Let’s start with the most disgusting feature – mucus.
Our nasal cavity produces excess mucus in the winter, which traps foreign invaders – virus or bacteria and then becomes more liquid and runny to help the foreign invader flow out of the body as opposed to staying trapped inside to multiply. Thanks body. This may be annoying right now, but is much needed in order for me to feel better soon.
My biggest beef when I’m sick is having a clogged nose and not being able to sleep. Here’s my simple trick. It’s called warming socks. Grab a pair of thin cotton socks and soak them in cold water. Wring them out. Put them on. Then grab a pair of your warmest socks (wool preferable) and put these on over top of the wet socks. GO TO BED. Yep, go crawl into bed with your socks on. What’s going to happen is this: while you sleep your body is going to focus on warming up your feet and will send circulation down to that area of your body and in return this draws the congestion down out of your head. When you wake up your feet will be dry and warm.
As I become hot and uncomfortable I’m reminded of another great feature of the human body. Fevers are a good thing. All too often we fear the fever and suppress it with medications. Please don’t. Our body produces a fever to help us get better. The increased temperature turns our body into an environment that’s inhospitable to foreigners. Viral replication cannot happen when the body temperature is 101F or more. If we suppress it and don’t allow the body to reach this increased temperature we’re going against the natural healing methods the body is trying to use and as a result accelerates viral replication. Yuck! If your body is able to generate a fever when you’re sick this shows you have a strong and healthy immune system and your body is working as it should. Allow it to do it’s job.
When we’re sick, especially if we’re in the feverish state our energy levels are low. This is very evident as I shuffle around the house in a zombie like state. This is your body reinforcing that now is a time for rest. Your energy is being used for the purpose of fighting off the foreign invader and for healing. Don’t try to fight through this and over work yourself. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. It needs a time out. I guarantee if you ignore your fatigue and go to the gym for your usual work out it will back fire on you. You will end up being sick longer since you forcing the body to use it’s precious energy stores on unnecessary exercise rather then keeping it focused on healing.
The last few days I’ve had the unusual experience of needing to remind myself to eat. My appetite is almost non-existent and when I think about eating something all I feel like eating is a bowl of my mom’s homemade turkey soup (good thing I have a stash of it in the freezer). The digestive process takes a lot of energy depending on what we eat. Isn’t it amazing that when we’re sick our body desires food – like soup – that provides us with lots of nutrients in an easily digestible form?
One of my favourite things right now is my mug of hot water with ginger, raw honey and lemon. So simple and so good. This hot drink is soothing for a sore
throat and also provides me with some relief of my congestion as the hot liquid passes by my sinuses.
This is really simple to do. Grab a piece of ginger root in the produce section and grate some into your mug. Keep the extra in the freezer and grate the frozen root into your future drinks. Add a small spoonful of raw honey – must be raw honey because it has anti-microbial effects and lots of healing enzymes and a splash or two of fresh lemon juice. Voila. Quick, easy, soothing.
If you’re anything like me when your sick your tummy is a bit off as well. The lemon and ginger in this drink help to keep your tummy happy as well.
Even though it’s not much fun being sick with a cold every now and then it’s necessary. One or two colds a year is essential to keep your immune system on top of it’s game. Remember those fire drills (or tornado drills if you grew up where I did) that we did a couple times a year at school so that we’d know how to effectively deal with an emergency? Your annual cold is practice for your immune system.
I know we’re always encouraged to share. This is the exception to the rule! Wash your hands. No one wants what you have.
Jennifer Kaster ND
“Here to help you achieve wellness…the natural way”
Pictures courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net