The cold and flu season is upon us. This season, I’ve become increasingly aware that a lot of people don’t realize that Acupuncture, supplements and herbal medicine can be incredible resources to help mitigate the cold and flu.
First, a little background.
The viruses that cause the cold and flu are around us all the time. It’s only when our immune system is caught off guard that we end up feeling sick. Our bodies have a strong defense against bacteria and viruses, so much that we may not ever know we were exposed. It is when our immune system becomes taxed that we become more susceptible to illness. Many factors affect the immune system including fewer sunlight hours, cold weather, dry air, stress, physical fatigue, emotional upsets, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Generally, there are four stages of a cold or flu. Because your body needs different things, each stage requires a different approach.
This is the moment we notice we are a little off. The body has had some exposure and is starting its fight against the pathogen. Symptoms include stiff neck, chills, sore throat and fatigue. Drinking ginger tea and miso soup with scallions can support the body as it tries to kick out this cold before it starts. Rest is a must and sweat if possible. Consider taking the day off to get ample rest. One afternoon of rest may prevent a week of sick days. Onset is the ideal time to call your Acupuncturist for a treatment and herbs.
This is the time most of us associate with being ‘sick’ and we have full blown symptoms. Soups, liquids, easily digestible proteins, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates will support the body. Sugars and simple carbs reduce immunity, so try to avoid them. At this stage, many of us are forced to rest. Acupuncture can help if we have the energy to go to an appointment. Take supplements, herbs and meds to reduce symptoms.
This is the period where we feel well enough to go back to work but still may not feel 100%. There are some remaining symptoms, such as a stubborn cough or a runny nose. Warm liquids can help to break up phlegm and cough. Warm water with lemon and honey is especially great for soothing the throat. Herbs and Acupuncture can support the body through this stage.
After a cold is a great time to think about immune boosting Acupuncture treatments and supplements. The body has just waged a war and may need a bit of a tune up. A round of probiotics and specific immune-boosting supplements can help. Nutrient rich foods that help the body to build Qi and blood, such a bone broth, are essential along with continued rest.
No matter which stage of illness you find yourself, there are always ways you can help support your body in its fight to remain healthy. Even if you have never had acupuncture before, a visit to my practice can help you on your journey back to wellness. Contact me for more information today.