With flu and cold season now in full swing, finding ways to strengthen your immune system can mean the difference between the sniffles and a sinus infection.
Luckily, there are many ways to stop or shorten your cold, relieve symptoms and keep you healthier this season. From acupuncture and herbal teas, to immune-boosting supplements and essential oils, we have come up with tried and true strategies that will get you feeling better fast.
What to do at the first sign of illness
Whether it is a tickle in your throat, a running nose, or the tell-tale stiff neck, this is the most important time to rev up your immune system and expel a pathogen. There are many supplements that can help, as well as certain dietary and lifestyle changes.
Try these supplements:
- Viracid (Orthomolecular Product, sold in house):
- Use at first sign of cold or flu (most colds are caused by a virus)
- Boosts immune defenses by providing nutrients such as L-lysine vitamin A, C, pantothenic acid, B12 and zinc, as well as botanical extracts black elderberry, astragalus, echinacea and andrographis that have been used traditionally for their clinically effective immuno-modulating properties
- Dosage: Take 1-2 capsules per hour for 24 hours then two capsules per day till symptoms resolve
- Sinatrol (Orthomolecular Product, sold in house)
- Immediate support for sinus-related issues
- Targets sinus by clearing airway passages, decreasing the viscosity of mucus and supporting immune health
- Decreases inflammation with Bromelain and Turmeric, while loosening phlegm with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), Thyme and more
- Dosage: Take 1 capsule three times per day
- Oil of Oregano (Designs for Health):
- Contains highly effective antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties as well as powerful antioxidant and intestinal cleansing benefits.
- Dosage: 150mg (1 softgel) two to three times per day with meals
- Lauricidin (sold in house):
- Contains pure sn-1 monolaurin (glycerol monolaurate) derived from coconut oil which supports both immune and gut health
- Dosage: 1 scoop twice daily times with meals
Adjust your diet:
- Sip bone broth (sold in house or at your local grocery store)
- Heals the gut, where 70% of our immune system resides
- Contains collagen which helps in liver detoxification and in circulation
- DIY Healing teas and tonics
- Oregano + thyme leaves (dried): 1 tsp each, mixed in hot water and drink (including leaves), 1-2x/day
- Turmeric + ginger powder: 1 tsp each, mixed in hot water and drink (including powder), 1-2x/day
- Two cups of water, splash of lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, ½ inch ginger root – simmer 10 minutes and sweeten with raw honey
- Restrict inflammatory foods
- Limit dairy, wheat, sugar, processed and preserved foods, alcohol, red meats and deep fried foods. These foods are more acid forming and can create more congestion.
- Eat sinus-clearing foods
- Onions and garlic are sulfur rich foods which help to break down congestion.
- Increase chili, horseradish, and turmeric as these are also anti-inflammatory and will get mucous moving.
- A tiny dab of Wasabi can immediately open the sinus
What happens if you miss the window of prevention?
Unfortunately, sometimes a bug is very strong (or our immune system is very worn out) and despite our best efforts we just get sick. When this happens you can try the following:
Visit your acupuncturist:
Acupuncturists have treatment protocols specifically for treating cold, flu and sinus infections. Many patients report that there symptoms resolve significantly after just one treatment, while others experience a drastic shortening of their illness. Acupuncture can be especially helpful for patients who move quickly from clogged sinuses to sinus infection.
Mind your lifestyle:
- Use a humidifier and/or diffuser to increase the water content and loosen the mucus in your chest or nasal passages. Include these essential oils in your diffuser to help: Tea Tree, Pine, Lavender, Peppermint, Thyme, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and/or Rosemary.
- Sleep: Ensure that you are getting enough sleep every night to allow your body to heal. You should be getting 8-10 hours per night while battling a viral infection.
- Limit strenuous exercise (but keep your body moving): try some yoga poses or go on short walks.
If the symptoms have been going on for more than 10 days, or acutely worsening over the past few days, call us and we can determine if you should see a medical provider.