Cough and Cold Management

The colder weather is around the corner and the inevitable cold and flu season is not far behind.

The best way of treat a cough or cold and to STOP IT BEFORE it infects. So any tickle or dryness in the throat you feel, any heavy head, unexplained fatigue, jump on this right away so you don’t end up with a full infection. Once the infection sets in, NOTHING you can do will take it away other than waiting – your body has to go through the full process of activating your immune system, killing off and removing the virus – if it doesn’t do this, the virus will linger longer. The symptoms you experience are not from the infection, but it’s your BODY’S response to the infection so at this point, all you can do is encourage the immune process to clear the infection out quicker  

Once you feel any symptom that you make be getting sick:

1. Vitamin C: 1000-4000mg daily can help boost your immune system – if it creates loose stools, reduce the dosage by 1000mg

2. Echinacea (purpurea or angustiolia species): You can get echinacea from your local health food stores – talk to a healthcare profession for dosages. You can take this in tincture, tea or tablet form. Echinacea is most effective for preventing the infection to set, rather than clearing your symptoms when you have a full blown cold

3. Oil of Oregano – 2-3 drops under the tongue 3-6x/day

4. Keep hydrated – drink lots of water

5. Get adequate rest – don’t go partying that day, it’s ample opportunity to wear down your immune system and allow the infection to set in
If you’re too late and you develop the cold and full blown symptoms, the goal is the reduce the duration, keep symptoms mild and prevent COINFECTIONS from setting in. Remedies are used to encourage and strengthen your immune system to help efficiently clear out the bug, and to
prevent different ones from invading (your ear infections, pneumonias, bronchitis).

1. Continue with the Vitamin C

2. Continue with your Echinacea – this will help boost your immune system and protect you from co-infections

3. Garlic Tea:

▪ cloves of garlic crushed, 1-2 tsp unpasturized local honey (not for kids under 2 years old), a slice of lemon in 2 cups of boiling hot water – let it steep for 10 mins

▪ Drink this 1-6x/day as it’s soothing to the mucous membranes, the garlic is a potent antimicrobial and it will keep you hydrated

▪ * If you have stubborn mucus in your chest and sinuses that won’t come out, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. This herb encourages the production of fresh, liquid mucus that will move away the stubbon, hard, gluey mucus that is hard to get out

4. If your feverish, a cool cloth to the forehead and the back of the neck can really keep you comfortable, provide relaxation and temperature control. Fevers are there to kill off the virus, you want to encourage this process, not suppress it (though you should not have a sustained fever at 39C or higher for longer than 1-2 hours, if so, seek medical attention). Once the fever breaks, you’re on your way to recovery and just have to deal with all the ooze draining out, which contains used immune cells and killed virus/bacteria – this shouldn’t last for more than 1-2 days

5. Rest, hydration and sleep – you know the drill If you have a chronic cough that won’t go away (the dreaded 100 day cough), call me, I can fix that right up!

Dr. Tanya Lee is a naturopathic doctor currently practicing in Milton Ontario. Tanya was drawn to the naturopathic profession for its core beliefs in treating the whole person.  Dr. Lee practice general medicine, with a special interest in children's health, women's health and pregnancy.
Dr. Lee offers flu prevention and immune strengthening consultations for fall and winter.   Her treatment strategies involve boosting the immune system through naturopathic treatments and providing education and information to parents to better equip them for cold and flu season.    
For more information on Dr. Lee and her practice, please visit, Health Centre of Milton.