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7 Health Hacks To Help You Survive The Cold & Flu Season

The Starks have been warning us that winter is coming, and now it is here.

Incase you’re not prepared or get caught out between now and the season’s end, below are a few easy health hacks to help reduce the severity of any colds and flu,

You may also like to join the CDK tribe to grab your free copy of the Natural Remedies eBook to which I contributed. It’s an A-Z guide filled with natural remedies, draw on principals in naturopathy, Chinese medicine, nutrition and more.

1. Salt Water Gargles

My Mum always made me do this when I started feeling sick and it really did help! The trick is keeping it going, because once I slacked off, the cold would usually flare back up. Saline has an antimicrobial action and the warm water is soothing. Fill a 250mL glass with recently boiled water (it should be a bit more than lukewarm) and stir in 1-2tsp of salt. Take a mouthful, gargle for 10 seconds, spit, repeat until empty. Do this every 1-2 hours.

2. Steam Inhalations

Fill a large bowl with just boiled water, hold your head over it and cover your head with a sheet or towel. Slowly breathe in the steam through your nose to help loosen mucous and clear your sinuses. If you feel that it is getting too hot, lift the towel off for a bit or hold your head further away.

Optional: Add 3-4 drops of essential oils into the water such as Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lavender, Thyme and Pine. Variation – put some drops of essential oil on the floor of your shower and let the hot water from the shower release the oils into the air (make sure the door is closed to prevent the steam from escaping).

Pregnant or Breastfeeding? Make sure you check with your health practitioner before doing this, as some essential oils are best avoided during this time.

Need to buy essential oils? The doTERRA Essential Oils hub has information on how to sign-up and order your first set of the best oils in the biz. These oils are pure, organic and sustainable, not to mention powerful. Get started here.

3. Mustard Foot Baths

In a foot bath mix 1 tbsp (bruised or crushed) mustard seeds with 1L hot water, and allow your feet to soak in this mix. Take this opportunity to relax! After a little while you might notice that you’re tasting the mustard! A property contained in the mustard seeds is absorbed through the fatty tissue in your feet, and excreted through the lungs, killing off some buggies on the way.

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4. Lemon, Garlic, Ginger & Black Pepper Tea

Grate some fresh garlic and ginger into a mug, add some cracked black pepper and a couple of slices of lemon, cover with boiled water and allow to steep for a few minutes. You can add some manuka honey to sweeten. This is a great soothing tea for clearing mucous and soothing sore throats. Don’t go too overboard with the honey, as consuming too much sugar can make your cold last longer.

5. Add Natural Bug-Zappers In Your Diet

There are many herbs and spices which contain anti-microbial properties and including these in your cooking is a great way to support your immune system. Fresh garlic is one of the best ways to do this – it contains a chemical which kills off a big range of bugs, but thankfully usually leaves the friendly bacteria in our gut alone. Oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage also contain some anti-bacterial properties. Holy basil (Tulsi) tea can also be very helpful for the immune system. Spices such as cinnamon, turmeric and cumin are also good to include in the diet for their circulation boosting, immune enhancing, anti-microbial activity.

Coconut oil may be helpful in supporting the immune system as it contains lauric acid, a type of fatty acid with anti-microbial properties. Add a little of this into your diet (such as to cook with) every now and then.

You know what the opposite of a bug zapper is? Sugar. The little critters love the stuff, and when you eat sugar your immune system has a harder time dealing with infections. So if you’re susceptible to getting ill during winter, cut out, or at least reduce the (added) sugar in your diet.

6. Sinus Rinsing

Washing your sinuses out with lukewarm saline can be an effective way to clear a blockage, but it also helps to wash away infections. You can achieve this by using a neti pot, a nasal spray, or even by inhaling through one nostril on a saucer (this can be a little trickier however, my preference is the spray or neti pot).

Optional: Add a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint or thyme oil to help kill the bugs. Some nasal spray preparations contain Xylitol, which can be helpful in combating chronic fungal infections.

7. Protect Your ‘Wind Gate’

Your wind-what? According to traditional Chinese medicine principles it’s important to protect your ‘Wind Gate’ (located at the base of your neck and your lower back) during windy days as if these areas are exposed it is thought that you will be more likely to get a cold. So wear a scarf and a long coat to keep out the chills.

Do you have any life hacks for cold weather? I love learning new and amazing health hacks, so please go and and share them in the comments below! 

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P.S. There are just some health hacks everyone should know to help them survive the cold and flu season. Be a pal and share this article with someone who’ll be grateful for the tips. Go on, the big share buttons are just below, for you to use.

Alison Mitchell Naturopath

Alison is a practicing Naturopath, based in Windsor and Dural, NSW. She also offers consultations via Skype. She is passionate about helping people reclaim their health and vitality by blending traditional healing methods with the latest research. She is thorough and caring in her approach and believes in an individualised approach to treatment and diet. She is a foodie and an advocate of the 80/20 rule, and she believes that life is meant to be enjoyed and that good health is one of the best ways to do this.

SHOWHIDE Comments (3)
  1. Thanks for sharing these Alison :-). I’ve never heard of (and love the concept of) mustard foot baths – must try one! Is there a particular brand/type you recommend? x

    1. You’re so welcome Carly! I don’t recommend a particular brand of mustard, you can get the seeds from the supermarket or local spice shop. Brown, yellow, black mustard – they will all be fine 🙂

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