COLD, COUGH & CONGESTION EDUCATION
Having a working knowledge of seasonal illnesses—what causes them and how to best avoid them—is the first and most important step in keeping you in control of your health. Therefore, this is the topic that we will review today—a little education can go a long way in assisting you to protect yourself and your loved ones from coughs, colds and congestion.
First we should know what these ailments are:
WHAT IS THE FLU? The flu is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. These viruses spread when people who have the flu cough, sneeze or talk, sending droplets carrying the virus into the air and potentially into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
WHAT IS A COUGH? Coughing is an important reflex that helps protect your airway and lungs against irritants. Coughing can propel air and particles out of your lungs and throat at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Occasional coughing is normal as it helps clear your throat and airway of germs, mucus and dust.
WHAT IS A COLD? A cold is caused by a virus that causes inflammation of the membranes that line the nose and throat. The common cold is very easily spread to others. It's often spread through airborne droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air by the sick person. The droplets then are inhaled by another person.
WHAT IS CONGESTION? Nasal congestion can be caused by anything that irritates or inflames the nasal tissues. Infections—such as colds, flu or sinusitis—and allergies are frequent causes of nasal congestion and runny nose. Sometimes, a congested and runny nose can be caused by irritants, such as tobacco smoke and car exhaust.
The main question: Why are some more pre-disposed to getting these ailments than others?
Reason #1 - Excessive sugar consumption during the holidays Sugar comes in the form of desserts, highly processed foods, and alcohol served during the usual holiday parties, dinners and rituals. Sugar affects body pH. Eating lots of sugar during the holidays causes altered internal pH levels, resulting in a more acidic body. It is believed that an acidic environment is a breeding ground for disease, whereas an alkaline body promotes good health. Refined sugar may even be damaging to the digestive system, particularly for those who have difficulty digesting carbohydrates. This easily can create the perfect breeding ground for seasonal illness. Have you ever noticed how so many more people become ill after Thanksgiving rather than before? Those illnesses continue through the holidays into the cold winter months, unless one knows how to deal with them.
Reason #2 - Weak immune system An unhealthy lifestyle consists of inadequate sleep, inactivity, lack of sunlight, as well as eating processed foods (instead of whole foods). Healthy foods have the right ingredients to amplify immune response. The immune system's job is to identify, target, and destroy viruses, bacteria, and cells that do not belong in the body. If a person is routinely getting sick, their immune system probably isn't doing its job. Winter months tend to reduce exposure to sunlight and thwart our body's need for consistent daily exercise.
Reason #3 - Stress and suppression during the holidays You can choose your friends but not your family. This can be a problem for those who want to stay away from the "toxic" people in their lives—people who seem to like to invalidate or suppress others—but are forced to interact with toxic family members during the holidays. Add this element to excessive sugar intake and a weak immune system, and you have the perfect environment for illness to breed.
Next question: How can we avoid seasonal illnesses?
1 - Reduce sugar intake. Take a bite but don't eat the whole dessert. Take a sip, but don't drink the whole glass of alcoholic cheer.
2 - Get as much sleep as possible during the holidays. Turn off the morning alarm & go to bed as early as possible.
3 - Eat nutrient-dense foods. Eat well between parties so you are not hungry when you’re there.
4 - Supplement with vitamins D, C, B and zinc. This great article explains how to do this.
5 - Try putting a hydrogen peroxide solution in a diffuser during the night, or nebulize a hydrogen peroxide solution before or after you socialize with people—or both! Hydrogen peroxide kills anything! Go here for more information on how to do this.
6 - Schedule some form of daily exercise. Many great video classes are available now. Here is one of our favorites. There are many more available on the Internet.
7 - Try the Dr. Cole's Herbal Remedy that enhances your immune system naturally.
Look for our next blog where Dr. Cole explains how to best respond to a cough, cold or congestion.
Have a productive and happy first week of January!
Dr. Cole's Support Team