This is the time of year that people refer to as cold and flu
season. Why does it seem like we catch colds and flus more this
time of year? It has been scientifically proven that it really
isn't about the colder temperatures we are exposed to in winter
months. The old adage about wear your coat outside or you'll
catch cold turns out to be false. Our bodies however are under
more stress during cold weather as we move from heated homes and
cars to freezing outdoor temperatures. We also suffer from the
lack of moisture in heated environments. Viruses can enter the
body through mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and mouth. You
can pick up or touch something with a virus, then touch your
nose, mouth or eyes and presto, you have given the virus a way
into your body.
The Immune System
Colds and flus are both viruses. When your immune system is not
operating at its peak then you are susceptible to developing a
cold or flu. According the "Natural Science Daily" it's your
cells that catch the cold first, and that happens when the cold
virus binds to a cell. Once a cell becomes infected the virus can
spread by reproducing itself and infecting other cells.
Did you know that the health of your digestive tract has a direct
effect on how healthy your immune system is? Most people don't
realize that the majority of lymph nodes are around the digestive
tract area. These protect the body from invader cells getting in
through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
Natural killer (NK) cells are an important part of your immune
response. According to a paper published in "The Journal of the
American Nutraceutical Association," NK cells play an important
role in neutralizing foreign invaders, including pathogenic
bacteria, viruses, parasites, and diseased cells in the blood,
lymph, tissues, and organs of the human body. When NK cells come
in contact with these foreign bodies, they secrete biochemicals
that neutralize them. That is, of course, why they are called
natural killer cells. Scientific research shows that natural
foods and herbs such as blue-green algae, astragalus root, and
ginseng all support and boost the activity of NK cells.
Macrophages, a type of white blood cell, also play an important
role in the immune system in defending against invaders.
Macrophages have to be moving and circulating throughout the body
to work. Scientific research shows that certain substances
stimulate your body's macrophages. Key among them is a substance
found in brewer's yeast: beta 1,3 glucan. Beta 1,3 glucan is a
specially extracted ingredient of brewer's yeast and is not the
same as taking brewer's yeast, which will not give you the same
results. Beta 1,3 glucan, taken orally, stimulates your body's
innate immune system to, among other things, produce white blood
cells, mobilize cells to "recognize" foreign invaders, and
produce anti-microbial agents.
Colds vs. Flus
How do you know whether you have a cold or a flu? Both are caused
by viruses, but cold symptoms are milder than flu symptoms. A
sore throat usually kicks off cold symptoms followed by runny
nose, congestion and cough. There can be a low temperature, but
it is rarely over 101 degrees, and colds do not usually manifest
with a fever. Cold symptoms commonly start going away after about
a week. If they persist much longer, then there is a chance you
have developed a sinus infection, allergies or some other
condition than a common cold. Symptoms that start quickly and
then see improvement after about a week indicate you probably
have the common cold.
Flu symptoms, like cold symptoms, also can manifest with a sore
throat, congestion, and cough but are usually also accompanied by
higher grade fever, a headache, and achy muscles. Flu symptoms
also show improvement after about a week, but can leave you
lacking in energy and not feeling quite in tip top shape for
weeks. If other symptoms persist longer than a week, you may need
to consult your health care practitioner as flu can sometimes
lead to other conditions such as pneumonia.
Regardless of whether you have a cold virus or a flu virus, the
treatments are much the same. Antibiotics are only useful against
bacterial infections and therefore will not help with colds and
flus. The best treatment of course is prevention by keeping the
immune system strong and allowing your body to naturally resist
catching a cold or a flu when it is going around. If you do have
a cold or flu, there are natural solutions that can help to
Natural Solutions to Colds and Flus
Prevention is always the best medicine. So if you haven't caught
a cold or flu so far this winter, now is the time to start
strengthening your body's immune system and getting it ready to
fight off the many viruses that can lead to colds and flus.
- Get extra rest so immune cells can regenerate.
- Water, water, water. Use water two ways. Wash hands frequently
with warm soapy water for 20 - 30 seconds to get germs off the
skin. AND drinking water is the most important ingredient for
healing since you need it to flush the colds and flus out of your
- Eat more foods with antioxidants like bright colored fruits
and vegetables. Stay away from sugary and processed foods.
- Feed your friendly bacteria in your intestine by supplementing
your diet with probiotics. Probiotics, especially acidophilus,
produce substances which are antiviral and antifungal. Probiotics
also support the immune system by supporting the function of the
- Demulcent and expectorant herbs like marshmallow, slippery
elm, comfrey, mullein, and fenugreek help thin and clear out
mucous. You can find most of these herbs in tincture form at your
local health food store.
- Supplement your diet with Immusun from Simplexity Health. This
immune system support product contains pure, whole particle beta
glucan that helps with inflammation by mobilizing white blood
cells to areas of injury or inflammation. These white blood cells
(macrophages) remove damaged tissue quickly before it has time to
trigger more inflammation. Adding a single capsule of ImmuSuneach day to your diet causes your body to more actively defend
against invading germs, viruses and antigens. The ImmuSunstimulates the macrophages into action, which in turn triggers an
entire chain reaction of defense mechanisms in the body.
- Take Vitamin C and bioflavanoid supplements as they will
provide potent antioxidant benefits and support healing of the