Winning the War Against Colds
(Published in Networking News February/March Addition)
As the days get shorter and the temperatures starts dropping, the signs of winter have made their presence known. Along with Mother Nature’s changes come a rise in the incidence of symptoms associated with the common cold: sneezing, runny nose, coughs, and sore throat. Women and children tend to be the most at risk for catching colds. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, children have about six to ten colds per year and women in close contact to those children have more colds than men. Yes, you have probably figured out that no one is exempt from catching the common cold. While we can’t escape the environment in which we live, we can change the environment inside our own bodies. The key to staying healthy is building up your body’s defenses and providing the tools to stay healthy this season.
COLD OR FLU?
A variety of virus that cause both colds and flu create those bothersome symptoms most have experienced. You might ask, how do I know if I have a cold or a flu? Although the symptoms of a cold described previously may be bothersome, the symptoms of a flu are unmistakable. High fever, muscle aches, headache, and respiratory symptoms such as cough are all the undeniable symptoms of the flu. The flu tends to be appear more abruptly, tend to be more severe and last longer. There is no cure for the common cold. Conventional approached to symptomatic relief of cold symptoms may suppress the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Don’t let a cold get you down, use the tools that empower your body to prevent and fight off the common cold.
THE BASICS OF PREVENTION
Prevention is important. Go back to the basics. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is a time for the body to relax and rebuild. Avoid foods such as alcohol, sugar, and highly processed foods that nutrient devoid and can depress immune function. Avoid diary products, high in arachidonic acid, which can promote inflammatory processes and mucus production in the body. Eat a varied diet high in whole foods, fiber and essential fatty acids. The body uses nutrients essential to immune function in times of stress. So, move, meditate, and exercise to reduce stress. Think positive. The mind body connection is an integral part of healthy living.
HAVE A COLD? STRENTHEN YOUR NATURAL IMMUNITY
Along with basics of a good diet, plenty of sleep and stress reduction, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Zinc gluconate, Garlic and Echinacea are tools to be utilized in treating the common cold. The body uses vitamin C more rapidly in times of physical or mental stress. So increasing your Vitamin C intake during a cold can support immune function. Diarrhea can be a side effect of too much Vitamin C, reduce the dosage to a tolerable about to eliminate this side effect and take divided doses throughout the day to maximize absorption and utilization. Zinc Gluconate is another tool to decrease the duration and severity of your cold. While Garlic, which contains allicin, is responsible for its pungent odor, it has strong antimicrobial properties and helps fight off infection. Echinacea, a wildflower native to North American, support the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells such as lymphocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells, associated with fighting off infection. In addition, echinacea increases interferon, an important part of the body’s response to viral infection. Echinacea supplementation is to be avoided by those with autoimmune disorders. Echinacea is the best tool to be used at the onset of a cold.
Remember to take time for yourself, and utilize your tools to stay healthy this cold and flu season.