In the run up to Christmas the social pressures, poor diet and cold, damp weather makes us more vulnerable to seasonal coughs and colds. Whilst you can't fully avoid exposure to the bacteria and viruses that cause these infections there are many simple steps we can all take to help protect our bodies and prevent them from taking hold of our immune systems.
At The Naked Pharmacy we always look for natural approaches for health and the immune system is no exception. Two remedies that stand out for the immune system are organic olive leaf with high levels of elenolic acid (ELA). This is the UK’s only ELA supplement made using a patented natural process, one capsule daily during the season works wonders for protection against colds and flu. It is also the supplement of choice when the ears nose or throat are affected. For lung health we add a specially aged and fermented organic garlic – Aged Black Garlic 10X, 1-2 capsules a day with food is recommended. This is also great for cardiovascular health. However, if you do succumb to one of these bugs, before you run to the GP for antibiotics this winter, here’s a few tips that will help save you and your doctor time and the NHS up to £8 million on unnecessary antibiotics. Firstly, it’s always important to speak to your GP if you have the following symptoms:
- Chest pain or trouble breathing.
- Your fever does not go away - 38° Centigrade (100.4° Fahrenheit).
- You are vomiting and can’t keep anything down.
- It hurts to swallow.
- The cough persists for more than 2 weeks.
- You have a persistent headache that doesn’t go away.
For all other symptoms you should be aware that antibiotics are not the answer to colds and flu. These are caused by viruses which are unaffected by antibiotics which will probably reduce your gut microbe population, important for gut health and the absorption of nutrients. Unnecessary antibiotics also cause bacterial resistance meaning that they may not work when you really need them, such as for pneumonia and after operations.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from illness during cold and flu season? Firstly, prevention is always better than cure. Carry a sterile hand gel and use regularly especially in public areas or offices. Use recycled, disposable tissues if you sneeze or blow your nose and bin them afterwards. Remember to use the hand gel straight after. Keep your vitamins C and D topped up during the winter months and take time to rest properly. 7-8 hours of good quality sleep will do your immune system the world of good.