Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Bug beaters

Well thank goodness it's warming up a bit. I'm thoroughly bored of my winter wardrobe and feel desperately in need of some sunshine.

The warmer weather should hopefully kill off the plethora of colds, sore throats and flu that have been circulating in the city - there's hardly a person I know who hasn't been off with something in the last month.

On that basis I thought it was worth sharing a few tips to get yourself better. It's also worth noting that if you're finding you're picking up more bugs or taking longer to get better than your colleagues it's a strong sign that you're generally run down and need some rest and nutritional support. Take the hint and clean up your diet, clear the social schedule and get some serious zzzz.

Whatever you have vitamin C is still the original super supplement to get you well again. You can take much higher doses than you may realise, 3-4g a day for a few days is usually fine.
But it's no substitute for fruit and veg so eat as much of these as you can - raw, steamed, smoothied, made into soups - just pile your plate high! Also worth noting that sugar and vitamin C share the same carrier into cells so to maximize vitamin C absorption you need to avoid sugar as much as possible.

Water is also essential, and when you have a temperature you will sweat out quite a lot of liquid so aim for 2 litres of plain water daily.

Sore throats:
Sore throats are usually the first sign you're getting ill, they can also occur without an actual infection in individuals with an impaired stress response - so if you get these a lot it's worth getting your adrenal glands tested.

Either way take a sore throat as a sign that you need to take it easy - skip the gym, have a healthy dinner and get an early night.

Vitamin C can be absorbed directly though the endothelial cells lining your mouth so freshly squeezed fruit juices can be beneficial as can the juice of half a lemon or a whole lime added to some warm water (sweeten with manuka honey if desired).

If it's gotten to the point of swollen tonsils and pain on swallowing then it can be tempting to reach for the ice cream, but sugar and dairy are the immune systems enemies so steer clear. Instead keep berries and frozen chopped up banana or mango in the freezer - blend up with a bit of water to create a tasty, soothing and vitamin C rich soothing slush puppy. Blending up frozen bananas on their own makes a yummy banana ice cream.

No one likes to walk round the office with a bright red runny nose! Fortunately nature provides a few natural decongestants.

Firstly take the opportunity to have a hotter curry than you'd usually be able to tolerate, but do this at home as it'll cause a good nasal clear out! The spices in curry are also antimicrobial so great for killing bugs.

Horseradish is also a natural decongestant that dries up mucus so add some to your sandwiches. If you don't like the taste you can get a great horseradish supplement from Biocare (Muccolyte plus) to use to dry up a cold rather than turning to Sudofed.
Don't forget you'll be losing lots of fluid through your nose so don't let yourself get dehydrated.

A genuine flu will leave you feeling like you've been run over by a truck and unable to get out of bed which is exactly where you should stay. Dragging yourself back to work when you're not fully recovered can lead to lingering or secondary infections so don't run the risk.

Listen to your appetite and if you don't feel like eating then stick to fresh fruit juices, clear soups like Miso or chickenbroth, and lots of water and herbal tea.

Keep warm as your immune system operates better at a higher temperature and use the colour of your urine as a gauge for dehydration, anything darker than a pale straw.
Hopefully you have a flatmate or partner who can look after you, but otherwise phone a friend to bring you supplies.

Also don't hold back from calling your GP or NHS direct if you're feeling particularly poorly, flu symptoms can be similar to those for more serious conditions and flu can be pretty serious in itself, unless of course it's man flu ;-)

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