I’m generally quite smug and smarmy when cold and flu season rocks around, quietly congratulating myself on my strong immune system and ability to fend off the dreaded lurgy.
I usually credit this iron-clad immune system to my healthy, balanced (most of the time) lifestyle. My husband and son even had severe swine flu back in 2010 and although I was quarantined with them, I still managed to stay bright as a button and fluttered around drinking my green juices, while they pumped themselves with antibiotics and drugs to stave off the symptoms.
But, I recently went on a holiday where all my best intentions for green smoothies every morning and my daily exercise routine went right out the window.
My intentions were replaced with champagne, lots of food, and a chocolate for breakfast type indulgence that can only happen when you are holidaying over Easter with 3 kids and visitors from overseas that want to ‘whoop it up’ for 2 weeks straight.
During our indulgent holiday my husband came down with what I describe as ‘man-flu’.
“Buck up!” I said, “stop your whining, it’s a sore throat! Gargle some warm salty water and stop your moaning! We are on holiday!”
Now picture my shock horror when we arrive back home and I start to feel a little tingle in the back of my throat.
This little tingle turned into a full blown horrible cold and flu disaster. Bedridden for the last 8 days…
Suffice to say I felt quite humbled.
I won’t be harping on the next time my darling husband gets sick...
If you would prefer to beat the dastardly lurgy without too many drugs or antibiotics, there are ways you can feel better using natural therapies and good old fashioned food when you are feeling under the weather.
1. Go crazy with ginger
Grate it in a cup of hot water, squeeze half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey and you’ve got yourself a soothing drink to help with sore throats that will beat Lemsips any day of the week. Honey has natural anti-bacterial properties and will soothe the throat) while ginger is one of nature’s ninjas, helping ease congestion, is an anti-inflammatory and kills bad anti-bodies.
2. Salt gargle
For sore throats, gargle your throat with warm water and salt. I could sound like a massive hipster and say Himalayan pink rock salt is preferable… but normal salt, is fine (the Himalayan stuff is pretty awesome, though).
3. Keep your fluids up
This is such a broken record right? Its true! Drink water - room temperature or warm is best - like its going out of fashion. Imagine your body is a dirty water bottle with lots of germs inside, it needs a good rinse out. Squeeze lemon into as much of the water as you can and benefit from its many properties…here are just a few.
4. Lemons boost your immune system
They balance acidity in your body, by alkalising it. Sounds weird right? Lemon is acidic, true,Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of body tissue (pH above 7 is alkaline).
If you are sick then you are probably highly acidic and need a good balancing act!
Lemons are a natural anti-septic (germ killers). They promote healing through high doses of Ascorbic acid and vitamin C. What’s not to love?
5. Get steamy
If you have congestion on your chest, have a steamy bath with some Vicks Vapouruband drink warm water with lemon,as this helps loosen the congestion.
6. Green and clean
Get as many greens into you as possible, you probably don’t feel like popping down to the farmers markets and buying organic veggies so I suggest grabbing some green juice from one of the many places that are popping up. I love Cali Press and Orchard St in Bondi and Bronte as they are organic, and made locally in Sydney (they deliver all over Sydney).Or try taking greens powder in water.
6. Chicken soup
Make some chicken soup from organic chicken bones, or beef bone broth with apple cider vinegar and lots of veggies. The healing properties in homemade bone broth are excellent for speeding up healing and recuperation from illness.
7. Take the day off
If you are feeling genuinely unwell, don’t go into work and infect your fellow co-workers (especially if you are coughing and sneezing germs everywhere!)
Presenteeism (going into work when you are ill or not fit to work) costs Australian businesses 5 times more than absenteeism. This is due to levels of productivity being down and spreading illness and infection. It is estimated that presenteeism cost the Australian economy $34.1 billion in 2010 alone.
8. Rest up
Find a great TV series to binge watch, grab the Kleenex and give your body the rest it obviously needs to get better.
9. See a Doctor
Please know that I’m not claiming to be a doctor, nor do I have any medical science background, so please don’t use my tips for dealing with the humble cold to treat any serious illness!
Antibiotics are completely necessary in many cases and your GP will be the best person to advise you on this. Find a GP or a medical practice you trust. Having a family doctor or a doctor who knows your history and medical background and you feel comfortable with is invaluable.