Oregano oil can help your immune system stay strong.
a) True b) False
Cold and flu are viruses, not bacteria. For this reason, they cannot be treated with antibiotics.
a) True b) False
It is important to take vitamin D in winter because
a) there is no sun b) because vitamin D helps you feel happier c) both a and b
Check your answers below.
Cold and Flu Season in Canada
Many new immigrants start using Canadian medications when they get a cold or a flu. The reason you catch a cold is your weakened immune system. You can keep your immune system strong and never get a cold. Or, if you do catch a cold or flu virus, you can get rid of it naturally.
How to keep your immune system strong
1. Get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every day. This is important because your body repairs itself during sleep.
2. Reduce sugar. Too much sugar makes your immune system weak. Enjoy fruits, honey or use stevia extract as a calorie-free sweetener.
3. Wash your hands. Washing your hands prevents colds and flu better than a flu shot! Rub your hands against each other and wash for 10-15 seconds minimum. When in a public place (for example, on a bus or subway), do not touch your eyes and your mouth with your hands. Avoid antibacterial soaps because they kill both bad and good bacteria.
4. Eat garlic. Raw garlic contains ‘allicin’ which works like antibiotic. If you have to work face-to-face with clients, don’t eat raw garlic before that – eat it in the evening or on the weekend.
5. Exercise. Your body gets weaker without exercise. 30 minutes a day is recommended for adults.
6. Take oregano oil. 1 – 3 drops a day keeps the doctor away 🙂 It acts as a natural antibiotic and is very effective in keeping your immune system strong. You can get it from any health food store.
7. Take vitamin D and Omega 3 from fish oil. In Canada, we don’t get sun on our skin in winter, so we must take vitamin D. Vitamin D has numerous health benefits including helping you feel happier and fight winter blues. For more on the antidepressant properties of vitamin D, click HERE.
8. Use warm spices when cooking: ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper and garlic. Make ginger tea by pouring some boiling water over the freshly chopped ginger.
9. Dress warm when going outside – wear layers (read about dressing for Canadian winter and wearing layers HERE).
10. Drink a lot of water. Winter is a heating season – the heat in your house or apartment is nice but it leaves you dehydrated and makes your skin dry. When you are dehydrated, you have no energy.
How to Treat Cold and Flu
Antibiotics cannot help
Both flu and cold are caused by viruses and cannot be treated with antibiotics because antibiotics can only kill bacteria. There are two main differences between cold and flu: flu feels worse – there is usually very high fever and really bad all body pain.
Over-the-counter medications can prolong your cold
If you have mild fever, do NOT take fever reducing over-the-counter medication. Fever is how your body is fighting the virus. Your body needs fever. Monitor your fever with a thermometer to make sure it doesn’t get dangerously high but let it run its course and you will recover faster. If your fever is low, do not take any medication. Higher temperature kills the virus – let your body fight. Be patient for two days and you will feel better. Only take medication if you have extremely high fever to bring it down.
Do not give medication to children under 4
Many medications that are labelled ‘Children’s’ are dangerous for very young children. If you decide to buy any, read the age instructions very carefully. OTC (over-the-counter) medications for cough and cold have serious side effects and should NEVER be given to small children!
Cough syrups are not helpful
Coughing is a natural way your body is getting mucus out of your lungs. Cough syrups make the mucus stay inside! So don’t use them unless absolutely necessary, for example if cough is too painful or you have an important presentation at work.
How to get rid of your cold or flu naturally
You need to sleep as much as you can – not watch TV in bed but actually sleep – your body repairs itself during sleep. If you can take a day or two off work, do it. And sleep! You will need to put two or three pillows and sleep almost in a sitting position – do not lie down as usual because you will start coughing.
2. Sea Salt
Gargle with salt water (1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt per a glass of water) – do this four times a day. In addition, you can gargle with chamomile or sage leaves.
3. Chicken soup
Buy or make chicken soup (or you can buy chicken broth from a supermarket) – drink it! Cook your chicken soup with garlic, onion and red chili pepper.
4. Drink a lot
Make ginger tea with lemon and honey – and drink a lot of other liquids too. You need to drink so much liquids that your urine will be almost clear. Buy raw unpasteurized honey. All regular honey has been processed at high temperature which destroys some of the good stuff in it.
5. Inhale steam
Inhale steam – from a cup of tea, from a pot with boiled water (cover your head with a towel), or while taking a shower.
6. Get a humidifier
If you have a heater in your house/apartment, the air will be very dry – you need to add moisture to the air. Get a humidifier or a vaporizer from a store, or place a wet towel near the heater and change it when it gets dry (keep it wet).
7. Hot packs
Place a hot pack on your sinuses (on and around your nose). You can buy hot/cold packs from any pharmacy – they are reusable.
8. Vitamin C
Take vitamin C – buy 1000 mg and take 2-3 at a time – maximum 6 or 7 per day (human body can handle up to 7000 mg a day but if you get diarrhea, reduce the doze). However, it is better to get natural vitamin C from vegetables: one green or yellow bell pepper has 340 mg of vitamin C (one orange only has 70 mg.)
9. Neti pot
Neti pots are very popular now – you can buy them at a pharmacy and learn how to use – this prevents runny nose and cough and is very effective
10. Raw Garlic
Eat a little bit of raw garlic – it will help kill the virus inside you. Eating ginger, pepper and spicy foods helps open your sinuses and helps you breathe.
What NOT to do:
do not stay in any cold place
do not use over-the-counter medications (they can make your cold last longer)
do not eat sugar (cookies, cakes, etc.) – sugar suppresses your immune system (wait till you get healthy, then enjoy your cookies)