Cold and Flu
Friend or Foe
For years, whenever a patient came to me with the cold or flu symptoms problems, I gave them the best pharmaceutical medical treatments available.
I’d prescribe cough medicines, antibiotics and decongestants. This treatment plan helped some patients but others not really. I also found that more advertising about the flu there was the busier my office was becoming. I would extend my office hours, work through lunch and still there were many loyal patients who could not get into my office to see me. After several long days, I would call to check on my patients, especially the ones who could not get in to see me, to see how they were doing, was there anything I could prescribe for them? I started noticing that the patients who didn’t get the medication seemed to recover faster. Plus, they wouldn’t be back in to see the next month with another illness. How could they be healthier- they received no medicine?
I started questioning if anything I was prescribing was helping the patients at all. Plus, was the flu really as bad as the media made it out to be? Could their being sick actually be good for them? Were their bodies healthier because they had a cold or the flu?
Who am I? I am Dr. Ehrin Parker DO. I have been an Osteopathic physician for almost 18 years now. I started asking questions about the value of sickness almost 15 years ago when I noticed that many of my patients who did not received traditional medical treatments for their colds and flu didn’t come to my office as often. What happened to those patients that didn’t happen to the others? I started studying the body, in particular the immune system.
What I discovered was that sickness actually served several functions, for one it is an immune system work out, It can clean out the detox pathways, and it can also be your body’s way of destressing saying take a moment for me,
Let’s start with the immune system. What is it?
The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against disease. It is made up of multi layers of defense. To begin with, your immune system begins by blocking foreign proteins from getting into your body. If an intruders happens to sneak by these initial biological sentries, that’s OK. The immune systems then sends out several search and destroy forces that hunt out and kill the foreign invaders.
Through this system, approximately 10,000 virus, bacteria and cancer cells are destroyed daily. These dead invaders are then sent into the detox pathways for disposal.
This amazing system only requires multiple nutrients in an abundant supply and open detox pathways to function quickly and efficiently. With such an amazing system I then asked the next most logical question, How does a person come down with a cold or Flu?
It seems that when there are insufficient nutrients to power the immune system, or sluggish detox pathways, the body becomes overwhelmed and we come down with the Flu or a cold.
Then next most logical question, what is a detox pathway?
The detox pathways are the colon (pooping), kidney (peeing), skin (sweating) and the lungs (exhaling). These are all ways that the body disposes of the toxic dead cells killed by our immune system. How and when do these systems malfunction?
Do you have some constipation? How often are you defecating? Is it once a day or once a week? How often is enough?
Have you been drinking enough water? How much is enough water? Does it have to be water or can you consume a diet soda or juice?
Have you been sitting around, or have you been moving and exercising?
Being ill stresses and works these detox pathways. When you come out the other side of an illness- your body is stronger for it.
What about all that mucus? It is hard to exhale with all that mucus in the way. Sometimes you blow so much that you can go through a whole box of tissues in a day. That can’t be good for you right? Wrong, the body makes the mucus as storage for the toxins it can’t dispose of through usual channels (peeing, pooping, exhaling and sweating). So, the mucus is actually protecting you for harm. When you are producing a lot of mucus, again look to your detox pathways and notice any deficiencies and correct them.
All of these detox systems require high quality nutrients to operate quickly and efficiently. When a body fights an illness, it runs through its stored nutrients seven times faster than usual.
Notice is the nutrients you have been consuming. Our immune system requires a lot of nutrients to operate optimally.
So how do you start improving your nutrient intake? First and foremost, stop consuming foods and drinks that are depleting your vitamins and nutrients such as, sugars, alcohol and processed foods. They are perhaps the worst culprits. Eat real food. Eat foods that add nutrients into your system. Broth is wonderful and easy way to add nutrients back into the body that isn’t too hungry. The broth can either be vegetarian or chicken or bone. The best broth is homemade. It is packed full of nutrients with no added substances that might not be healthy for our body.
Sometimes, it seems that no matter what we do, our bodies just seem like they want us to slow down for a bit. Take some time to rest. If we won’t do it voluntarily, it becomes so exhausted that all we can do is sleep. Instead of looking at this condition as a problem, because we are week or feeble, look at it as an opportunity. Cold or Flu could be a friend giving you an opportunity to rest to catch up on your life, a time to look within or just rest. You may not be at a fancy spa, but in the comfort of your home and bed. Almost nothing is better than that. When we are able take time to destress our lives, our body’s just function better.
Finally, take care of your body so your body can take care of you. Get enough sleep, exercise, eat food that strengthens your body, keep your hands clean, and plenty of exposure to the sun. Life happens and most people fall short in one or more of those areas a lot of the time. Use the illness to take notice and make the necessary corrections.
In conclusion, having the cold or flu isn’t necessarily the enemy you once believed. It’s unlikely your illness is something that requires antibiotics. It probably does not require spending your whole day at the doctor’s office and at the pharmacy. Instead, have a different attitude and a better awareness of your body and try some home remedies that might actually help, rather than always resorting to antibiotics or decongestants. We have to take responsibility for our own health.
The cold and flu might actually be your friend in disguise.