Natural Ways to Beat the Bug this Season

By: Suzanne Swearengen, DOM, AP

'Tis the season...cold and flu season that is. Along with the wonders and joys of the holidays, come the cold and flu viruses to spoil the spirit. Fear no more, there are plenty of proven remedies to help you feel better, faster.

The holidays are a fun time of year, but the changes in eating habits, added responsibilities of shopping for gifts, and attending parties can leave us susceptible to bacteria and viruses. These are all factors that contribute to the function of our immune system. Getting restful sleep and eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are key in staying well through the winter months.

Should you be one of the unlucky individuals who get the flu or a cold; there are some ways to recover faster without the side effects often experienced with common over the counter medicines.

For best results, it is important to take measures to support the immune system at the first sign of illness; this is when the body aches around the head, neck, and back begin. Foods like garlic, ginger, scallion/green onion, soybeans, shitake and maitake mushrooms are very beneficial to the immune system. Herbal teas such as Ginger, Echinacea, and Goldenseal are another resource for strengthening the immune system. Vitamins A and C, along with Zinc, play a large role in both prevention and treatment. For specific symptoms, the following are recommended:

There are also a variety of homeopathic and herbal formulas available over the counter that address multiple symptoms. It is best to buy these at a reputable health food store to avoid products with artificial additives.

This should be an entertaining time of year, so don't let those nasty viruses ruin the fun. If you are pregnant, over the age of sixty-five, or if symptoms persist beyond five to seven days, it is best to consult your healthcare provider for guidance. Remember to wash hands frequently, get plenty of rest and quality food, and you will stay one step ahead of the cold and flu bugs. Have a safe and healthy winter. Enjoy the season!

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