Posts Tagged ‘flu’

Seasonal Holistic Pick Me Ups

soupsWhen cold and flu season arrives, why do some people get sick while others don’t? Researchers at Duke University infected 17 healthy people with a flu virus and found that only 9 of them got sick. Blood samples showed that immune system reaction, which determined sickness or health, began up to 36 hours before symptoms appeared.

To beat colds and flu, these natural remedies can be used by adults and children and have stood the test of time.

ECHINACEA:  A review published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases found tat Echinacea effectively decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58 percent and cut the duration of a cold by 1.4 days. Take it during cold and flu season. for children, look for alcohol-free versions.

ASTRAGALUS: The herb strengthens the immune system safely. Some herbal formulas contain a combination with Echinacea.

ZINC LOZENGES: Zinc acetate, gluconate or gluconate-glycine lozenges have been shown to reduce duration of colds.

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES: These strengthen your body’s ability to fight off viruses. Popular ones include Oscillococcium to nip the flu symptoms in the bud or if you wait, to reduce duration of flu, and Coldcalm for colds.

STRENGTHENING IMMUNITY

To lower your chances of getting “bit” by seasonal cold and flu bugs, take these:

PROBIOTICS: Friendly bacteria in our digestive system are essential for healthy immune function. A study of nearly 500 adults, published the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeautics, found daily probiotics plus a multivitamin, taken for three months in winter and spring, were particularly effective. And in a study of nearly 250 children ages 3 to 5., published in Pediatrics, those who took probiotics twice daily for 6 months missed one-third fewer days from child care. Probiotics reduced incidence of flu-related fever by 53 percent, cough by 41 percent, and colds by 28 percent.

VITAMIN C: At least 40 studies have found that vitamin C reduces the duration and intensity of colds and flu by up to 40 percent, when approximately 1 gram daily is taken for 2 months or more. One study, published in Advances in Natural Therapy, found that compared to a placebo, vitamin C resulted in 26 percent fewer colds, and severe symptoms lasted only half as long.

WELLMUNE WGP: Also listed on labels as WGP Beta Glucan, Wellmune WGP is derived from the cell wall of a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast. Numerous studies have shown that 250 or 500 mg daily reduced colds and flu., especially for people under stress, such as firefighters, marathoner, and medial residents – and enhanced energy.

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Yoga For The Winter Blues

As the weather shifts to chillier temps, many of us are finding ourselves with the sniffles or sore throats. Beat the symptoms of a common cold all year long with these yoga asanas, which help to balance the sympathetic (activity, or “fight or flight” response) and parasympathetic (rest and relaxation) systems. Anything that affects this balance, whether coming from the inside (like hunger, the need for oxygen, fear) or the outside (like temperature change, movement, watching a movie), requires a change from one state of balance, such as hunger, to another, such as digestion.

Because our immune systems consist of white blood cells that circulate in the blood and organs of the thymus located in the chest (above the heart and the spleen in right upper abdomen) you can help stop the common cold by a shoulder stand to draw blood to your head and throat, which brings more white blood cells to the areas where they are needed and helps relieve sinus congestion.

Shoulder Stand  (Sarvangasana)

Benefits: Brings blood to the head and throat, thereby relieving sinus congestion and stress, and strengthens the immune functions of the hormonal system.

How-to:

1.  Lie on your mat, press shoulders down and draw the shoulder blades toward the waist. 2.  Turn the upper arms out and extend them toward the legs, bring elbows close to trunk. 3.  Move the back ribs in and bend the legs with feet close to the buttocks. 4.  With palms up press elbows into the floor, exhale and lift the trunk, bending legs over the abdomen. 5.  Support the back with the hands and raise the trunk and legs higher, bringing the chest toward the chin; take the hands lower down and press the back ribs forward. Straighten the legs up until they are vertical and with the help of the hands raise the shoulder blades and extend the trunk up, lift the hips and stretch the legs.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Benefits: Opens up the throat and lungs, increasing circulation while helping to break up congestion. Stimulates the thyroid gland in the base of the throat, helping to regulate metabolism. Stimulates the pineal gland in the center of the brain, releasing melatonin brings a relaxed response to the nervous system.  Increases blood flow to the thymus and the spleen helping white blood cells target infection.

