It seems timely to discuss my top tips on treating and preventing ‘colds’ and ‘flu’ with the abundance of patients that seem to be succumbing to them. These tips are in no particular order. Additionally, like most scenarios 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.
- The ‘Blis’ range of probiotic products can help improve immunity.
- Use immune boosting supplements that contain olive leaf extract, garlic, echinacea, oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, or blends such as Immuherbs by Pure Encapsulations.
- Use natural/herbal remedies, e.g. Coldmed by Naturopharm.
- 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).
- For sore throats, gargle salt water.
- 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’).
- Avoid processed food, as the (usually) excessive amounts of sugar and artificial additives create oxidative stress. For more information on this, see this article.
- I personally like intravenous vitamin C, especially as more and more articles are showing the immune boosting benefits of them.
- Try the following techniques to reduce stress as this helps to activate the parasympathetic (rest and repair) nervous 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 or painting.
- 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.
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!