Understanding Colds and Flu
August 2009 Dr. Mom's Natural Solutions Ezine
The cold and flu season technically starts when the CDC (Center For Disease Control) notes increased numbers of viral infections among the population. This is usually during the winter months, when people are confined to the indoors and not exposed to significant amounts of sunshine.
I have noticed that in fact, the cold and flu season starts the first 4 weeks of the fall school term. Lots of stressed out children are thrown into a small classroom with little or no natural ventilation; a perfect incubator for breeding germs. During my children's early years they seemed to come down with a cold shortly after school started and if they were fortunate enough to miss the viral infection, many of their classmates fell victim to it. I remember picking up many of the viral infections from my children during young motherhood. I wish I knew then what I know now about how to avoid, and heal from one of the most common infections humankind experiences.
How Viruses Replicate
A virus (Latin for toxin or poison) is a microscopic infectious agent that can reproduce only inside a host cell. It can be made up of either DNA or RNA, and has long molecules that carry genetic information plus a protein coating. Viruses can either use the energy of our cells to replicate or they can actually get into the DNA of the cell and replicate as the cell divides. The virus continues to replicate, eventually breaking open the cell (effectively killing it) and spreading into the bloodstream to infect more cells. Most of the time, viruses that cause the common cold and the flu infect your weakest cells. These cells are already sick and/or toxic and are easily invaded. It is actually advantageous to get rid of these sick cells and replace them with new, healthy ones. So in the big scheme of things, a cold or flu can be a natural tool that allows your body to purge itself of old and damaged cells that, in the absence of viral infection, would normally take much longer to identify, destroy, and eliminate by your immune system. The massive amounts of mucous produced to "flush out" dead cells and disease causing organisms during a cold is proof of this process working. Most Viral infections cause an immune response which effectively eliminates the virus and helps build overall immunity.
The Basic Difference Between A Cold and The Flu
A cold usually comes on gradually -- over the course of a day or two. It generally leaves you feeling tired, sneezing, coughing and plagued by a running nose. You often don't have a fever, but when you do, it's only slightly higher than normal. Colds usually last three to four days, but can hang around for 10 days to two weeks.
Flu, on the other hand, comes on suddenly and hits hard. You will feel weak and tired and you could run a fever as high as 104 F. Your muscles and joints will probably ache, you will feel chilled and could have a severe headache and sore throat. You may also experience vomiting and diarrhea. Getting off the couch or out of bed will take some effort and your fever may last three to five days. You could feel weak and tired for two to three weeks.
How To Avoid Viral Infections
There are a few good hygienic practices such as washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face that can help reduce the transmission of viral infections, however the real secret and best way to avoid getting sick is to do everything you can to improve your overall health and the strength of your immune system. This involves eating right, avoiding sugar, getting enough sleep and supplementing with vitamins and herbs. The most important of which is Vitamin D3. Even medical doctors are screening for this deficiency. The general recommendation is to take 4,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily. Vitamin D is called the Sunshine Vitamin and also the Natural Flu Shot.
Taking a general Multivitamin/Mineral supplement is also key to providing the proper nutrients for the body to work optimally. If you feel like you are always getting sick, you can try rotating Immune boosters such as Colostrum, Una D' Gato, Bee Pollen and Echinacea (just to mention a few) to help build up your immune system. Most likely you will need to do a couple cleanses to clear the colon and pull built up toxins out of the body as well. Toxins constantly tax the immune system and weaken the overall health of the body.
If you do catch a cold or the flu, make sure you are drinking plenty of purified water to keep hydrated. This helps reduce fever and flush out toxins. Try to eat simple broths and easily digested foods as these do not put extra burden on the body and require less energy to digest; energy your body needs to fight the infection. A simple enema to clear the colon can help immensely to pull toxins out of the body and reduce fever. Get lots of rest and allow your body to heal. The world will still be turning when you get back to your responsibilities, even though you might think it did stop for a while without you.