Tag Archives: flu

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Cold And Flu Prevention for Healthy Families

Cold and Flu Prevention for Healthy Families

 

Our health professionals at Erin Mills Optimum Health in Mississauga enjoy speaking on cold and flu prevention regularly for our healthy families, and are also seen in the community speaking on natural health topics as well.  Check below for dates and times of events or connect with our doctors in Mississauga!

Also, Check out our office blog on Snort Sniffle Sneeze No Antibiotics Please.

Healthy Families: How to Prevent Cold & Flu

In this seminar, Dr. Wyse discussed differences between cold & flu, Why our body mounts a fever and how to make that fever effective and how to optimize our health to prevent the cold & flu from taking over our household.

 

Naturopathic Doctor Tiffany Wyse presenting health class at Goodness Me in Mississauga
Naturopathic Doctor Tiffany Wyse presenting a health class at Goodness Me in Mississauga
health presentation in Mississauga no antibiotics please
Dr. Peever and Dr. Tiffany presenting this topic in Mississauga at Goodness Me.

Here are some notes from Dr. Tiffany’s talk on Cold and Flu prevention for the family:

How can we prevent the flu?

We can OPTIMIZE the resilience of the body.

The flu is an opportunistic pathogen. When a person’s immune system is run down it presents an “opportunity” for the pathogen to infect the body.

The immune system becomes run down from:

  • highly refined diets
  • refined sugar
  • chronic stress
  • lack of sleep
  • can you think of more?

 

What is the difference between

a cold and the flu?

COLD FLU
onset: gradual, 1 to 3 days rapid, 3 to 6 hours
duration: 4 to 10 days 1 week to several
fever: little or none high often with chills
coughing: hacking, productive cough dry, unproductive cough
aches: slight severe
sneezing: common uncommon
stuffy nose: common uncommon
sore throat: common uncommon
chest discomfort: mild to moderate often severe
headache: fairly uncommon common
chills: uncommon fairly common

 

Lifestyle for cold and flu prevention

  • Ensure adequate rest – 8 hours in ideal. Restful sleep is healing and restorative
  • Wash hands with soap frequently during the day
  • Do deep breathing exercises
  • Walk and do stretching exercises to boost the immune system

(Note: Extreme aerobic exercises and weight training are best minimized if you have any of the above symptoms)

  • Dry skin brushing and contrast showers are useful to support optimal lymphatic system function
  • Remember that ‘emotional’ stress, fear and worry can depress the immune system
  • Allow and respect a fever. A fever of 1-3 degrees above normal core body temperature (37.5 degrees Celsius) has a profound effect on immune modulation and optimizes the healing response

 

Nutrition for cold and flu prevention

This is a good time to incorporate preventative measures to help strengthen the body’s immune defenses.

Some beneficial choices include:

  • Immune Boosting Astragalus
  • Vitamin D – It is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Remarkably, researchers have found that 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day abolished seasonal influenza. This is somewhat surprising, as it is half the dose of what most adults need to achieve ideal levels of vitamin D. The best source for vitamin D is direct sun exposure. For many of us, especially in our Canadian climate, this just isn’t possible during the winter so supplementation is recommended. In order to prevent the flu, children and adults need 35 IU of vitamin D per pound of body weight. So, for example, a child weighing 57 pounds would need 2,000 IU a day of vitamin D.
  • Drink plenty of fresh, pure water daily – we recommend half of your body weight in ounces (for a person weighing 150 lbs., drink 75 ounces of water). Water is essential for the optimal function of every system in the body
  • Avoid too many sweets or processed foods – these foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability
  • Eat 5-8 locally grown organic fruits and vegetables every day – they are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals
  • Include mushrooms, especially Reishi, Shiitake, Chaga and Maitake, which contain beta glucans (with immune-enhancing properties)
  • Use Coconut oil – it is antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral when used topically or eaten
  • Use vitamin C daily – Young children (under 5) can take 250mg twice a day and older children can take 500mg twice a day
  • Include probiotic as a part of your daily supplement regime as well as consuming plenty of probiotic rich fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, etc…
  • Eat garlic, regularly – it is a potent antimicrobial that kills bacteria, viruses AND fungi
  • Exercise – preferable outdoors in the fresh air – regular, moderate exercise can reduce your risk for respiratory illness by boosting your immune system. Be careful though and do not overdo it, over-exercising can actually place more stress on the body, which can suppress the immune system–and you don’t want that either. You might just go for a walk if you are coming down with something

