Even in pre-pandemic times, flu season could be troublesome and sometimes deadly. Here are my preventatives (and treatment) for flu and Covid. While the current strains are less deadly, they are more contagious - and 30% of cases are asymptomatic!
In the fall and winter, our immune systems are tested. If the temperature in our nose is lowered by just 9 degrees it decreases immunity by 40% in that first-stage defense against viruses!
Slow down and pay attention to your body’s signals to weather the storm. Here are some bottom-line basics for maintaining health -
Take vitamin C (1,000mg) and zinc (50mg -1 or 2x/day). Vitamin D is important, at least 5,000 mg/day. One of the simplest – and cheapest - things you can do if you have a tickle in your throat is GARGLE with warm salt water (I also put a pinch of turmeric in it.) Honey, lemon, and… chicken soup are proven to help too!
Here are the 3 types of additional strategies for winter wellness:
Cold Calm (Boiron): when you feel a cold coming on take this immediately, 3x a day. If anyone in the household is sick, everyone else should start taking this 1 or 2x/day.
Oscillococcinum (Boiron): This remedy is like the flu shot in that it targets several strains of flu emerging in any particular season. Take this IMMEDIATELY when you notice symptoms; I find it works best at the onset rather than later.
Yin Chao: Whenever I feel something starting in my throat, I go to this Chinese herbal combination, and it stops most illnesses in their tracks.
I like the Plum Flower Chinese brand (best to chew a little, although at my house we call the taste "mummy dust.") Other good brands are Planetary Herbals, Health Concerns and Cold Snap in capsules and tablets (avoiding the yucky taste.)
Turmeric: A powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial and much more. This herb is now well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, but for illness, it’s taken in larger doses – 500mg 3x/day. This is more for flu than colds.
Any Chinese herbal formula with Belamcanda is good for the lungs, usually 2-3 tablets taken 2-3x a day depending on the severity.
3) Essential Oils:
I use blends from Young Living oils for my winter kit: Thieves, Raven, RC, and Immunpower (there are similar blends/brands available from other companies.) Immunpower is a basic immunity-boosting oil; I add Raven or RC for respiratory distress, and Thieves for hardcore flu. Put a few drops on your wrists, apply to lymph nodes behind the ears and take a few deep breaths of it. It can also be applied directly to the chest and throat.
These are my personal recommendations and practices (note I am not an herbalist, MD, or homeopath.) I hope they will help you stay healthy!
Remember that we used to "hibernate" during the winter - but in modern times we just move the show indoors. If all else fails, you must really NEED to spend a few days in bed. It’s nature’s way of forcing you to take care. Don’t push yourself, and as usual, stay home and isolate yourself if you’re not feeling well. Unfortunately, coronaviruses are here to stay.
The best prevention we have for Covid is the VACCINE (unless you have any pre-existing conditions; speak with your doctor.) It provides 90% immunity which wanes over six months to approximately 60%. Getting Covid gives you natural immunity starting at around 60% and waning over the next three months to a minimal level. Omicron brought with it more breakthrough infections, and you can even have more than one. Still, your illness will be milder if you are vaccinated. Just DON'T get both vaccines at the same time; give your body a break of at least a week or two in between.
Covid tests, particularly home tests, are not that reliable; it depends on what your ”viral load” is at that moment. Many people test negative while feeling sick and then test positive when they are getting better! This is because the viral load had to increase to be detected. With fewer people hospitalized or seeing a doctor, the most reliable testing is of the wastewater in a community; they can even identify different strains that way.
With other respiratory infections such as RSV circulating this winter, it’s time to put our masks back on in enclosed situations with many people (sigh).
Still, do enjoy yourself! Being social and having fun is a powerful antidote - and immune booster - anytime.
Peace, love and healing -