8 Ways to Keep Colds and Flu at Bay

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washing-hands

It’s that time of year. We’re all stuck inside, windows snugly shut against the cold air, sharing sniffles, coughs, and sneezes. Germs are gleefully taking full advantage and multiplying at the speed of light.

Here are 7 simple ways to stave off any nasty bug that might be headed your way.

1.  Get to know the benefits of the Amazing Onion

You might think me a bit nutty but putting a raw, unpeeled, whole onion in a bowl by your night stand may actually absorb the flu virus. This story is re-counted by fellow blogger, Shery Jespersen, in her blurb “Onions, Fact or Folklore,” published in Mary Janes Farm magazine.

“When the 1918 flu pandemic killed 50-100 million people between 1918-1920, there was said to be a doctor who visited many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. The doctor came upon one household where everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the family was doing that was different, the wife replied that she had placed a dish of unpeeled onions in each room of the home. The doctor asked if he could have one of the onions to observe under the microscope. When he did, he found traces of the flu virus in the onion. It had absorbed the infection, keeping the family healthy.”

Onions are also quite useful when combating illness. Read about my experiments using onion as a home remedy .

2. Yell, (or whisper if you have a sore throat) “Retreat” and promptly get back into bed.

Being over-tired weakens anyone’s immune system. Sleep is the number one way to stay ahead of the curve.

3. Keep sugar to a minimum.

Sugar reduces your bodies ability to fight off illness. It also increases mucous production. Meaning, if you already have a stuffy nose and you drink a glass of orange juice or eat a brownie, you may notice that you become more stuffed up. If you feel a cold, or any sickness coming on keeping sugar at bay will help germs stay away.

4. Exercise

It is a common misconception that one should not exercise when they feel a cold coming on. Just the opposite is true. If you start to feel coldish take a brisk walk or run outside (preferably). The fresh air and movement will help get your immune system bustling at it’s full potential.

5. Drink green tea

Staying well hydrated is important all year long, but replenishing those fluids is especially important when your body is trying to fight off illness. Any tea will help soothe the discomfort of having a cold or the flu, however, green tea gives the immune-system a boost and aids in preventing and treating the common cold.

6. Have your Vitamin D levels checked

If you or your child seem to get any passing bug you might want to consider the possibility of Vitamin D deficiency. Not only does being low in Vitamin D lower immune system response but it is important to overall health. Studies have shown that being low in Vitamin D ups the risk for cancer, macular degeneration, and multiple sclerosis (to name a few). A simple blood test will be able to tell your Naturopath or Dr. if you are low in Vitamin D.

7. Try a Tincture

A tincture is a highly concentrated extract of  medicinal plants (echinacea, goldenseal, licorice root, yarrow, etc.) that have been used for centuries to treat symptoms of the cold and flu (and all sorts of other ailments) .  Home herbal remedies are not to be dismissed. Buy a tincture from a reliable source (such as your Naturopath) or learn how to make your own tinctures at home.

8. Wash those Hands!

As soon as my poor kids step over the threshold after school they hear me say “Wash your hands.” I know those germs are just waiting to perpetuate their existence in my home and I’m not interested. If you’re having a bad bout of an illness at your house, you might want to consider having your kids change clothes as soon as they come home. It means extra laundry, but it’s worth a try. When my kids were toddlers, I treated their after preschool clothes like the germ infested specimens they were, and the amount of illness that the entire family endured decreased enough to make it well worth the extra effort.

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