Helpful Suggestions To Battle The Cold And Flu Season
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This cold and flu season has been a difficult one. I’m on the tail end of battling what seemed to be a combination of strep throat, bronchitis and a plain old common cold. My doctor told me that my symptoms didn’t completely fit any of these diagnoses, but he treated me as if they did.

I tried to fight my battle holistically, resisting the need to rely on conventional medicine. Taking another little pill is something I always try to avoid, if possible. But you know how wonderful our faulty immune systems are…

Over the years I’ve done my homework, finding ways to care for myself using a combination of vitamins, using food as medicine while taking the medications I absolutely have to take.

There is no one answer to what works best for all MS patients, just like there is no one school of thought that is correct about the cause of MS. So, in the meantime, we must do our homework to find what works best for us individually, and keep our eyes and ears open to learn more about conventional and nonconventional means of caring for our bodies.

Here is a shortened list of what I take when I’m sick (and also when I’m well!) Can you add anything that you do differently? I’d love to know.

Turmeric1 – this spice, a relative of ginger, is a flavorful way to add healthy benefits to your diet. Although there’s not much research to back up claims about its powers, turmeric (curcumin) has been deemed to have anti-inflammatory powers.

Ginger2 – We use fresh ginger when stir-frying vegetables and also in our tea. We like its taste, and while there is no scientific evidence to support its health benefits, there have been scientific investigations on the effectiveness of ginger as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and anti-cancer agent. (Several years ago it helped me overcome nausea on a weeklong cruise.)

Chicken soup3 – I grew up on the “Jewish penicillin” my mother and grandmother made from a recipe handed down by my great-grandmother. These past two weeks my husband, the true cook in our family, made me his delicious version, adding swiss chard, broccoli, ginger and gluten free pasta. There’s new research to back up our grandmother’s claim that chicken soup helps with the side effects of a cold. Thanks, Grandma!

Tea – It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re sick, so drinking tea is a win-win proposition. The hot water feels soothing on a sore throat, and, according to Prevention Magazine, the “Spanish cure” that includes tea with garlic, honey, and lemon, is thought to ease colds. Here’s their recipe:

Garlic Tea Recipe: In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and 3 cloves of garlic (cut in half) to a boil. Turn off the heat when the water boils, and add 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice. Strain. Sip 1/2 cup, warm, three times a day. Refrigerate extra to use the next day.

The last few items are common sense:

  • Get plenty of rest, and stay away from loved ones to avoid exposing them.
  • Change your toothbrush and towels often. Disinfect anything you’ve touched, such as countertops, doorknobs, toilet bowel handles. Repeat this once you’re well again.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing to avoid spreading germs.
  • Get plenty of Vitamin C (large doses may reduce the duration of a cold.)

As always, discuss taking any vitamins with your doctor before taking them.

view references
  1. Klein S. 6 Health Benefits of Tumeric. The Huffington Post. October 18, 2014. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/18/turmeric-health-benefits-curcumin_n_5978482.html
  2. Bode AM. Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, Chapter 7. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/ 
  3. Schorr M. Chicken Soup Really is Good for a Cold. ABC News. October 17, 2014. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117888 
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