Cold and Flu Prevention Tips

The cool weather has arrived. It’s time to try to remember everything

your mom always told you when you were a child to keep you from getting

sick and do it. Yes, she was right, wind and cold can make you sick or

susceptible to illness, so bundle up, wear a warm jacket, put on a warm

hat and cover your neck. And don’t wear flip-flops or high heels when

it’s cold or raining. Not only does heat escape from your body at your

head, but also at your feet. If your body is busy trying to keep itself

warm, you will be using up the very energy that it needs to fight the

bacteria or viruses it inevitably encounters in the cold and flu

season. Another way to look at it is that by letting heat out of your

body, you are inviting in cold.

You can also warm up your body by adding more warm foods to your diet

when the weather is cold. Hot meals can warm and nourish your body

fluids and soothe your lungs and skin, your body’s main regions of

defense against pathogens. Soups and steamed vegetables such as winter

squash, peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes and yams are excellent

ingredients to incorporate into your meals. Eat hot grains for

breakfast; put some cinnamon on it. Eat what is in season: apples,

beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots,

cauliflower, cinnamon, cranberries, figs, garlic, grapes, leeks, pears,

persimmons, plums, pomegranates, pumpkin, rosemary, thyme, red cabbage,

sage, whole grains, wild rice, winter squash, lamb, red meat, yams and

ginger – preferably not all in the same meal. These foods are all

somewhat warming in nature, and can help keep you warm internally.

Keeping your body warm on the inside as well as on the outside can help

boost your immune system to keep you cold and flu free throughout the

cold weather season. If this is not enough and you do get sick, it does

not mean that your mother was wrong, it means that your immune system

is compromised and in need of further boosting.

Here are some tips for keeping the bacteria or virus from going deeper

into your body:

-Gargle with warm salt water.

-Rinse your sinuses with warm water and sea salt (use precisely:2

teaspoons salt to one pint water. Too much/too little salt will burn!)

-Avoid dairy, wheat, sugar and alcohol which can all increase phlegm

and mucous production.

-Change your diet and eat mostly vegetables and a small amount of

protein (meat, fish or eggs).

-Take Vitamin C (Ester C) and Zinc supplements.

-Take a Chinese Herbal Formula prescribed by your acupuncturist.

We have a number of herbal formulas here at the office that are very

effective at relieving cold and flu symptoms. You may have heard of

them. Yin Chiao is often used when the first signs of a common cold or

flu are present: sore throat, fever, neck stiffness and nausea. Gan Mao

Ling and Zhong Gan Ling are used similarly, but often when symptoms are

more severe. Gui Zi Tang is used when a person is experiencing strong

chills. Cinnamon and Ginger are two of the main ingredients in this

formula. Many of the cold and flu formulas can also be taken

preventively, for exposure to common cold and flu. Taking a formula

before boarding an airplane or visiting a sick friend can often prevent

the bacteria or virus from colonizing.

There are many other ways that you can boost your immune system to keep

colds and flus at bay:

-Wash your hands regularly.

-Avoid touching your face.

-Get some sunshine. UV rays can boost your Vitamin D levels to help

your T-cells fight infection.

-Take Vitamin D3, Vitamin C (Ester C is best), and Zinc supplements.

-Get adequate sleep at night.

-Come in for regular acupuncture treatments.

Please call if you would like to schedule an appointment or pick up an

herbal formula.


David Stokke, MS, LAc

2421 Fourth Street

Berkeley, CA 94710

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