How-to:

1.  Lie flat on the floor with your palms pressed against sides of your thighs. 2.  Shift your bodyweight to your elbows and raise your head and trunk. 3.  Arch your chest and lower the crown of your head to the floor, creating a “bridge” between your buttocks and head; expand your chest as much as possible. 4.  To come out of the pose, place your body weight on your elbows again and raise your head gently.

Yoga Nidra (Deep Relaxation)

Benefits: Relieves strain and tightness of the lower back.  This asana massages the abdominal organs and digestive tract, increasing circulation and pushing the contents of the bowel along, helping to relieve constipation. A powerful ancient meditation technique, it is also a scientific way to eliminate the root cause of all the negativities. This asana also allows heart to rest deeply and reduces stress, helping to strengthen the immune system. It is also helpful in balancing the hormonal system while stimulating the pineal, thymus and thyroid glands, which increases circulation into all major organs.

How-to:

1.  Lie on your back in a comfortable supine position with your arms and legs extended, about a foot-and-a-half apart, and your arms a few inches away from your body with your palms up. 2.  Close your eyes, breathing through your nose and begin relaxing. 3.  Bring your awareness to your right leg and foot. Tense the leg. Lift it off the floor a few inches. Tense a little tighter and let it drop. Roll it from side to side and just forget about it. Repeat with the left leg. 4.  Now, inhale and tense your pelvis and buttocks; squeeze the tension out. Most of us hold a lot of stress in this area, which can lead to disorders in the reproductive system as well as in the pelvis and hips. 5.  Inhale and fill your stomach with air. Hold it for a few moments, then release through your mouth – just let it gush out.

~ Spa Wellness

OMG! Catching a Cold by Having a Cold?

While mom may have warned that you would catch a cold from going outside in chilly weather with a wet head or without a jacket, experts say it’s a myth. “Bad weather does not cause colds,” says Carl Olden, MD, a family practitioner in Yakima, Wash., who explains that Alaskans and Canadians living year-round above the Arctic Circle have no more winter colds than folks who live in Australia. “These are old wives’ tales from an era when we had no ability to treat fever or other complications of infection. Folks created myths to explain what happens to protect their children from getting sick.”

Cold Weather Myths
Cold weather’s association with colds probably evolved from confusion, similar to beliefs about the origin of malaria. “Bad air around swamps was once believed to cause malaria,” says Anatoly Belilovsky, MD, a pediatrician in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Mosquitoes, also plentiful in swampy areas, actually carried the disease. Cold air and respiratory disease are connected, but the connection is more complicated than just ‘cold causes colds.'”

On the contrary, cold weather appears to stimulate the immune system, according to a study by the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, says Dr. Belilovsky. “Researchers examined the immunological responses to cold exposure and found that acute cold exposure, such as going outside without a jacket, actually appears to activate the immune system.” This occurs in part by increasing the levels of circulating norepinephrine, one of the body’s hormones, which works as a natural decongestant.

Weather as an Indirect Cause of the Cold
While simply stepping outside in cold weather without a jacket doesn’t cause a cold, hypothermia (the lowering of the body’s core temperature) suppresses immunity, which can lead to colds. “Most cold symptoms are produced by the body’s immune system physically responding to the rhinovirus,” says Belilovsky. “So, someone with a stronger immune system in the cold will produce more [mucus], while the one with the weaker immune system will sniffle longer, but less dramatically.” The person with the weaker immune system probably will have more complications, such as sinusitis or ear infections, Belilovsky adds.

Cold weather may be indirectly responsible for colds, however. Vasoconstriction — when blood vessels close to the outside of the body, such as those found in the nose, narrow — leads to dryness. “This dryness compromises the nose’s ability to filter infections,” Belilovsky explains. “On returning to warm air, rebound vasodilation occurs, where your hands get pink and your nose starts running as blood returns to it.” The cycle continues if the runny nose is severe enough to cause mouth breathing. Bypassing the nose’s ability to filter inhaled air, combined with dry indoor air, allows the inhalation of virus-bearing mucus, which may trigger colds and lower respiratory infections.

Cold-Induced Asthma
“Cold-induced asthma can certainly masquerade as a recurrent cold when it is not severe enough to produce acute attacks,” Belilovsky cautions. People may think that going outside with a wet head or no jacket solely causes a cold, but people in the early stages of an illness may actually feel hot. As a result, they may go outside without proper clothing and return with a full-blown fever. This makes it appear that the cold weather triggered a cold, when it fact it had already been under way.

~ Source: Everyday Health

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