Tips for Surviving Cold and Flu Season
by Dr. Fred Harvey, The Harvey Center for Integrative Medicine
It’s winter, and we are in the midst of cold and flu season. There has been significant influenza activity in Florida, so it is crucial to understand how to avoid illness.
Let’s start with personal hygiene. Remember to wash regularly, and make sure not to rub either the eyes or nose until after you wash. I recommend that we all avoid the use of hand sanitizers for a number of reasons. We can explore this topic in a future article.
Also, rest is critical for strong, resilient immune systems. So ensure that you receive enough quality sleep to feel rested in the morning. Water intake is important too because we experience dry air from the change in weather or even heating systems.
In addition, foods have a large role in our ability to ward off infection. Energizing soups full of vegetable antioxidants like carrots, tomatoes and parsley offer nourishing support for our bodies, while chicken soup can help to reduce the inflammation of the common cold. On the subject of nutrition, eliminate sugar, as each teaspoon reduces white blood cell activity. Another preventive intervention is the use of vitamin D supplements, and dose of high quality Echinacea extract like Esberitox twice a week can stimulate the body’s viral killing cells too.
However, should all our preventive actions fail to prevent illness, we need to know how to respond to the cold or flu symptoms themselves. A rapid onset high fever (101+), chills, muscle pain and cough indicate the flu. Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy which can be taken at the first sign of a flu and repeated within 12 hours twice to stop the process. If this does not work within that timeframe, it will be ineffective. In that case, I recommend Tamiflu or the new Xofluza which stops the virus in its tracks when taken within 48 hours of onset.
A gradual scratchy throat with sneezes, runny nose and possible low-grade fever (<100) indicate a cold. When you initially feel that sensation in the back of your throat, drink a cup or two of hot water, tea or coffee. The heat will deactivate much of the viral particles on your mucus linings. In addition, elevate your vitamin C intake o 4000-6000 mg daily. Also, consume one dose of 50,000 IU D3.
Finally, I recommend a tea made by boiling one-inch chopped ginger in one-quart water boiled for five minutes with one-fourth teaspoon of cayenne pepper added in the last minute. After removing from the stove, add one crushed garlic clove with the juice of one whole lemon and raw honey to taste. This is an ideal expectorant with antiviral and antibacterial properties.
If you do feel sick, be courteous to yourself and others—please stay home! If you must venture outside, it is best to wear a mask to protect the rest of us. Here’s to both health and happiness this year!