Monday, October 31, 2011

The Essential At-Home Flu Prevention Kit

Chances are you or someone in your family will develop the flu or some sort of cold this winter season. We know that the closer we catch these viruses to the onset of symptoms, the less debilitating the symptoms become and the faster their resolution. Often our busy lives prevent us from coming to see our Naturopathic Doctors right away to get that immediate help. Having a well stocked natural home pharmacy helps us get a jump on viruses and move us back to our state of wellness.

Here's a list of 'The Top 5 Essentials to pick up before those coughs and sneezes show up:

1- Castor oil: Castor oil is a wonderful immune stimulant when applied to the skin. It can be used in lymph massage over the neck to treat a sore throat, on the chest with some essential oils to treat a cough, or over the liver for detoxification when the goal is simply health promotion. A bottle of castor oil will last the family for the winter.

2- Eucalyptus Essential oil: Eucalyptus oil is a antimicrobial and decongestant, helping with conditions from bronchitis to ear infections. It can be added to castor oil and rubbed onto the chest or neck, or dropped into a bath, shower or pot of hot water for a steam inhalation.

3- Lymphdiaral orLymphagen cream: Both of these creams contain plant-based ingredients that help move and clear lymph fluid from lymph vessels and nodes. When our body is fighting an infection our lymph nodes may become enlarged and painful. Gentle massage around the lymph nodes in the direction of our heart helps to move the lymph fluid out of areas where its stuck.

4- Oscillococcinum- This hard to pronounce homeopathic remedy is great to take at the first signs of the flu. Fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches are all fairly common flu symptoms that respond well to a few doses of Oscillococcinum.

5- Sinus Rinse Kit/Netti Pot- Sinus infections can be painful and slow to resolve. Rinsing our sinuses daily helps to remove the excess mucous that develops in response to infection and decreases the inflammation causing the pain. Add a 1/4 tsp of salt and 250mL of warm water to your sinus rinse bottle; squeeze the mixture into one nostril and let it run out of the other. It may take a few tries to get the hang of the process - just remember to breath out of your mouth!

The remedies above can be used on the whole family, children included. Come in and see your Naturopathic Doctor if you have any questions about the Flu Kit, or about other things that you can do to help prevent and treat colds and flu.