Spring Colds & Allergies

Just as allergies are kicking in, it seems like everyone is getting colds too! Caring for your immune system will help reduce the severity of both colds and allergies.

Here’s my emergency protocol for getting over a cold quick:

  • Take a hot Epsom Salt bath. Soaking in the hot tub functions like a fever – it heats up your body causing the viruses to die off and may boost the immune system. The steam also helps to clear your sinuses. Baths are relaxing, and when you’re relaxed, your body can prioritize immune function. I always add the Epsom salts to the bath because it’s a great way to get more magnesium (which is good for just about everything) and sulfur (which gently supports your spring detoxification). If you’re congested, you might want to add a bit of eucalyptus essential oil as well.
  • Do a shot of water with a drop of oregano oil. This is quite potent, so don’t over do it or splash on your face. Do one drop per day until you feel better.
  • Tea to the rescue! Lemon balm and cats claw tea are antiviral. I usually multitask with both teabags in the same mug. Throat Coat is really nice for soothing your throat, and these herbs are soothing for the rest of your digestive system!
  • Your gut microbiome health is intimately tied to your health and immune system. So be sure to tenderly care for your microbial friends. Send them some more good guys with probiotic capsules, fermented foods, Fire Cider, Kombucha, and/or Gut Shots. Variety is fun and effective, so it’s great to have lots of options on hand. The benefits of a strong, balanced microbiome go way beyond colds and allergies.
  • Diet to the rescue! In addition to all your fermented fun enjoy hot soups like this one and anything with lots of onions and garlic. Avoid dairy (because it increases mucous) and sugar (because it suppresses the immune system). There are many delicious plant based yogurts, cheeses, and ice creams out there now, so you don’t have to be deprived at all.
  • Supplements to the rescue! My kids and I have been taking Juice Plus for almost 10 years, and we rarely get sick. When I feel something coming on, I double it up. Elderberry syrup is also very helpful once a cold sets in. If you get sick/allergic often, you may want to consider vitamin D, zinc, and possibly vitamin A for short periods of time. Your doctor may be willing to test your status of these immune nutrients. {Functional medicine tip: Red Blood Cell (RBC) nutrient tests are more accurate because they reflect longer term status.}
  • Daily use of a neti pot washes microbes and allergens from your sinuses, and also clears out accumulated mucous so you can breathe again.
  • And all that stuff your mom told you… good quality rest, staying hydrated, and stress reduction are all vital for your immune system. In its wisdom, your body will not prioritize healing from the flu when it thinks you’re being chased by a tiger! Go to bed by 10, sip water all day, and breathe and relax, and do yoga. Just do it.

Two more tips specifically for allergies:

  • A daily teaspoon of raw, local honey can help inform your immune system that pollen is not stranger danger.
  • Quercetin is a natural antihistamine with additional antioxidant benefits.

Bless you!

Image credit: Lisa Mair

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