When to seek immediate medical emergency

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Ways that a Naturopath can help treat a cold or flu:

HERBAL strategies:

If you or a loved one happens to contract a cold or flu there are many natural options that can shorten the duration of an illness and lessen the symptoms.

I have included a number of suggestions here. You may choose what works best for you. The herbal medicine that we use comes from Viriditas Herbal Products, which use the highest quality organic herbs and are crafted in a precise artisanal manner.

If you buying herbs on your own, look for those that are organically grown and be sure that they are fresh.

herbal teas/tinctures:

Echinacea of course is the king of the cold/flu herbs, and deservedly so. Besides stimulating many aspects of the immune system, it also helps stop the infiltration of germs deeper into the body by inhibiting the enzyme hyaluronidase. This is what bacteria like Staph and Strep use to break down the body’s lining and penetrate deeper.

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) is safe, gentle, and capable of both preventing and fighting viral infections. Echinacea can be used in small preventative doses throughout cold and flu season or in larger doses for fighting sickness. Use of echinacea has been shown to shorten the duration of colds. The tincture is the single most effective way to give children this medicine. For maximum effectiveness during an acute infection it’s important to give echinacea tincture in therapeutic doses.

Dose:

1 drop of extract per 2 pounds of
the child’s body weight (i.e., a 50-pound child would get 25 drops, every 2 to 4 hours, depending upon the severity of the infection).

It can be given diluted in 1/4 cup of water, tea, or diluted natural fruit juice.

In children over one year honey may be added.

 

Elderberry as a tablet or concentrated juice daily.
rx a defense by gaia herbs 1-2 caps daily or andrographis tabs daily.

Elderberry: In one study, published in the Journal of International Medical Research, elderberry syrup reduced the severity of flu symptoms and shortened their duration by about four days. Elderberry extract is also known for inducing sweating, and helps relieve congestion.

 

At the first signs of illness start:

Cold and flu tea, drink hot 3-4 times daily.
increase the rx a defense or andrographis to 2 caps four times daily. increase vitamin c to 2-3 times daily.
vitamin d – 1000iu for children; 2000-3000iu for adults per day. gargling with salt water.
neti pot with saline solution or warm water.
flew away by natura 2 caps 3-4 times daily, or
esberitox as directed on the box.
probiotics with each meal.

Hydrotherapy

try a wet sock treatment for upper respiratory congestion and sinus pressure. After a warm bath or shower put a pair of cotton socks wet with cold water on to the feet with a plastic bag over each sock and get into bed with extra blankets. Keep the socks on 1/2 hours or until they feel warm. this hydrotherapy technique might sound a little crazy but it helps more times than not.

The remedies listed here are intended for children over the age of two. For treating younger children with herbs, consult your health care practitioner.


Dr. Aisling Lanigan recently presented her “Prevention of Colds and Flu” class at Goodness Me! Mississauga.

Check out the pictures from the event below and schedule an appointment if you want to apply Naturopathic health strategies to your life in order to prevent colds and flus!

 

Dr. Aisling Lanigan presenting at Goodness Me! Mississauga on preventing colds and flus
Dr. Aisling Lanigan presenting at Goodness Me! Mississauga on preventing colds and flus
Dr. Aisling Lanigan presenting at Goodness Me! Mississauga on preventing colds and flus
Dr. Aisling Lanigan presenting at Goodness Me! Mississauga on preventing colds and flus
Dr. Aisling Lanigan presenting at Goodness Me! Mississauga on preventing colds and flus
Dr. Aisling Lanigan presenting at Goodness Me! Mississauga on preventing colds and flus

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Aisling Lanigan and Michael Callachan

Keep Sickness Away

Hi everyone!

