Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Fight Colds and Flu Naturally, Part Three

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the actual things you can do EASILY to fight colds and flu naturally.

In the last couple of articles (Part One, Part Two), we talked about the fact that antibiotics don’t kill viruses; and we also talked about how to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics to fight a viral infection is like urinating in a fan to take a shower… it may feel like you’re helping, but you’re just making things worse!

I don’t have the exact stats in front of me, but I would venture to state that 90% of infections are resolved naturally by your body; often without you ever knowing it was there. Your ability to fight off infections is dictated primarily by the strength and health of your immune system. The immune system is a complex conglomeration and cooperation of cells, proteins, organs, and other items that are designed to recognize and destroy invading organisms. The proper way to fight off infections or illness naturally is to strengthen and boost this immune system in order that your body can do what it’s supposed to do. Here are some of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system:

  1. Take extra Vitamin C – If you’re healthy and not at risk, 500 mg is usually a good daily amount to shoot for. However, during flu season and/or if you’re at risk of exposure, you can bump this amount up to 2,000-3,000 mg per day. This vitamin increases the production of white cells and interferon, an antibody that stops viruses from entering cells.
  2. Eat garlic – Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, antihelminic (anti-worm), antifungal, and anticancerous. It’s good… eat it regularly or take a quality supplement.
  3. Probiotics – These are the “friendly” bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. They serve multiple purposes including warding off invading bacteria and properly digesting your food for improved absorption of the nutrients you are eating.
  4. Drink lots of water – Water is the fluid of life. During an illness, there are tons of toxins and wastes that your body is trying to get rid of. Your body must have an ample supply of fresh water in order wash out these harmful substances and to carry good nutrients and immune cells to the sites of infection for battle. If you aren’t drinking enough water, it’s like flushing a toilet with the tank empty… you can’t get rid of the waste, and things just get more and more dirty.
  5. Stop eating sugar! – Not only will sugar feed the infection, but it reduces the effectiveness of white blood cells (your “killer” cells) for up to three hours after ingesting it. Double whammy negative.
  6. Zinc – This nutrient is essential to optimal operation of the immune system.
  7. At the first sign of infection, take Echinacea – This Native American herb has long been valued for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Studies indicate that it can stimulate production of immune cells. To make sure you’ve got a good quality source, put some on your tongue and you should feel a slight numbing sensation. No tingle… no good.
  8. Get plenty of rest – Simply speaking, if you’re using all of your energy and fuel on daily activities or work, you have less energy that your immune system can use to fight off illness.
  9. Avoid dairy products and red meat – These can actually increase mucous production and worsen clogged sinuses.
  10. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and smoking – These are all well known to decrease immune function.
  11. Sip Ginger tea – This is a warming herb that soothes the throat, and aids circulation. It helps cleanse the body and increase perspiration which can help with fever.
  12. Humidity helps – Infections and viruses thrive in cold, dry environments. Stay warm and increase the humidity of your environment. Sleep in a closed room with a humidifier or vaporizer running. Take hot, steamy showers. If you’re feeling dizzy and don’t feel safe standing in the shower, close the bathroom and run the shower on hot while seated nearby… sit back, relax, and breathe the steam in through the nose if possible.
  13. Ease sore throat pain by drinking hot herbal teas – Ginger, peppermint, marshmallow (the herb, not the sugar puffs), or slippery elm all make good herbal teas when you’ve got congestion and/or a sore throat. One of my favorites is strong green tea sweetened with a little honey and one drop of organic peppermint oil.
  14. Eat something spicy – horseradish and cayenne are good for loosening the sinuses, increasing circulation, and increasing perspiration. Again… warming herbs.
  15. Eat warming foods that are easy to digest – Like chicken noodle soup or other broths. And you thought this was just Gramma’s solution. Turns out Grandma was a pretty smart old bird. Want to make them even better tasting and more effective? Season them with cayenne, garlic, or ginger.
  16. Wash, cleanse, clean – This seems like a no-brainer, but often we don’t take it far enough. Wash your hands regularly; especially if someone else in the house is sick. Change and wash the sheets on the bed and pillowcases. Disinfect the bathrooms and kitchen. Use a new toothbrush. Wash the throw blankets on the couch. Etc. Think about all of the different things you come in contact with that can harbor bacteria or viruses even for a short time (computer keyboard, mouse, telephone,… everything). Clean these things regularly to avoid re-infection.

So, let’s wrap it up and recap. One more time… antibiotics don’t kill viruses. Stop demanding or rushing to antibiotics every time you feel a sniffle coming on. Most infections can be fought off naturally. It’s what your body’s immune system is designed to do. One of the best things about boosting your immune system and fighting colds and flu naturally is that your body develops antibodies that stay in your system to increase your immunity the next time you are exposed to a virus or bacteria. This means you are less likely to succumb to an infection or illness if you come in contact with it again.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment here or send me an email. Good luck, and stay healthy!

Dr. Gray


One Response to “Fight Colds and Flu Naturally, Part Three”

  1. […] Fight Colds and Flu Naturally, Part Three […]

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