Imagine a friend accidentally sneezing directly into your face. No matter how healthy you are, there is still a chance that you could get sick. I know people think that if you are healthy, you will never get sick, but the truth is that even healthy people get sick from time to time.
The immune system is like any other part of the body in that you use it, or you lose it. So, like a muscle that gets smaller and weaker with non-use, your immune system weakens when not tested or used (This is one of my biggest concerns about people sheltering in place!). And again, like a muscle, when used, the immune system gets stronger and more robust.
I do not get sick often, but there are a series of steps I take when I feel like I am coming down with something. I’ll share them with you here, as not all of them are accepted as traditional. I’ll also explain the reasoning for these actions so that you can see why I choose to do what I do. And obviously, I would never discourage anyone from getting medical attention if needed, but these simple steps have kept me from ever needing medical care for colds or flus.
Any time I get a feeling of being run down or worn out, I try to slow down and take it easy. This is one of the first signals the body sends out to warn you of impending illness. One of the main reasons why this happens is that the immune system requires a lot of energy to run. In an attempt to conserve energy so that the immune system has all that it needs, the body will make you feel tired, exhausted, and the need for extra sleep. What do most of us do when this happens? Right! We ignore it. Terrible mistake!
What do most animals do in the wild when sick or injured? Nothing! They lay low, stay in their nests, and rest. So… the first thing I do is try to get more sleep. I’ll even nap if at all possible.
Another signal that you are getting sick is that you may have a runny nose, cough, or watery eyes. While most healthcare professionals treat those things as if those are the condition, they are merely symptoms associated with a deeper condition. I do not suppress the cough or try to stop the runny nose or eyes with medication because I know that is my body’s way of getting rid of toxins. And the watery eyes are usually watering to protect the eyes from drying out. The second thing I do is increase my water intake. I do so because I know my body is utilizing more water, therefore I want to ensure it has what it needs. Increased water also prevents dehydration. Dehydration is a very common thing that causes people to need to go to the hospital (a place you do not want to be!), and is one of the simplest things to prevent.
A fever is another indicator that your body is fighting something. The key here, again, is that the fever is not the condition, but the result of an underlying condition. So rather than trying to suppress a fever, I encourage it. Fevers are our innate way to increase the body’s internal temperature when under attack from pathogens. This increased temperature creates a less than ideal environment for pathogens to replicate, as well as stimulates the immune responders in your blood. If I feel a fever coming on, I bundle up in sweatpants, a couple sweatshirts, the thickest socks I own, bundle up under a heavy down comforter, and sweat it out. The one problem one could run into in this situation is dehydration, so this is another VERY important reason for increased water intake.
The last thing I do is avoid stressful, negative information. This bogs the immune system down. Because the opposite is true, I will search for uplifting movies, comedies, or stand-up comics. Laughter really can be the best medicine.
We need to rethink our response to colds and flus. All healing comes from the inside out. So, I start by ensuring my insides get the best chance possible. These actions do not include my supplementation, but are some simple steps that I take AS SOON AS I feel at all like I am getting sick.