The end of the year signifies so many things: holidays, winter sports, family time and in a lot of cases: cold season!
Colds are typically harmless infections, which present with runny nose, sneezing, cough and sore throat – most healthy immune systems can fight these infections off on their own. That being said, a cold can be a huge inconvenience and ruin a vacation by being out of commission for a few days. This article will describe a few ways you can help yourself get through cold season easier.
Prevention is Key
Prevention involves a few main focuses, including simple lifestyle modification as well as building a robust immune system. We’ll discuss the immune system shortly, but first, lets think about simple things we can do to avoid the cold altogether.
- Hand Washing: most of the time colds are spread through contact, so when you’re out and about washing your hands is important. Simple soap and warm water do the trick.
- Avoid touching everything: that’s not to say don’t touch anything, but when its cold season, be more mindful of what your hands touch, and what you put in your mouth. Research has indicated people who touch their faces LESS during cold season get the cold less often, which goes to show how contact is associated with the incidence of the common cold.
A Healthy Immune System
A healthy immune system is paramount in avoiding the cold and fighting one off. A healthy immune system is one which can turn on quickly when needed but most importantly mount a significant attack against the invading virus to kill it off quickly.
Our immune system requires proper nutrition and properly managed stress responses to work effectively. In working with diet and nutrition as well as working on how stress affects your body, we can strive to build the immune system up so it’s ready to fight anything!
What If I Get a Cold?
Remember, a cold is a simple viral infection. Generally, we consider them self-limiting which means our body will deal with the infection on its own. People who are very young, very old or immune compromised tend to require special attention to fighting off infections; if you fall into this category please seek individualized medical advice.
Infections fighters are vitamins, minerals and other supplements which help “kill” viruses (or other pathogens) naturally.
How do they work? None of these things target the virus directly, they work indirectly, by activating the immune system is specific ways.
Think about Vitamin C for example: vitamin C doesn’t find the virus and kill it itself, the way it works is by increasing the immune cells which would then go find the virus and kill it. Same is for every herb or other nutrient you may consider for immune killing.
Depending on the type of infection you have, there are a wide range of supplements proven to be effective. Consult with a Naturopath to find the best ones for you, as some can be more indicated, and others can be dangerous if combined with the wrong medications.
Detoxification is the process of getting junk out of your system. Detox as a combined effort between your skin, breathing, liver, kidney and intestine, all targeting toxins and ‘waste-products’ throughout your body. Detox is important, especially during the fighting of an infection.
While our immune system is killing viruses (or other infections), it’s imperative our body can cleanse itself.
Once again, there are many natural ways to promote detoxification, including lifestyle modification and supplements.
Some simple activities help with detox, including exercise, vegetable consumption, proper hydration, massage and regular bathroom habits (urine and bowel movements).
Supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs) can be used in conjunction to help the organs of detoxification (liver, kidney etc); once again please book in with your naturopath to learn more.
Why Focus on Fighting A Cold When Your Body Will Fight It On It’s Own?
This is an important discussion. Firstly, it’s important you do get colds from time to time, it builds memory into your immune system and a healthy immune system is one that gets tested from time to time.
If you’re concerned with lost time (can’t afford to call in sick, don’t want to ruin your vacation), then focusing on cold prevention is important. You may also have someone in the house whose system isn’t as well equipped to fight an infection, which means your ability to fight it off quicker may be important.
And at the end of the day, who wants to be feeling sick for longer than they need to!
For more information, book in for a free consult to learn if boosting your immune system would be good for you.
Dr. Johann de Chickera
Dr. Johann completed his 4-year degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Toronto. His clinical focus lies in chronic disease, such as those related to the Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Immune Systems.
Johann joined Body Co. in 2019, with enthusiasm and desire to joint a forward thinking, integrity driven and results-based multi-disciplinary clinic. Having worked alongside physiotherapists, massage therapists, osteopaths and other health care providers, he is confident he will complement the current providers and help maximize new and existing patients’ overall care.
His approach to medicine relies on working with the patient to come up with a feasible, multi-factorial approach that addresses all complaints at once. He employs a strong background in diagnostic medicine and human physiology and pathology to diagnose and treat. His treatment involve a combination of nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, eastern medicine (acupuncture), nutraceutical supplementation and hands on physical medicine.