I’m the new Naturopath at Erin Mills Optimum Health, Dr. Michael Callachan. I’ll be filling in for Dr. Aisling Lanigan for the next few months while she is on maternity leave.

Cold and flu season is upon us once again so I thought I would offer some insight on how you can keep sickness away in order to be flu-free this winter.

Here are my 5 suggestions to keep sickness away:

1. Vitamin D:

The sunshine vitamin is typically lacking in the winter as the sun is less intense in the winter and many people do not get enough sun exposure as sun bathing in January in Canada is unpopular. There are few good food sources of vitamin D adding to the problem. Supplementing vitamin D, specifically D3, is the only way to prevent deficiency over the winter months. Why am I telling you this? Because vitamin D is important for immune function. Having adequate D3 levels tempers the inflammatory response of some white blood cells while boosting the production of antimicrobial proteins of others. Vitamin D is generally inexpensive and safe at dosages necessary to optimize levels in the body. It is a fat soluble vitamin so for proper absorption it needs to be in a fat emulsion so make sure you are taking a liquid or gel capsule version of D3.

2. Sleep:

Sleep is important to immune function. It ranks as one of the more important things you can do to prevent colds and flus. The National Sleep Foundation says that inadequate sleep has a negative impact on immune function, and chronic sleep deprivation can increase the likelihood of contracting infectious disease. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep. If you are having issues getting the necessary amount of sleep seek out help and be well rested and free of infectious disease!

3. Stress:

Keep your stress levels as low as you can. Stress negatively impacts your immune system. High stress levels impair normal immune function making it work harder thereby lowering resistance to infection. While it is likely not possible to completely remove all stress, discharging stress and preventing build up of stress will pay off with less colds and flus. Reducing stress will have positive impacts in many different areas of your life.

4. Nutrition:

Eating a healthy balanced diet has been shown to boost immune function. Have lots of garlic! It has antimicrobial properties that may help prevent infection. Plus it tastes great. Keeping hydrated will also have positive effects on immunity. Drink lots of water and herbal teas to help keep your watery insides moist and happy.

5. Hygiene:

Frequent hand washing has been shown time and again to help prevent infection. Keep your hands clean. Even if you do get sick keep your hands clean to prevent spreading colds and flus to others. Flu virus particles can be spread up to 6 feet as aerosols from coughing and sneezing. Cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing. Do not use your hands, as this will facilitate transmission via contamination of surfaces that you subsequently touch.

There you have it friends, 5 reasonable and effective ways to keep sickness away in order to prevent colds and flus this winter. If you do get sick, stay home. You need your rest and going out into the world will make you sicker or prolong your illness and risk spreading it to others. There are treatments that Naturopathic Doctors use that can help reduce the length of illness and the severity. If such treatment options are of interest to you please discuss them with a Naturopathic Doctor.

Thanks for reading everyone,

Dr. Michael Callachan

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How to Boost your Immune System

How to boost your immune system

Treatment and Prevention of Colds, Flus and General Immune System Support

Naturopathic Treatment of colds and flus:

 

Vitamin C: There is a treatment for the common cold after all. Vitamin C given in doses of 1000-8000 mg per day may reduce the duration of a cold episode by as much as 48%. [Does Vitamin C Alleviate the Symptoms of the Common Cold? – A Review of Current Evidence Scan J Infect Dis 1994;26:1-4.]

Oregano or Berberis complex: these herbs are anti-microbial. When taken 3x/day can stop any bacterial infection and decrease sick days.

Children and Adult’s Cold and Flu Elixir: for coughs, colds and flu this delicious elixir is gentle enough for children, but adults can also benefit from taking it.

Warming Socks: ask our Naturopathic Doctors or front desk for a copy on how to do this wonderful treatment that stimulates the body’s immune system to get busy to fight off colds.

Nebulized Glutathione: this in-house treatment given by our Naturopathic Doctors helps to break up mucous and hasten the recovery of bronchitis and sinusitis.

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