I have realized, by talking with friends, that most people don't know how to support themselves when they get an acute illness. There are great ways to support the body to go through an illness and come out the other side stronger. It is really a 4-phase process and I will outline the basics here.
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The old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” holds true today. When most of the reports you hear of people ending up in the ICU, include co-morbidities like Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease, then this quote hits home. Of course the more virulent a pathogen is the more healthy people will get it, but you always stand a better chance the healthier you are to begin with. These recommendations are great for prevention or just a healthier lifestyle in general.
Regular hand washing with soap is a good idea but don't go "Cleaning Crazy." When you try to sterilize your life your immune system suffers. Check out my my Clean Home Entry Protocol Blog on how to enter your home safely after being in public.
Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day, unless you have kidney disease or edema.
Try to get 8 hours of sleep per night. Turn off your phones and wifi.
Eat whole foods and stay away from simple sugars like sweet desserts, sodas, energy drinks, sweet tea. etc.
Eat as many vegetables as you can fit into your diet. Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies per week
Try to move at least 30 minutes per day, walking, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Biking etc. This helps create chemicals in the body the help fight disease and it moves lymph. It will also elevate your mood.
De-stress: take time each day to do something you enjoy, read a book, paint, write, toss a ball, play hide and go seek. Watching funny animal videos is one of my favorites.
Daily Vitamin D3 1000-2000IU during cold and flu season.
Daily Zinc Picolinate 25-45mg during cold and flu season.
Daily Buffered Vitamin C 1000mg during cold and flu season.
Astragalus Root and Nettle Leaf Tea: If you know you are prone to getting sick you can buy bulk herbs. I would buy a pound of Astragalus and 1/2 pound of Nettle and combine them. Then simmer 1 tbls of the tea in water for 15 minutes and drink.
STAGE 2-INITIAL INFECTION STAGE
So you have that telltale tickle in the back of your throat. Maybe you feel tired, run down or have been sneezing more than usual but you think, "A good night's sleep will help me feel better. It's probably just allergies." You wake up and you have a slightly sore throat. Well this could be allergies, due to post nasal drip, but it could also be an acute illness. So there is no time like the present to kick this bug in the butt!!!!
What you do from here on out is vitally important to your recovery and overall health, not just during this bug but for the rest of your life. When you help your immune system effectively fight of a bacteria, fungus or virus you are making your body stronger for the rest of your life. If you work against your body by suppressing symptoms then you will have a more difficult time recovering and it can drive illness deeper into the body. (more on this in a later post)
So now it's time to ramp it up.
Get as much sleep and rest as much as possible.
Movement: I still recommend getting daily walks and stretching in as you feel you can. But don't over due it and use your energy on exercise and have nothing left to fight off the bug.
Stop eating sugar, dairy, alcohol, soda, juices, caffeine and simple carbs like cereal, pasta and bread. Sugar will hamper your immune response. Alcohol take a toll on your liver which is trying to detoxify your body. Dairy produces thick phlegm which is counter productive. Thin watery phlegm and mucus has an easier time leaving the body.
Eat lightly. The best thing to eat right now is either bone broths, chicken soups, veggie soups or roasted veggies. Possible some brown rice or baked sweet potato. Do not eat raw foods at this time. The point here is to help your immune system win the battle by aiding digestion so you don't create a toxic sludge in your intestines. Your body wants to use its energy to fight bugs not digest food.
Gargle with warm salt water a few times per day. Then you can open a probiotic capsule and mix it in water and gargle with that and swallow, to coat the throat with good guys.
You can gargle and swallow elderberry syrup. If find this to work well with initial throat symptoms but I don't have people use it after that symptom goes away.
Increase your Vitamin C to the loading dose. See my blog for instructions. Now is the time for supplements if you don't usually use them. I am all for getting as much as we can from out diet but when you are under attack you need more than what orange juice can give you plus you don't want all that sugar.
Increase Vitamin D3 to 10,000 IU per day until 3 days after all symptoms have subsided.
Try Magic Socks nightly
Get a good Echinacea product on board. (Do Not Take Echinacea if you are not sick or not possibly sick.) If you want any supplement recommendations just email me and I will send you my Acute Illness Kit.
STAGE 3- FULL BLOWN ILLNESS
You know you are sick, there is no doubt about it. You feel like crap and you don't want to get out of bed. You may have chills, body aches, cough, tightness in your chest etc. But you feel so horrible that you can't remember what to do or what Dr. Sparks told you to do.
This is why I tell all my patients to have a plastic box with all their Acute Remedies and Handouts in it, including your wool socks. So you know where to go for the information. You can print out this newsletter and anything from my blog to have your own "How To Heal" info page in your kit. Also EVERYONE should have a thermometer. This is the key for the next part.
