This is the time of the year that most of us fall ill, consuming far too much lemsip and floating kleenex tissues. It's not fun having a cold or flu, but do you know what's happening to our bodies during this time? Why do we fall ill this time of the year? And what's the best way to combat a cold/flu quickly and efficiently? Keep on reading!
But why do we get ill this time of the year?
If you listened to the live talk on Facebook I did with Linzi Cosgrove a wee while ago you heard me saying; you don't catch a cold you earn it. The viruses and bacterias that result in a common cold or the flu are always around us and our body is more than capable of fighting off these pathogens. However, our immune system can be compromised and not function properly during the cold winter months. And here is why:
Here the main reasons why you earn the cold/flu
Weakened immune system. This can be due to malnutrition, stress, lack of sleep, high alcohol consumption etc. It is leading up to Christmas time and we are all stressing over buying Christmas presents and decorating, its "allowed" to drink mulled wine and eat mince pies all the time, simply because it Christmas. We don't get adequate sleep because we try to do all the fun festive activities but we also have a job to do.
Days are shorter, we spend more time indoors which results in Vitamin D deficiency. This correlates with a weakening of the immune system.
During cold weather, we tend not to open windows to keep the heat in. This will result in breath the same air which can more easily be affected with cold/flu virus from someone who has got it.
Cold/flu virus flourish during cold weather and dry weather.
The cold and the flu is usually is due to a virus. The enters the mouth or nasal passage, which will release a histamine response, causing the mucous membranes to swell. Your immune system will immediately start producing antibodies to conquer the virus. The cold/flu is an intelligent immune response to combat viruses and bacteria.
Okay - so you've earned the cold/flu - What to do?
If you start to feel a cold/flu is coming on, take large doses of Vitamin C and Vitamin D within 24-48 hours. Usually, this will help the immune system fight off the virus/bacteria quickly and efficiently. Now, if this doesn't help, there are other things you can do working with your body to successfully eliminating the cold/flu.
This is what cold/flu symptoms mean
Shivering: Multiple muscle contraction in order to generate the heat to kill off viruses and bacteria.
Sweating: The body is trying to cool off through evaporation and eliminate toxins.
Vomiting and diarrhoea: The body is eliminating toxins.
Coughing and sneezing: The body is eliminating toxins.
Achiness: Is a sign that your immune system is destroying the virus/bacteria.
Fever: Now here is a cool thing - viruses, fungi and bacteria die at a high temperature. So what does your body do? It raises your body temperature. For every one degree increase in body temperature, the speed of the immune system goes up 10–12.5%. So even though fever is not a pleasant experience. It's a very bad idea taking medication that will lower the fever. This will just prolong your illness and weaken your immune system.
How to help your body combat the cold/flu
Take at least 10,000 mg of vitamin C as soon as you feel the cold/flu symptoms . Vitamin C powder is usually easiest to take for high doses but I would suggest to split the doses up in smaller ones throughout the day.
Also take Vitamin D, I usually take 5x 25 ug on a daily basis so don't be afraid taking more than 1 tablet. Even though Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D overdose is never heard off, but dont go crazy either.
If you have developed a fever drink loads of water. Fever and dehydration can be dangerous. When you first start to develop a fever take a hot bath, as hot as you can. This will help to generate the temperature form and you're going to feel a lot better afterwards. If you are laying in bed, wrap yourself in warm clothes and blankets.
If you are having a fever and are shivering, wrap yourself in warm clothes and blankets or have a hot bath. Eat spicy foods, heat generating herbs (ginger, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg) warm teas etc.
If you are having a fever and are sweating, your body is trying to cool off. Take a room temperature or cool bath/shower and change sweaty sheets and clothes.
If you are sweating, vomit or have diarrhoea supplement with electrolytes. Coconut water or raw sugar and sea salt in the water will replace the electrolytes. Drink loads of fluid to make sure you don't get dehydrated.
If you are unlucky enough to develop a cold or flu this season, please let your immune system do its work and let it go through the natural immune system responses. Taking medication to eliminate symptoms may be tempting as no one likes to be ill. But it will weaken and work against your immune system and you may develop other health conditions in the future or your body will have a harder time next time you earn the cold/flu.
Tomorrow I will post foods that are great to eat during this cold/flu season for prevention and what to eat if you've fallen ill!
Let me know in the comments if you got any natural health remedies!
ps. I'm not ill, the photos are for illustration purposes only.