Preparing for the Cold and Flu Season
At Mind Body Spine, our total body approach to chiropractic care means that our treatment goes far beyond back care. We know that as fall approaches, so does cold and flu season. To help you prepare, we have created this post with tips to help you prevent and treat the common cold. Following these tips will help keep you healthy, so you can keep enjoying your active lifestyle.
What is The Common Cold?
Although it’s so common, having a cold can be a universally miserable experience. A viral infection, the common cold is believed to be caught through drops of mucus in the air or by touching hard surfaces with the virus on it.
Once the virus is on your body, it can enter through your nose and mouth. It then wreaks havoc and can cause congestion, sore throat, fever, aches, and a dry or wet cough. As your body fights the virus, you may feel both physically and mentally fatigued and generally unwell.
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
How to Prevent the Common Cold
The best way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands and keep them away from your mouth and nose. Other ways to prevent catching a cold include:
- Good Hygiene – Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and keep your hands away from your nose and mouth.
- Good nutrition – The base for a healthy body, a diet rich in whole foods will build up a natural defence against illness.
- Get plenty of vitamin D3 – Shown to prevent colds and boost the immune system, we often don’t get enough Vitamin D3 (sunshine!) due to our rainy Victoria climate.
Besides immune boosting properties, vitamin D also has many other benefits including protection against colon cancer, prostate cancer and autoimmune diseases and has also been shown to be critical for bone health. Particularly during fall and winter, many of us lack the Vitamin D3 that our bodies require. If you have low levels of Vitamin D, you may want to supplement your diet with a high-quality Vitamin D3 oil for optimum health.
- Supplement with Omega oils – A high-quality fish oil supplement can also help boost your immune system by fighting harmful bacteria. Fish oils have also been shown to increase airflow, protecting lungs from respiratory infections.
- Get plenty of sleep – Most of us don’t get the amount or quality of sleep we need. Make sleep a priority, by setting a regular bedtime and getting at least 8 hours each night. If you’re up a couple of times in the night, try to go to bed even earlier so your brain and body can make up for any missed zzz’s. Not only does a great night of sleep help you function better, it will also help guard your body against illness, ensuring that your immune system is working to defend against harmful germs.
- Lower your stress – Stress has a huge impact on the way our bodies function. Stress increases cortisol, which can influence weight gain. Stress can also affect sleep patterns, our mood, memory, increase the risk of type II diabetes, and even play a role in causing Alzheimer’s disease. When your body and mind are stressed, it becomes harder to defend against colds and flus, so it’s very important to reduce your stress levels through activities that bring peace. Lowering stress can be as simple as taking a walk through the woods, doing some yoga, reading a calming book, or spending time with loved ones. Focus on whatever helps you feel calm and happy.
- Exercise – Exercise helps build a healthy body and mind, which can help build immunity to viruses like the common cold. If you are sick and all your symptoms are above your neck such as nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose, then exercising is generally considered safe…. however it will not shorten the length of your cold. That being said, doing a few push ups or going for a walk has been shown in some cases to help with congestion. If you are exercising during a cold, it’s important to remember that your body will spend energy recovering from your workout and may have less energy to spend fighting off the virus.
- Maintain a Balanced pH – It’s important to have the proper alkaline pH in the body. Sugars will increase the acidity in your body and can increase your chances of catching a cold. Cold viruses also tend to increase the acidity in the body.
How to Treat the Common Cold
- Hydrate – Good hydration is a great way to treat a pesky cold virus. Plenty of clear fluids and warm liquids like broth or tea will both hydrate and soothe your body. Add honey to your tea for a soothing drink.
- Soothe a Sore Throat – Gargling salt water can help soothe a sore throat. Try ¼ or ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of 8-10 oz of warm water. Ice chips, lozenges or healthy popsicles also feel great on a sore throat. Try freezing your usual fruit/veggie smoothie into popsicle molds for a vitamin and nutrient packed way to combat a raw, irritated throat.
- Rest – Rest up as much as you need. Take naps and settle in on the couch with a movie or a good book. Some people enjoy quiet hobbies while they’re sick, like cross stitching, knitting, drawing, colouring, or playing a favourite video game.
- Add Humidity to the Air – Colds can often be made worse by dry air. Use a humidifier or vaporizer in your home to add moisture to the air and help loosen up chest and nasal congestion.
With a little rest and plenty of fluids, you can be feeling better in no time. Studies show that healthy, active adults often bounce back much quicker and easily from the common cold* than their less active counterparts. At Mind Body Spine, Dr. Stephanie Louie’s unique total body approach will help build the foundation to a strong, healthy mind and body. If you have questions about nutrition, exercise and overall spine health, contact your friendly Victoria BC based chiropractor today.
*If your cold symptoms seem extreme, be sure to contact a medical professional. Symptoms of Covid-19 include high fever, persistent cough and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 811 and follow the directions of your local health authority.