Fighting Back: 4 Holistic Options to Try if the Cold/Flu Catches You
It's wintertime, which means the cold and flu season is upon us again. Many people blame the seasonal changes on the increase in sickness. However, the change in temperature isn't the direct cause of these illnesses. Rather, the temperature shifts permit a different group of viruses to flourish, and it's these viruses that make people sick, said Dr. Benjamin Kaplan, an internal-medicine physician at Orlando Health in Florida. "Many studies show that rhinovirus and coronavirus are the two main agents of the common cold... Interestingly, they flourish in cooler weather, such as what we have in spring and fall."
There are many things you can do to avoid getting sick, like wash your hands regularly, exercise, eat well, get regular chiropractic adjustments, and stay away from those who are sick. These things help but what can we do when a virus does catch up with us? Below are some alternative methods of treatment for common cold and flu symptoms that could ease the symptoms and shorten the span of the sickness.
1. Zinc for Upper Respiratory Infections
A review in 2011 of 15 smaller studies published by the Cochrane group provides some evidence that zinc can help in shortening the duration of an upper respiratory infection. In six of the studies zinc appeared to shorten the cold by about a day if taken within 24 hours of cold symptoms appearing, compared to placebo. Five studies showed "that those using zinc had less severe symptoms compared to those taking a placebo." How? Ananda Prasad, MD, PhD, a professor of internal medicine who spent his career studying zinc, said that it seems to work in a couple of ways: first by "interfering with the ability of rhinoviruses, which are responsible for about 80% of all colds, to reproduce. Second, it appears to block their ability to dock on cell membranes and subsequently cause infection." While more research is needed to determine the most effective dosage, Prasad's study showed that a 13.3 milligrams dose of zinc every 3-4 hours in the form of a lozenge reduced the length of a cold from an average of 7 days to an average of 4. Side affects of taking zinc include nausea and a metallic taste in the mouth.
2. Pressurized Saline Spray for Stuffy Noses
Nasal pain and pressure resulting from a stuffy nose can be very uncomfortable. Breathing is impaired, and our sense of smell and taste seems to disappear. Use a pressurized saline solution like this one when you experience congestion. It will help to alleviate your nasal pressure by cleaning out the passage ways and loosening mucus. Xlear is another nasal spray that contains xylitol. Xylitol cleans and moisturizes the nasal passageways, preventing bacteria and other pollutants from sticking to nasal tissues.
3. Ginger for Reducing Inflammation and Nausea
Cold symptoms like a runny nose, are the body's response to fighting infection. When nasal cells are infected with the rhinovirus (cold virus), the immune system becomes more active, releasing inflammatory mediators (histamines, kinins, prostaglandins, etc.) which trigger the classic cold symptoms - runny nose, watery eyes, etc. Ginger has the ability to inhibit prostaglandin production, providing you a little relief in the process. Additionally, ginger is a well known anti-nausea alternative. While it's not clear why, researchers thing that it's ability to inhibit serotonin receptors in the stomach lining. Make a tea of boiled water and sliced ginger root.
While zinc, saline solution and ginger will help ease your symptoms, it's also important to boost your immune system through eating well, exercise and regular chiropractic adjustments. In a recent study published in the Chiropractic and Manual Therapies Journal, researchers discovered that chiropractic care has an effect of the immune system. The study found that participants who received just one single chiropractic spinal alignment experienced significant improvements in immune system functioning. After the very first manipulation, the participants’ production and overall count of white blood cells increased. White blood cells, also called leukocytes are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. By boosting production of white blood cells, chiropractic adjustments help the body to fight off foreign invaders like flu and cold viruses. And of course, chiropractic adjustments help you feel better.
Humacel is a supplement that you take at the first sign of a cold or flu. A virus must first attach itself to a cell’s membrane to initiate an infection, and Humacel prevents this action by blocking glycoproteins (the “sticky” binding sites) on the virus’ surface, preventing viral attachment, replication and infection. Humacel accomplishes this through a proprietary blend of humic and fulvic acid, blueberry extract, and other herbs. Humic acid can stop viral cell attachment and blueberry extract has numerous antioxidant properties.
Pre-clinical studies at the National Institute of Health support the efficacy of Humacel and its ability to help you fight colds. Simply take two at the first sign of a cold, and then continue to take one every few hours until the symptoms go away. We sell Humacel in office.
Ready to feel better and boost your immune system? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 510-922-1579 to schedule your next appointment.
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Saline solution will reduce the pressure and the "puffy" feeling you get when you have a nasal infection. Just spray a couple of times in each nostril and you're good to go.
Xlear Nasal Spray
Xlear is another nasal spray that also contains xylitol, a carbohydrate that prevents bacteria and other harmful pollutants from reaching your respiratory system. It also moisturizes the nasal passageways. Spray a few times in each nostril to relieve nasal congestion.
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