Stuffy nose? Congested eyes? Drainage? Cough? Ugh, the symptoms of cold, flu, and respiratory and sinus infections are uncomfortable and disruptive to both trying to get through the day and sleeping through the night. The good news is you will likely get through it with some rest, time, and maybe a good Chiropractic adjustment. The bad news, you will feel pretty crummy for a few days.
But wait! There are some things that you can do for yourself to help feel more comfortable. So we want to share a few of what we've found works for the majority of people when they need to relieve some uncomfortable symptoms.
First, supporting your immune system to make sure it has all the possible fire power it needs to take on whatever bug you have is of utmost importance. Supporting your immune system will help you be rid of your illness faster, your immune system will be stronger and you will be less likely to enjoy another bug in the near future.
How do I do that? We glad you asked!
Congaplex to the rescue! Congaplex is effective at helping the immune system do its thing. By supplying all the nutrients that the immune system needs, Congaplex helps mobilize immune sentinels (T Cells) so they can take out any bug that crosses their path. (1)
We recommend taking Congaplex at the first sign of a bug or as soon as you can. We also find it best to continue taking it for three to four days after all symptoms are gone. Many patients, including ourselves, have had the pleasure of the lessening symptoms and speeding recovery using Congaplex. We carry Congaplex in the clinic, ready for people to pick up at the first sign of illness (or any time throughout). Plus, anyone at any age can use Congaplex! It works great for children.
Immuplex is great for those who want to be proactive and support the immune system before getting sick. This can also be used for immune system recovery post illness. Many patients report that they, "just do not get sick," when they take a maintenance dosage. It is such a great immune system builder!
Lastly, and very importantly, get quality sleep. Make sleep a priority when you are under the weather. The immune system is dependent on sleep to function. In fact, it is during sleep that the body facilitates the movement of T cells and their redistribution to lymph nodes. Some studies have revealed sleep has a selective enhancement on cytokines, promoting the interaction between antigen presenting cells and T helper cells, like interleukin-12.(2) What does all of that mean? It means that sleep is important to a fully functioning immune system. If you are having difficulty getting to sleep, try some of the following for symptom relief. If you want to read more about the importance of sleep and how you can help improve it, check out our previous blog on sleep.
Tried and True Symptom Relief - Sometimes the symptoms of a cold, flu, or infection keep you from being comfortable and can disrupt needed sleep. There are some wonderful options that you can utilize to increase comfort and help detox a congested area allowing your body to handle the stress it is experiencing more gracefully.
Essential oils that are helpful in cold, flu, and infection**:
To open sinus To relax a cough To relief muscle aches
Peppermint Eucalyptus Ginger
Spearmint Rosemary Rosemary
Frankincense Frankincense Lavender
Lemon Elemi Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus Cypress Spruce
Tea Tree Lavender Clove Bud
Cedarwood Cedarwood Cinnamon Leaf
Pine Anise Birch
Clove Bud Fennel
Steam Inhalation: Use to clear a stuffed sinus, soothe irritated bronchial tubes and mucus membranes, loosen mucus in the lungs, and clear the head. This is great to do first thing in the morning and before bedtime or really anytime you are feeling stuffy, have sinus congestion, or need to soothe a crummy cough.
Get out the following:
1 Cup of Water and a pot to heat it up on the stove top
1 Large Bowl
1 Towel to cover your head
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar (or white vinegar)
Essential Oils (use below or pick your own see above)
5 drops Eucalyptus - to open sinus and relax cough
5 drops Elemi (or Frankincense) - to relax cough and help expel phlem
5 drops Clove Bud - open sinus, relax muscles, reduce headache
5 drops Cedarwood - open sinus, reduce spasms, relax cough
Heat the water until it is hot but not yet boiling. While the water is heating, add the Apple Cider Vinegar to the bowl and any essential oils.
Pour heated water it into the bowl.
Close your eyes! and Put the towel completely over your head and the bowl.
Now breathe through your nose slowly and deeply. Your nose might be stuffed at first, keep breathing. Your nose will start to run – let it run into the bowl. Keep breathing in the steam for at least 3 mins and up to 10 mins, taking mini breaks if needed. It may also loosen up congestion in the lungs and help you cough up the evil spirits easily.
Comfort Rub: With just a few natural, organic, and safe ingredients, you can make a rub that can be applied to the chest, upper back, and temples for comfort and relief. This is great for the person who is struggling with a crummy cough, achy muscles, or sick headache that is keeping them from getting some sleep. Plus, it will keep for several months allowing for multiple applications.
Use ½ Cup coconut oil or shea butter – warm just enough to melt
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Add essential oils (see above)
10 drops Eucalyptus - open sinus and relax cough
10 drops Lavender - open sinus, relax cough, ease sore muscles, ease a sick headache
5 drops Thyme - open sinus, expel phlem
5 drops Basil - open sinus, relax cough and ease lungs, ease a sick headache
5 drops Cypress - relax cough, eases spasms
Mix the melted oil with the olive oil. Then add essential oils. Mix until well incorporated. Let sit until firm. It should be firm but easy to rub onto the chest, back, or temples.
Sore Throat Salt Gargle: Okay, so I have a love hate feeling for salt gargles. I dislike the taste of the saltwater, but it works so darn well that I love it when I need it! A salt gargle can help clear the throat of mucus, decrease the irritation and burning, and reduce the minor swelling that makes you feel so uncomfortable.
Warm 1 Cup of water just above body temperature.
Add 1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt and dissolve into the water
Optional - 1 drop of Oregano essential oil to help with infection
Take about 1 ounce of the saltwater into your mouth, tip back your head, and gargle as deeply as possible without swallowing. Gargle for about 30 secs and spit out the saltwater. Repeat. You may experience a bit of a sinus drain during or a little while after gargling. That is normal. You may find combining steam inhalation with a sea gargle to be very helpful if you are extremely congested.
Should you come down with the creeping crud, know that you can safely and naturally relieve your symptoms while your immune system gets to work.
**Essential oils need to be used with caution. Do not apply them directly to your skin or use when pregnant without advice from a trained health care professional.
(1) In a series of cell-culture experiments using immortalized T cells, Standard Process researchers showed that Congaplex affected signals produced by white blood cells. When a substance that provokes an immune response (antigen) is detected by T cells, these immune sentinels release cytokines (like IL-2 or TNF-α) that direct the action of the immune system. Cytokine production increased in the cells supplemented with Congaplex.
(2) Pflugers Arch. 2012 Jan; 463(1): 121–137.
Kathi loves helping people to live life fully and healthfully. She uses natural products and makes many of them for herself and family members. She firmly believes that you can go through healing gracefully while supporting your own bodies natural ability to heal. And yep, Congaplex, Immuplex and other nutritional and herbal supports, along with Chiropractic Adjustments, are in her arsenal for staying cold and flu free. Oh and she loves a good steam inhalation bath on those occasions that a bug manages to take hold.