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Everyone hates getting sick, especially this time of year when there is so much to enjoy.
I like to use natural ingredients whenever possible and being sick is no different. In fact, I think that using the store bought stuff can actually do more harm than good since our bodies have to work harder to cleanse those toxins from our immune systems later on.
The only problem I find with looking up natural or holistic remedies for cold and flu season online is that I often come across ingredients I rarely hear of, or simply cannot get without some research and a well-timed order to Amazon.
Luckily, since I started working with pre-school kids who, contrary to popular belief, have absolutely no personal hygiene skills, I have perfected a five-step plan to keep from getting the dreaded cold without using any weird/hard-to-get ingredients like unicorn hair or dragon spit!
1) Salt Water
This is an old remedy, most likely one you’ll remember from childhood. Mix half a teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water. Gargle two or three times for about 30 seconds each.
This helps to reduce the swelling of a sore throat, loosen mucus and release toxins.
2) Hydrogen Peroxide
You know that ominous brown bottle that always sat at the back of your parents’ medicine cabinet? Time to put it to work.
Pour one cap-full into your ear and let it sit for 10 minutes. I like to set up a comfortable place to lay down before I put it in my ear so I don’t have to walk around my apartment tripping over dog toys with my head held sideways for any longer than I have to.
It will start to bubble and fizz. This is good. It’s killing any bacteria that may linger in your ear drums and since our sinuses are all connected, putting hydrogen peroxide in our ears can actually help clear our noses and throats up too.
3) Neti Pot
I have to admit, the first time I used a Neti Pot I felt a little silly pouring the miniature teapot into my nose, but it really works.
I use the same mixture of salt and warm water as I do for the gargle. Then I pour it through each side of my nose for about 10 seconds or so (three times each side). After each side I blow my nose to release all the loosened mucus and bacteria.
4) Lemon Water
I use the Liver Kick recipe from Rainbeau Mars.
3 cups water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
The Vitamin C in lemon juice helps to boost the immune system plus lemon juice helps to hydrate us pushing the toxins out of the body.
Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial properties which help to fight colds by building up good enzymes in our guts. They help to fight off infection and build up the lymphatic system by breaking down mucus in the body.
I find this one to be particularly difficult especially during the fall season when the weather is perfect to be outside. Though a short, easy walk may help to boost our endorphins and make us feel better, we should be weary of any intense exercise if we’re feeling a cold coming on. This kind of extreme physical activity puts added stress on the body and the immune system which could prolong the illness.
Take a couple of days off and grab a nap instead, it may save you weeks of rest later on.
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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Okko Pyykko