surviving without the doctor

Cold? Flu? Allergies? Pt.2 Prevent

Cold, flu, ear infections, coughs, upper respiratory infections strike millions of human beings every year and send many of those same people piling into the doctors office. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, grid down or SHTF situation (or even not having health insurance) what will you do? What would you do to help someone you loved? I have put together a list of ‘things’ you can do to prevent and treat these common health challenges that will become more prevalent as time wears on due to higher rates of unemployment, homelessness, and stress (yes, stress! Stress has a DIRECT impact on your immune system), its not that being unemployed, homeless or stressed out makes you sick, it just means that some of the most basic ‘healthy’ ways become secondary to survival…sanitation, access to medicines and doctors, living in close quarters, eating less than desirably to maintain health. A lower standard of living than what we have seen in the past few decades will result in higher incidences of colds, flues, and the like. It happens…be prepared! Some are very basic concepts and some get more detailed and may take planning on your part to ‘be ready’ ‘just in case’ but all have value in our survival.

First things first…wash your hands! Soap is cheap…and the last time I looked water was readily available. This is a drop dead imperative and may save your life…you hands touch everything and are most likely to ‘give’ us whatever it is that we ‘catch’. Soap and water, at least 30 seconds of rubbing and then rinse off your hands in (preferably) hot/warm water until the soap is gone. In a pinch, bottled water will work. This is your first line of defense against ‘catching’ something. Second best is using an alcohol based hand sanitizer, but be aware of this: while they can be very effective, they don’t get everything like soap and water can and in fact, don’t kill some of the more virulent viruses and bacteria out there. And in a pinch, use a baby wipe or one of those Clorox type bathroom cleaner wipes. Doing something is better than nothing in this case.

On the same note: keep your hands by your side…germs are great at getting into your system through the eyes, nose and mouth. Be conscious about rubbing your eyes, your nose or any other part of the face. Don’t give those germs an opportunity.

Eat your apples, squashes and other fall foods. There is no ‘true’ science behind what I am about to say except to say that many of the vitamins and minerals found in foods that are harvested in the ‘fall’ of the year help you fight off infections, colds and flues. There is a distinct and intrinsic knowledge in mother nature. Vitamins A and D are big helpers in keeping your immune system healthy…which brings me to my next suggestion…

Take your vitamin D supplement…again, another ‘non-scientific’ preventive, but empirical (meaning observed) evidence suggests that those who are out in the sun as much as possible during the summer, spring and fall and then take vitamin D in the winter are less likely to get sick with a cold, cough or flu. Lack of Vitamin D has been implicated as ‘causal’ in individuals who are ‘sick’ all the time.

Cook with and eat your garlic and onions and apple cider vinegar and honey. All 4 of these have shown anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral activity. Its easy to incorporate garlic and onions into your cooking on a daily basis and while ‘fresh’ is best, dried will help too.

An old folk remedy is to make a cup of tea and add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey and drink once a day or every other day to keep the doctor away. Sounds gross, yes, but there are many, self included, who swear by it. Personally I buy the apple cider vinegar that has the mother tincture in it…works ‘better’ it seems.

Now lets get into herbal immune stimulants/supporters that are known in the herbal world as ‘tonics’ that can be taken regularly to prevent coughs, cold, sinus infections and upper respiratory problems.

Burdock, Cayenne, Dandelion, Garlic, Ginseng, Nettles, Yellow Dock, Astragulus. Use burdock root daily during the cold/flu season along with nettles, ginseng and dandelions. A tea made of these taken daily will help to keep the nasty bugs away from you. Pick one, pick all but a cup of tea will keep you out of harms way.

Use Echinacea when you are definitely around others who are sick…be advised though, overtime, Echinacea will stop ‘stimulating’ your immune system and be less effective in preventing. It is often recommended to use Echinacea for 10 days and then take a 4 day break before using again. I personally recommend to drink a cup of tea or using the tincture for 3 days on 3 days off or every other day for prevention. Astragulus is similar to Echinacea…use the same way for prevention.

Ginseng can be taken daily to help pump up your immune system.

Here’s another thought…do you have a wood stove? or a way to put a pot of water on and heat so that it releases steam? Using any herb that has anti-bacterial or anti-viral properties you can create within a house a hostile environment by simply adding some herbs to the kettle or pot of water and boiling on simmer so that steam and the oils in the herbs are released into the air and you thus breath them in helping to prevent infections from occuring…this also humidifies the air which helps the mucous membranes maintain their proper balance during the winter time. This is important because as the mucous membranes dry out, it causes ‘cracks’ which allow germs to penetrate into the body and get a foothold into the body more easily.

Also, many times post-nasal drip (which can cause an unrelenting cough) is caused by the membranes being too dry (dry air). Some of my own favorite herbs to use in humidifying the air:

Eclampane/Inula Thyme Cloves Chamomile Peppermint Cinnamon Rosemary Lavender Almost any herb can be placed into a kettle or pot to make what I will call health steam which not only humidifies the air, but the steam also carries tiny droplets of the oils from these plants which are then breathed in or settle on surfaces thus helping to make the environment you live in hostile to germs.

Next, get your sleep! A healthy immune system begins with getting enough rest.

Take your elderberry syrup…this is an old fashion way to help bolster your immune system. I would personally recommend 1 tsp every other day for preventative measures. Best part is that it can also be used as food!

You may also go one step further in helping yourself and your loved ones to avoid catching the flu by taking a homeopathic remedy specifically designed to fight the flu before you get it. There are several variants on the market today. The trick is this, don’t follow the directions on the box! If you buy the most popular brand take 3-4 pellets ONCE A WEEK. There are others that are tablets, take one tablet once a week. IT WORKS! If you are exposed to someone who has the flu or a cold take 3 times in one day to prevent infection. DO NOT take repeatedly if you do not show symptoms! This will cause symptoms to appear…it is called ‘proving’.

And finally, if all else fails and you do get sick…remember this…stay home!

Most germs spread passively, either from a hand or through water droplets (a nice way of saying someone coughed or sneezed without covering their mouth/nose when doing so) they are opportunistic in their nature…so IF you are sick, stay home, don’t go grocery shopping, don’t be running around do non-essential ‘errands’ and if at ALL possible, call in sick to work. In the right situations germs will spread like wild fire and while I get and understand that you need that ‘paycheck’ think about those around you…don’t you get irritated with that mom or dad who takes their kid to childcare or the babysitter who is sick and make everyone else (including staff) sick? How many time have you personally gotten irritated with the co-worker who is hacking away? Or even still, you have to take off work because you child brought something home from school and is running a wild temperature because another parent thoughtlessly sent their child to school sick. Remember these things the next time YOU get sick, in a pandemic or major outbreak of disease, not just including respiratory problems, it is thoughtlessness that will get you and others killed or sick.

In Part 3 I will discuss various options to help yourself if you do ‘catch’ something.


December 2, 2011 - Posted by | Herbs, Medical Conditions, Self-Help

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