Your FEVER IS YOUR FRIEND, contrary to popular belief. The makers of Acetaminophen are very happy that their 50-70 years of advertising have paid off and millions of Americans believe they should stop their fever. DON'T DO IT!!!!
Your fever is there to help kill bugs and keep them at bay as the immune system ramps up. I know you feel like crap or it stinks to see your child so miserable. But wouldn't you rather have a fever than be sick for months or end up in the hospital due to complications? A fever is one of your FIRST LINES OF DEFENSE.
Start taking your temp when you begin to feel sick to get a baseline for you. If you are normally 97.2 then a fever for you may be 99.5
Encourage your fever by taking a hot bath, drinking hot tea and going to bed with Magic Socks
Drink plenty of water, herbal teas and bone broth. DO NOT DRINK GATORADE It is loaded with sugar and chemicals!!! If you need flavor you can try Airborne or Emergen-C.
If you need electrolytes you can dissolve 1/4 tsp of Lo Salt in 1/2 cup water and drink it. You can get it at the super market and online. It is a mix of potassium chloride and sodium chloride, which are electrolytes.
Optimal fever is 100.5-102.5, anything over 103.5 should be followed and possibly sent to the urgent care.
If the fever is too high then you can take a body temp bath or "Tepid Bath" to bring it down. This will help bring down the fever without forcing it to go away. Also, unlike Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, it doesn't have a negative affect on your liver or kidneys. When you suppress a fever too much the body will fight to make it go higher as it is constantly balancing the reaction. Its similar to a dam. If you didn’t let any water through, then it would over flow. So managing your fever with the bath is safer in the long run and will help you kill bugs.
Sleep and rest as much as possible.
DO NOT EAT when you have a fever. Your body will not have the reserves to digest food and it will turn into toxic sludge in your intestines. This sludge will affect your fever state and contribute to more fevers. If you keep yourself clean with water and bone broths, the fever should subside within a few days max.
Only eat again 6 hours AFTER and fever breaks/subsides (Below 99.0). When you eat after your fever breaks, start with soup made from carrots and celery. You can add onion too if you need more flavor. Then you can work your way up to more solid HEALTHY food as you feel better. If you eat some soup and get another fever then stop eating again and stick to broth and water.
Don't take medicines to stop a runny nose as it also has an effect of getting rid of germs and debris from the fight.
You are supposed to feel like crap so you will stop doing things and stay in bed and heal.
When to consult a doctor about a fever
Babies under 6 months old with a fever over 101F or any fever over 1 day.
Immune suppressed patients including elderly, HIV, transplant patients and autoimmune patients on immune suppression treatment.
Fevers over 103.5 or fevers with confusion, severe headache and stiff neck or signs of dehydration
Fever in a healthy adult lasting more than 4 days.
Febrile seizures are scary but rest assured that they have been shown not to cause epilepsy or re-occurring seizures later in life. Typically they happen when fevers spike. Fevers are more likely to spike in response to suppressing them with medicine.
This could arguably be the most important stage. After your fever lets up and you begin feeling better, then you are moving into this stage. Unfortunately in the U.S. most of us don't do this stage correctly. We need to get back to work or pick up the kids. But getting back to "Normal Life" too quickly can create a few issues.
You relapse. The body was fighting the good fight and you thought you were better but it hadn't completely cleared the infection and now the bugs are winning.
You have a chronic symptom for months. Most people will typically get a cough that lasts for months. But it can be cyclical fevers, fatigue, brain fog etc.
Chronic illness can rear its ugly head years later from latent infections that re-activate. This is more likely to happen with a virus.
So here's what to do for up to 14 days after you begin feeling better
Eat cleanly-still stay away from sugar, dairy, alcohol etc. Try to eat cooked veggies, lean meats and whole grains. The best are soups and stews.
Sleep as much as possible
Rest as much as possible.
Move every day but make it easy like walking or stretching or Tai Chi.
Drink plenty of water and herbal teas. I recommend Ashwaganda Root to help the body bounce back from illness. You can add it to the Astragalus and Nettle tea.
Move lymph with dry skin brushing, castor oil packs etc.
Take time for you, including epsom salt baths for detox.
Continue Vitamin D3 at 1000-2000IU per day, and begin weaning down your Vitamin C.
I hope this all helps everyone feel confident in how to help themselves and loved ones through an acute illness. Of course you should contact your doctor if you are unsure about a fever or before starting a new supplement. If you would like to become a patient of mine you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is so much I can help you with on an individual basis but this is a good beginning.
*This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional.
*You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
*Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem.