Updated: Sep 1, 2021
We get it. You like to rock. Being sick is the worst, because you can't make gains, decompress at the gym, and you feel like complete garbage for weeks. On top of that you have work, school, and commitments that aren't easily set aside. 2017-2018 was one of the worst flu seasons of the last decade. And 2020 was... well... YOU KNOW.
But before I go on, a little disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, and these tips should not be used as medical advice.
A lot of these tips are backed by scientific evidence and are common knowledge among health and fitness professionals. They may be common knowledge to you too, but when you're battling a sickness, it's easy to forget the simple things that will give you the edge.
Like I said before, I'm not a doctor. But I do have access to world class health care. How is this so? My mom is a doctor. Anything and everything that has gone wrong, my mom has (in some way) helped me through it. When I was a kid my mom would use all sorts of interesting Chinese modalities to heal wounds and ailments. I grew up using the traditional "gua sha" technique. From colds, coughs, to helping me have better eye sight, she had a remedy. Even before she went to medical school she was brilliant with her remedies. She even healed a baby rattle snake bite (my dad was the victim) and my dad discovered the snake bite on his leg 10 hours after it had happened! He had been cutting wood in the morning, and felt something stick into his leg. He later discovered a baby rattle snake (and removed it from his work space). He didn't put two and two together until hours later he was so sick he couldn't move. His body was "on fire" and he was vomiting. Sure enough after removing his work pants, we noticed a two tiny gouges on his calf. My mom immediately created a concoction that soothed the pain and nausea. He lived to tell the tale.
One thing I have observed about medicine, is that there are so many variables at play, and there are so many things within our own power, that gives our body the feedback it needs to protect and heal itself. Our body literally does all the work, but it is, in many ways, a product of our environment. So if we ingest or apply topical ingredients that contain toxins... our bodies... can become toxic. And when we become overloaded with toxins, our immune system is compromised, leaving us much more vulnerable. Again, a lot of this may seem like "common knowledge" but when you're hit with the sick, your cognitive function diminishes, and it's likely you'll forget to do the things that can really count when battling the cold or flu. So here's that check list, in case you forget, or need to print it out and put it on your fridge as a reminder during flu season.
Some Insights that may need a little more explanation:
1) Gua Sha - Gua Sha should be done when you start feeling ill. You can also use it for sore muscles. For an example of how to do it, Check out this video HERE
The Gua Sha technique removes toxins and decreases inflammation by simply scraping the back with the back of a spoon or with a bone (a tool used in gua sha). You do not scrape hard, be very gentle when scraping. On a sick person, you can see pink, red, or even purple coloration rise to the surface of the skin. This is called the "Sha" or the blood being brought into the epidermis, which will later be flushed out with the natural systems of your body. This moment of "clearance" delivers pain relief and helps prevent infected blood or inflammation to replicate and move deeper within your your systems. My husband used gua sha on me in this photo after I was feeling stuffy and congested. I felt relief almost immediately. I also use it on sore muscles, and even to relieve stomach pains.
2) Humidifier with salt and essential oils - Using a steam vaporizer is great because it adds moisture and humidity into the air allowing you or your child to breath it in. That warm steam helps to loosen the congestion that's built up in the lungs. Add salt and essential oils to purify the air, and minimize bacterial growth. I like to use sea salt, lavender and eucalyptus oil and/or peppermint oil. Vicks Humidifier on Amazon.
3) Diffuser with Essential Oils - Diffusers help purify the air while promoting a good mood. I recommend the following Essential Oil Brands (and they all sell diffusers) - High End brand (Young Living and Doterra), Economy brand (NOW).
4) Wash your hands regularly (especially before meals)
5) Avoid resting your hands on your chin or face
6) Keep your sheets (especially your pillowcase) laundered and fresh
7) Hydrogen Peroxide your toothbrush after every use
8) Anti-parasite herbs and/or foods - eating pumpkin seeds, or proprietary herbal blends that contain anti-parasitic properties keep your immune system optimized. I'm not talking about parasites in your stomach - but rather the ones that live in your salivary glands. They aren't going to kill you, but they do compromise and "distract" the immune system.
9) Anti inflammatory diet - foods that alkalize the blood helps minimize inflammation.
10) Vapor rub on chest and soles of feet(wear socks) at night.
11) Sleep (Take naps and minimize your activities. Don't train when you're sick - it's counterproductive. Light movement is fine, but don't head to the gym. Rest. Rest. Rest.)
12) Drink lots of fluids (broth, soup, water, honey lemon tea, ginger tea, peppermint tea)
13) Epsom salt and essential oil baths
14) Acupressure (for head aches and congestion)
15) Reflexology - I use reflexology daily. Take care of your feet. I cannot stress how important this is.
18) Ayurvedic steam face bath
19) Essential Oil treatments
20) Vitamins - I use Vasayo Renew (8 sprays 2x a day if I'm feeling sick)
21) Fresh Air (light walk)
22) Keep Core Temperature Stabilized (Wear a Jacket! Wear Socks! If you aren't dressed for the weather, you are setting yourself up for failure and cold/flu infiltration)
23) Entertainment (Decompress and rest your brain. Your brain takes up 25% or more of your caloric intake. Entertaining yourself in a way that allows you to decompress will help keep you healthy (during flu season, and throughout life!)
24) Wear Socks - this helps keep your core temperature stabilized, and also helps protect your skin and body from unwanted toxins entering into your bloodstream. Chinese athletes wear shoes for virtually every sport. Don't walk around the house barefoot during the flu months. Wear socks or slippers. The barefooting community may disagree with the wisdom of keeping your feet protected. I'm not saying you shouldn't go barefoot at all. But I would recommend you barefoot with caution, especially during the flu months (October-March).