Fall is upon us and winter is in the not so distance future. While this is great for our beautifully green Pacific Northwest landscape, our bodies will need some extra care and consideration to stay healthy during the cold and rainy days. Now is the time to brace yourself for the cold and flu season.
Many families are starting to notice the first sniffles of the season, or have already gone through the first wave of sickness. There seems to be a never ending cycle of germ passing that cannot be escaped: children pass it to their friends at school, who then pass it to their parents, who then bring it to work to share with coworkers, who then bring it home…and the cycle continues.
But don’t worry, there are things you can do to prevent and break this cycle! Additionally, if you are already feeling sick, these preventative tips will also help to combat the virus to get you feeling better faster.
1. Get Enough Sleep
One of the best remedies for fighting off a cold about to start is making sure you get enough sleep. When we are tired, our immune systems are weakened and can easily be overcome by a cold or the flu. To counteract this, we have to make sure we are well rested to support our immune systems.
Recommendation: Make time to sleep 8-10 hours a night for optimal immune support and body regeneration.
2. Stay Warm
There have been many studies that show being cold actually decreases the effectiveness of our immune systems, making us more susceptible to colds and illnesses. Similarly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, being cold upsets the balance of Qi in the body making it easier to get sick.
As the temperature drops and the mornings and nights begin to cool down, it is important to bundle up and stay warm. Be sure you do not completely avoid going outside and being active because fresh air and sunlight are imperative to good health too. However, be sure to wear enough layers so your body does not get cold.
Recommendation: Layer up! Even a quick chill can tip your immune system over the edge.
3. Avoid Cold Foods and Drinks
Along with staying warm, avoid eating cold foods and drinks. Just as external cold can upset the balance of Qi in the body, ingesting cold foods and drinks bring cold and damp energy internally which further imbalances the body. Therefore, eat and drink warm foods like hot teas and warm soups to help heat your body up.
Recommendation: Drink warm teas and eat warm meals.
4. Drink Ginger and Green Onion Tea
Ginger green onion tea has long been used as a remedy for colds and coughs. The ingredients contain immune boosting properties, while the herbal tea sooths and relaxes our bodies. When our bodies are in a state of calmness and induced relaxation, they are more receptive to healing and preventing sicknesses.
At the first sign of a cold (tickle in the throat, runny nose, excessive fatigue), brew yourself a big warm cup of ginger and green onion tea to combat the oncoming cold. This tea is simple to make and can help prevent a cold from setting in if paired with enough rest and staying warm. You can find the recipe for the tea here.
Recommendation: Drink 16-24oz of warm ginger and green onion tea before bed.
5. Acupuncture and Herbs for Immune Support
Acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine healing modalities can improve the overall function and effectiveness of your immune system. This is both a preventative and restorative measure in that you will be able to fight off oncoming colds or recover faster if you are already feeling sick. Along with the tips above, getting regular treatments during the cold and flu season may be the ticket you need to stay healthy this winter.
Recommendation: Schedule an appointment for immune boosting treatments.
There are options out there to help us feel better and prevent sicknesses from overtaking our bodies, but it is up to us to take advantage of these tips and tricks. The first step is being an strong advocate for your own health. You don’t have to wait until you are sick to do something. Preventative care is essential to a happy and healthy life and at G&L Acupuncture and Wellness Center we whole-heartedly believe in the power of preventative holistic medicine for good health.