Preparing for autumn and winter health

This article was originally published in October 2004

Woman with a cold

from PCC staff

(October 2004) — The cold and flu season is sneaking up on us, so it’s time to start thinking about a line of defense. There’s no substitute, of course, for consulting your health practitioner.

But there are some common-sense reminders that may help in navigating the coughing and sneezing season: eat well, get plenty of sleep and drink enough water to float your insides! We’d also like to share some feedback from shoppers on favorite products.

For general immune system support

Nature’s Way SystemWell Ultimate Immunity Formula or Source Naturals Wellness Formula — Both of these are multi-system herbal/vitamin formulas that can be taken for immune system maintenance throughout the winter and as a remedy when the immune system is compromised.

Vitamin C — Vitamin C is critical to immune function. Infection (from flu and colds) depletes the normal high concentration of vitamin C in our white blood cells, needed to fight infection. If you don’t like swallowing pills, give the Alacer Emer’gen C fizzing effervescent C a try.

Zinc lozenges — Zinc offers direct anti-viral activity against several viruses that cause the common cold. Zinc lozenges may be taken every two hours during infection, not to exceed 150 mg of zinc per day, and not to be taken for more than seven days straight.

Echinacea extracts — Many people prefer echinacea in extract form, either from Herb Pharm or from Natural Factors. Echinacea stimulates the production of macrophages — those cells that literally gobble up bacteria and viruses in our bodies. It works best when taken at the earliest signs of infection — when you first get a scratchy throat or runny nose —but can continue to stimulate macrophage production even after you’re really sick. For those of you who can’t take echinacea (due to a daisy allergy, for example), try Oregon’s Wild Harvest Northwest Wintertime Support.

For colds, flu and respiratory

Sleeplessness often accompanies colds and flu. Try Natra-Bio NightTime Cold Plus for coughs and cold/flu symptoms that bother you at night. For daytime cough, congestion or irritated throat try Natra-Bio Cough Syrup.

If you are plagued by repeated sinus infections try Natra-Bio Cold & Sinus Nasal Spray with Zinc. This is a non-addictive nasal spray that does not have the “rebound” side-effect of conventional drug store nasal sprays like Afrin. The Natra-Bio Cold & Sinus Nasal Spray offers relief from congestion and excessive runny nose, and includes zinc, which offers direct anti-viral activity in your nose.

For a more aggressive treatment of sinus infection and persistent nasal congestion, try an Ancient Secrets Neti Nasal Cleansing Pot. This unique ceramic pot that looks like a teapot is for irrigating the nasal passages. You just wouldn’t believe how many of these we sell in our stores!

For scratchy throats or aggravating coughs, try Zand HerbaLozenges. They are soothing, sugar-free throat/cough lozenges in assorted flavors. Some are also made with zinc.

Finally, wash your hands with warm soapy water throughout the day, especially after blowing your nose or covering your cough. Even a brief scrub greatly reduces the number of germs you carry around.

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