perform steam inhalations with 5 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus oil added to a bowl of hot water (for babies and children put a few drops of each oil on their clothing/in a diffuser). If you find this too strong to breathe in you can reduce the number of drops of oil. It will stimulate a runny nose and/or sneezing which is a good thing and will settle. If not settling in a few hours you can use an over the counter nasal spray such as Otrivine but preferably try a natural drying nasal spray.
- For sore throats, gargle salt water.
- Drink plenty of fluids, at least 500ml more than your usual. Ideally long-term aim for around 2 litres (8 cups/day) for an adult.
- Suck 1 zinc lozenge every 2hrs (max 6 doses in 24 hours for max 3 days).
- For coughs try one of the many natural cough syrups such as the one by ‘Kiwiherb’.
- For nasal and sinus symptoms infections try rinsing your sinuses with saline (ideally with a ‘Neti Pot’ or a similar device from the pharmacy).
- Sleep! And rest are very healing. Try to get to bed earlier and/or nap during the day for 30 or 90mins and avoid exercise, apart from a gentle stroll. This is not the time to work on your abs or train for a marathon.
- Keep warm with blankets, wheat bags, cuddles, baths, eating warm foods. Cuddling for 6 seconds releases oxytocin (a feel-good hormone).
- Avoid hard to digest/inflammatory foods such as red meat, gluten and dairy while you are sick.
- Avoid processed food (forever!), as the (usually) excessive amounts of sugar and artificial additives create oxidative stress. For more information on this, see this article.
- Try the following techniques to reduce stress as this helps to activate the parasympathetic (rest and repair) nervous system, which improves our immune system. For more stress management tips, check out this article.
- Have half hour of ‘you-time’ per day, doing whatever you love to do, e.g. reading, painting or even ‘extreme ironing’!
- Meditation (try the Buddhify/Smiling Mind/Insight Timer/Headspace apps; DVDs/books; or visit gaia.com.
- Walk (or partake in other exercise) in nature.
- Try belly and/or alternate nostril breathing (as much as possible).
- Try Neuro-Linguistic Processing (NLP) and/or Emotional Freedom (aka ‘Tapping’) techniques (YouTube has many videos to demonstrate these techniques).
- Try restorative exercises such as yoga/Qi Gong/Tai Chi.
- Try the amazing HeartMath which is a technique designed to stimulate the immune and rest and repair (parasympathetic) nervous system. Ask our team for more information and for an appointment with our HeartMath practitioner.
If despite all this you are not improving after a week or are getting worse, please see your GP to rule out more serious conditions such as pneumonia. As much as we are living in a chemical soup and I advise my patients to try to avoid more chemicals, sometimes prescription medications such as antibiotics are appropriate. Keep warm and well!