Dr. Craig Reese, DC. PC.
3000 Center Green Dr., Suite 230
Boulder, CO 80301
303-447-1300


ACUTE ILLNESS

Below are some things to do when you start to feel like you are getting sick. Remember colds and flus are not normal so action should be taken immediately to rid your body of these bugs. Don't wait a few days and hope that it goes away! This is especially true for kids.

1) Stop eating. Don't worry about "starve a cold and feed a fever", or however the old tale goes, just starve them all. This will put less stress on your body and allow your immune system to start working. Many of the old time natural healers believed that the illness was brought on because your body was toxic and needed to purge itself. Drink lots of water, some herbal teas and veggie juices. You can have protein drinks if you feel weak, but try not to eat heavy protein meals.

2) Avoid sugar. This gets special attention because many people consume more sugar when they are sick. There have been numerous studies that all show the negative effect sugar has on your immune system. Within minutes after you eat it, it lowers your white blood cell count so your body can't fight infection as well. Many times, if we want to grow infections in the lab, we grow them in a medium that uses sugar. If you start to feel sick stop consuming any simple sugars. This includes fruit juice unless it is extremely diluted. Eating a few pieces of fruit is still okay.

3) Don't suppress a fever. Fevers are good for the body; they just aren't any fun. The increased temperature causes your white blood cells to move faster and respond to the infection quicker. Also, viral and bacterial organisms don't handle the heat very well and die faster. If you suppress a fever, the infection lasts longer and gets worse. Keep warm and hydrated and eventually you will break into a sweat. This cycle of being chilled and then sweating may happen several times before the infection is gone. When I have a fever, I like to sit in the sauna or a hot Epsom salts bath, drink 1-2 liters of water, and sweat for 20-30 minutes.

4) Take herbs. At the first sign of illness take any of the following every hour: Echinacea, golden seal, neem, coptis, osha, elderberry, vitamin C, isatis, essential oils, usnea, lomatium, homeopathic cold and flu remedies, garlic, cayenne, Breathe Easy tea, Echinacea Plus tea, Throat Coat tea are all helpful. You can use a dropperful of tea tree oil in a bottle of nasal saline rinse for your sinuses. You can mix tea tree oil and olive oil (50/50) and put it in your ears for pain and infection. The key is to start immediately and you will feel better in a few hours to a day or two. Some other rules of thumb that might come in handy are listed below.

a) If you or your child have green or bright yellow mucous, then goldenseal usually works the best.
b) If the mucous is clear use echinacea.
c) If the mucous is slightly yellow try echinacea and goldenseal combined.
d) If the mucous is thick and white it could be from molds, yeast or fungus. Remember that Mayo Clinic's research showed most sinus infections were caused by fungus or yeast.
e) If the mucous is thin and watery, your condition could be caused by environmental chemicals.
f) Use goldenseal with fevers over 101( and Echinacea for fevers under 101).
g) Fevers are good but they aren't any fun. As long as the person stays warm and hydrated the fever will never get too high or be life-threatening. If your child refuses to drink anything, have them suck on ice cubes or make diluted fruit juice popcicles for them to eat. Pedialyte drink or popcicles can also help.
h) Most people don't take enough herbs or supplements when they are sick. Dosing yourself every hour is better than taking a lot all at once. If you are not significantly better in 2-3 days then you aren't taking enough or you're taking the wrong remedy. Don't go on hoping it will eventually work. Either increase your dosage or try a different remedy.
i) Prolonged use of Tea Tree oil in your nose or your ears will eventually irritate those tissues. It should be used intermittently with straight saline rinse for the nose and warm olive oil for the ears. I recommend you using the combination for 2-3 days and then the plain solution for a day or two. Repeat this cycle as needed to get rid of the sinus infection or ear infection.
j) Don't suppress a cough. Coughing is the body's mechanism for cleaning the lungs. Suppressing it makes the infection worse and can lead to pneumonia. If you can't sleep because you are coughing too much, use a cough drop or a natural cough syrup. I recommend Fisherman's Friends Original cough drops. They have been around since 1865 and are very powerful, but they don't taste like candy. They come in a white package and can usually be found at Rite Aid Drugs or at some of the Internet pharmacies (www.drugstore.com). If a cough lasts longer than a week it may be caused by parasites.

5) Move your body. Lying around in bed makes it harder to get well because it stops the lymphatic system from doing its job. It is the sewer system of the body that collects all the waste from the tissues and dumps them into the venous blood to be excreted. Muscle contraction and massage are the two most efficient ways to stimulate the movement of lymphatic fluids. If the lymph system backs up with fluid from not moving the muscles, the tissues of the body begin to swell. This edema can effect the lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen, etc. GENTLE exercise will stimulate your lymphatics to drain the tissues and promote detoxification of your body. Doing arm movements helps to drain the lungs. Hard exercise won't kill you, but you might feel worse if you over work your body when you're sick. The lymph system is also a major part of your immune system and produces lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) to fight the infection.

6) Get adequate rest. Rest helps your body recuperate faster. If you are tired during the day, take a nap. Pushing past the exhaustion will only make you sicker. Listen to your body.
Rest it when it gets tired.

The reason why you are now sick is because you didn't take good care of your body in the first place. It is not because of some "bug" that was waiting for you when you got to work or that your kids brought home from school. If your immune system is weak, you will catch every cold or flu germ that comes around. If it is strong, your body will fight any infection it comes in contact with. That is how people have survived the dozens of plagues that have hit this planet. The Black Plague of Europe was medium in its scope and effect when compared to some of the plaques of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. But no plague or influenza in history has ever killed everyone in the area. Was it luck or a strong immune system that saved them?

After 40-50 years of over-using antibiotics, we now have super bugs that are too tough to kill with pharmaceuticals. Even the FDA is finally mandating warnings to doctors to stop using antibiotics for most colds and bronchitis because these drugs are ineffective. Mayo clinic's research showed that over 96% of all sinus infections studied were fungal, not bacterial, yet the standard treatment is still antibiotics and not anti-fungals. Actually, the greatest drug manufacturer in the world is right inside your body. Your immune system, when strong and healthy, will produce the appropriate antibody to fight the correct infection in the proper dosages and without any side effects. The steps I've outlined above will help your immune system to do its job like it is designed to. At the first sign of illness, immediately start taking whatever herbs or homeopathics you have in the house. If you are not better in a day or two than get in and I'll check you to determine what you need. Don't wait weeks hoping it will go away or living on Nyquil and Sudafed. The correct natural solutions work quickly and don't make you feel drugged. Take the herbs every hour and you'll feel better fast! If not, get in here and I'll help you find the right combination to take.

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