When the temperature fluxes from warm to freezing cold, your body becomes susceptible to airborne viruses floating around! During a wintery cold snap, humidity levels drop, causing airborne viruses to shrink. This dry atmosphere is ideal! It enables them to hang around in the air longer and even travel greater distances.
What Happens When Your Body Catches a Cold?
When you catch a cold, your body automatically triggers a response to protect itself. Immune cells and chemicals are fighting their way to get ahead of the virus — it’s attempting to minimize its ability to spread, by lowering the rate the virus is reproducing.
When you feel like you’ve been knocked down, that’s your immune cells working! Your blood vessels dilate —clearing the pathway for your immune cells to get to the infected area. This causes swelling and even raising your temperature.
Why Do I Feel So Bad When I have a Cold?
Unfortunately, feeling bad is the side effect of your immune working in overdrive! Your body gets achy, your head is foggy and your energy is at its all time low.
Let’s take coughing for instance — receptors in your lungs send signals to your brain. Your brain tells your diaphragm to clear the area by coughing.
Coughing puts a lot of stress on your muscles. Did you know that a cough can create speeds of up to 50 MPH / 80 KMH? Excessive coughing strains your abdomen and your rib muscles, resulting in sore mucles.
What Can I do to Feel Better?
The good news is that a common cold only lasts about a week. When you’re feeling the symptoms, you’re already on the road to recovery!
Things You Can do to Manage Your Cold and Flu:
Most of us are sleep deprived as it is. During time of sickness, we need even more rest. Try to take as many naps as possible and go to bed early. During sleep your body naturally heals and repairs itself.
If you find yourself coughing all night long, you’re not just keeping yourself up. You’re also keeping everyone else up~
To calm your system, consider using a Homeopathic Cold and Cough tincture. Look for a tincture that has a combination of Drosera Rotundifolia, Passiflora and Avena Sativa herbs — this combo will ease your cough, nasal congestion and relax your body.
On average, it’s recommended that we drink six to eight glasses of water a day. However, when we’re sick (especially if you’re vomiting or have diarrhea) we need to increase that amount. Hydration enables our body to clear secretions more effectively.
Hydration can take on many forms, such as soups, broth, teas and water. Try to drink fluids that do not contain sugar — it hinders the immune system and it can increase inflammation.
Adding Emergen-C to your water will give you the most bang for your hydration. You'll also be getting electrolytes which you’ve probably depleted, in addition to a dose of vitamin C.
Alternatively, an old school method that always works is a little honey with hot water. It’ll make you feel better!
When you’re sick you might feel like you were just run over! You might even find your shoulders up near your ears!
To soothe achy muscles, try to get a massage. A Registered Massage Therapist will get in the areas where you’re holding the most tension and relieve your pain.
You can also try an epsons salts bath. Magnesium sulfate helps relax the muscles and flush out toxins. The epsons salts are absorbed through your skin. However, if you don’t want to have a full bath, you can even just opt for a foot soak. You’ll still get the benefits!
Arnica creams are another solution to ease muscle pain. It’s usually used for sports injuries but a great option to relieve sore muscles and joints when you’re ill.
There are lots of natural products you can take to shorten your flu. Look to strengthen your immune system and replenish lost vitamins and minerals.
In traditional Chinese medicine, herbs such as Andrographis and Reishi mushroom are used to strengthen the immune system. These herbs have astringent qualities and they naturally promote good gut health.
Holy Basil and Oil of Oregano are also good remedies for clearing up mucous and sore throats.
What’s More Effective Tinctures or Capsules?
For an acute problem, tinctures are the way to go! In most cases (except for in children’s formulas), tinctures uses alcohol as the carrier directing the herbs directly to the liver. It provides fast absorption and the herbs start to work immediately.
Because tinctures are so concentrated, you need to take less of it — compared to a capsule or in a tea. This makes tinctures super effective and in most cases with higher concentrations.
How are Tinctures Made?
Tinctures are made by soaking the herbs in alcohol for 6 to 8 weeks. The potency of a tincture can range. Some herbs are at a ratio of 1:1 and others can be 1:10 (herb to alcohol).
Once soaked, the alcohol is infused with the herb's healing properties. The herbs are pressed. The liquid becomes your tincture used for health remedies.
Why Not Take a Regular Drug Store Cough & Cold Medicine?
Regular cold and flu medicines contain an onslaught of ingredients — from harmful chemicals, to ingredients that aren’t proven to work and even fillers.
Some cold medicines contain ingredients such as codeine (an opiate) and promethazine (a sedative). Unfortunately, these products suppress the central nervous system and respiratory system. They can contraindicative effects when mixed with other medicines, foods or alcohols.
Other chemicals include dextromethorphan used to block your cough reflex and guaifenesin used to loosen your mucus. However research has yet to prove that these chemicals actually work on cold and flu systems.
If you’re considering using a regular cold and flu syrup, know that many use high fructose corn syrup and dyes as fillers. Sugars are an inflammatory and they actually will make the cold worse! Which really defeats the purpose of taking a traditional drug store cold syrup.
Prevention is Your Best Medicine
The best medicine is prevention. Good hygiene goes a long way! Washing your hands regularly will minimize your chances of you catching a cold. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes when possible. Small airborne bacteria would love to find a home in those warm, wet areas —a perfect breeding ground.
Even when it’s cold out, try to get out for some fresh air — bundle up. Being kept inside in stale, re-circulated air won’t help.
Lastly, eat as many bright colored vegetables as possible. The richer and darker in color the more nutrients they have. Supplement what you’re not eating with natural health products to boost your immune system.