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Natural ways to fight a cold or flu

Its that time of year again in Canada when the cold wind blows in bringing with it various strains of cold and flu viruses. No one likes the feeling that a cold or flu bring. Whats the difference between the two? A cold comes on gradually, with a stuffy nose, sore throat, sneezing and maybe a little chest or body discomfort. A flu comes on strong with a fever, chills, cough, headache, body ache, fatigue and possible nausea or vomiting. Simply put a flu is more sever than a cold.

In traditional Chinese medicine, a cold or flu is seen as an invasion by an external pathogenic factor on the body; often brought on by seasonal changes. Usually the external pathogen is a wind cold (symptoms are chills, clear phlegm/sinus fluid and a pale face) or wind heat (symptoms are fever, yellow sinus discharge, sore throat, flushed face and restless sleep) that gets in due to a weakened immune system.

Keeping your immune system strong is the best preventative for avoiding a cold or flu. Some tips to keep a strong immune system are:

*Stay hydrated *Get at least 7 hours of solid interrupted sleep

*Get regular light exercise *Bundle up. Keep your neck and nose covered

*Manage stress with meditation and breathing exercises

*Eat nourishing foods. Add more root vegetables, and stay away from cold raw foods.

If you are just getting a cold or flu it is best to try to eliminate from the body within the first 24-48 hrs. Chinese acupuncture and cupping is very good for boosting the immune system and focus on the lungs and respiratory system. Cupping also helps break up the phlegm in the lungs making it easier for the body to eliminate it.

If you have more of a wind cold type cold try ginger tea or a ginger foot bath. Ginger tea has anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties which will help fight off the virus. Add some local honey to your tea to help sooth the throat. Ginger can also help with any nausea or dizziness. If having a ginger foot bath. Soak your feet for about 15 minutes, you should break a slight sweat. Ginger helps dispel pathogenic cold from the body.

Try bone broth soup. There is a reason your grandmothers chicken soup helped with a cold, its because she used the bones in the soup. Bone broth soup is cooked longer than other soup stocks. It is rich in minerals that support the immune system and the collagen in it helps heal the cut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation.

A few more tips you can try:

*Gargle with warm salt water for coughs and a sore throat

*Stay hydrated

*Echinacea or Elderberry can help boost your immune system

This was originally published in MyKawartha

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