Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beating the Cold and Flu Season

Yesterday evening, I enjoyed the short but informative presentation delivered by naturopath Krista Vetter at the Westminster Branch of the Guelph Public Library.

She provided us with many easy-to-implement strategies for surviving the coming cold and flu season. While I had heard some of the suggestions before, I found the following tips and statistics very interesting:
  • Try the following stressbuster: Practice deep abdominal breathing for at least five minutes, two to three times daily.
  • Studies have shown that the time between 12 midnight and 5 a.m. is critical for effective, regenerative sleep.
  • A study published in Pediatrics found that children who took a specific strain of probiotics for six months had 72% less fevers, 62% less coughs, 58% less rhinorrhea, and 48% less duration of acquired illness. They also required 84% less antibiotics and were absent from group childcare settings 27% less than children who had not taken the probiotics.
  • When asked about specific probiotics, Krista recommended the SISU brand name, available at Zehrs and health food stores.
  • Zinc, vitamins A and C, thymus and mushroom extracts are all beneficial for boosting the immune system.
  • Krista highly recommends astralagus, an adaptagen, which helps the body adapt to internal and external stress. It can be taken on a long-term basis throughout the fall and winter to help prevent viral and bacterial illness.
  • She recommends the herbs, Echninachea, Goldenseal, Berberine and Oregano, to help combat acute illness on a short-term basis.
  • When asked about the flu shot, she commented that its risks are higher than its benefits. She reiterated that she is more interested in helping people build up their immune systems.
When you catch a cold...
  • Avoid dairy and citrus products. Both increase mucous production in the body.
  • Take a hot bath while drinking hot herbal tea to help sweat it out.
  • Take three drops of oil of oregano three times a day.
  • A neti pot and saline drops can help to decrease congestion.
  • Take megadoses of Vitamin C.
 Like other naturopaths, she highly recommends the Warming Sock Treatment. She calls it the magic sock treatment and uses it with babies and young children.Put a pair of cotton socks under cold water until soaking wet, ring out and climb onto bed, put socks on feet and cover with an extra pair of wools socks. Do not get out of bed until socks are dry in the morning.

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