The theory is that viruses like the rhinoviruses or coronaviruses replicate more easily in the cool weather. The common cold is then caught during this season when the viruses multiply and spread.
Let’s talk through how you can survive this year’s cold and flu season!
Let’s take a look at:
- Am I Sick or is it Allergies: Signs and Symptoms
- Easy Cold and Flu Prevention
- Natural Cold and Flu Remedies
- Chiropractic and Your Cold
Am I Sick or Is It Allergies?
Stuffiness, constant tiredness, headaches… it can be a little confusing. Am I actually sick or is it just my allergies? Here are some easy ways you can distinguish between the two.
Cold Signs and Symptoms
- Thick green or yellow mucus
- Bodily aches and pains
- Persistent coughing
- Low-grade fever
- Sore throat
It’s also important to take note if symptoms are changing and evolving! While allergies stay pretty much the same, a cold changes as the virus moves throughout the body. Also, a cold ends—lasting between three to 14 days before leaving the system.
Allergy Signs and Symptoms
- Clear, watery mucus
- Red or itchy, watery eyes
- Sniffles over a week
- Itchy nose or mouth
Allergies usually don’t let up! Unlike the week or two of a cold, allergy symptoms stay pretty consistent for as long as a person is in contact with their allergen. Pay special attention to whether or not you had symptoms last year at this time—seasonal allergies usually show up at the same time each year.
Easy Cold and Flu Prevention
So, how can you decrease your chances of getting sick this season? Eating right, exercising often and getting regular chiropractic adjustments all help, but there’s even more you can do. Give your immune system a boost with these cold and flu prevention tips.
Research has shown a link between weakened immune response and vitamin D deficiencies. Make sure to get your daily dose from healthy foods like egg yolks, beef, Swiss cheese, fatty fish and shiitake mushrooms or trusted vitamin D supplements.
Three nights of low quality sleep can drop your immune system function by 60 percent. Create an optimal sleeping environment: put your phone or alarm three feet away from your body, keep screen time limited and set the nighttime temperature between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ditch the Sugar
A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating 100 grams of sugar—roughly the amount in a regular soft drink or sweetened yogurt—significantly reduced the immune system’s ability to kill bacteria for up to five hours. Pay close attention to everywhere sugar lurks, even breads, dressings and condiments, and find ways to reduce your intake.
Without proper hydration, our bodies have a tough time flushing away immune system-damaging toxins. The most accurate sign you’re getting all the water you need is urine that is clear and light yellow every time you go—even first thing in the morning. If not, increase the amount of water you drink until you achieve regular pale yellow results.
Research suggests moderate-intensity exercise on a regular basis can result in fewer upper respiratory tract infections and other infections. Take a brisk walk in the evening, hit the gym in the morning or find a regimen of at-home exercises to do—it’ll be totally worth it!
The Mayo Clinic states that the stress hormone, cortisol, changes immune system responses, and the American Psychological Association has an entire field, psychoneuroimmunology, devoted to learning more about the link between the mind and health. Make sure you are regularly relieving stress; if you’re dealing with chronic stress, seek out further recommendations from a wellness care provider.
Proper Sick Hygiene
Wash your hands frequently! Sure, you hear this every year, but do you actually take the proper precautions? Cold viruses can survive on the skin for two hours at the least. Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth and contact with surfaces like doorknobs and bathroom faucets. Aim your sneezes and coughs into your elbow.
Natural Cold Remedies
So, you did your best and took proper precautions, and you still get sick? Sometimes these things happen even when you try your hardest. Instead of over-the-counter medications, here are some all-natural remedies you can try.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Known for its great antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar creates an alkaline environment that most illnesses can’t survive in. Mix a tablespoon or two into your morning tea, 2-3 times a day. Add a squeeze of lemon if you’re not loving the taste. You can even gargle it to help soothe a sore throat.
It’s time to take it easy. Your body needs to heal, and that won’t happen by running yourself down. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, and if you have a hard time lying down with your stuffy nose, sleep propped up for extra support and to encourage sinus drainage.
According to multiple studies, raw garlic is known in the natural health world as one of the most effective remedies for aiding sickness recovery. Crush one clove, and consume it with your meal or mix it into water for a quick drink.
Known as a natural cold-remedy classic, putting a quarter teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gargling is a great way of temporarily relieving a scratchy throat; it can also be put into a Neti pot and used to clear the sinus passageways and help fight congestion.
Known for helping decrease inflammation, ginger can help clear congestion and support the immune system. Research suggests it can also curb nausea and soothe a sore throat! We recommend you grate your own organic ginger as opposed to a pre-made ginger tea!
Chiropractic Care and Cold or Flu
Good health and immunity are heavily influenced by the functions of your lymphatic system—a network of organs, lymph nodes and more that traffics white blood cells through the body.
These white blood cells detect and destroy unwelcome germs and infections. As soon as any sort of health intruder so much as touches a cell, this system is on it, fighting off disease and sickness. That’s why it’s crucial to keep the lymphatic system functioning at its peak.
... But how can you do that?
The body is a complex structure, and all internal systems tend to meet at an intersection. Meaning—the lymphatic system doesn’t work alone. Two other networks that help support it are the musculoskeletal system (which transports lymph through muscle contractions) and the nervous system (your brain and spinal cord, which send out the commands.) In order to have one working at its peak, you need to address the needs and health of all three.
That’s where chiropractic comes in!
Chiropractors are masters of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, using chiropractic care to boost and improve the function of the spine and the nerves, muscles and joints around it.
Through gentle chiropractic adjustments, chiropractors are able to remove subluxations in the spine—subluxation is the term for when a spinal vertebrae moves out of position, cutting off spinal nerves and preventing communication with the rest of the body.
When these vertebrae are moved back into place, it helps the brain to communicate more effectively, and in turn allows your internal systems to function at a higher capacity—including the lymphatic system.