Autumn and Cold & Flu Season

Autumn arrived rather quickly here in Southern New England. Temperatures have dropped, the leaves on my neighbor’s maple tree have turned a vibrant share of red. Mums are adorning porches and walkways. And the requisite pumpkin-spice-everything has arrived. The weather really is perfect: not too hot, not too cool, not many extremes at all.

Usually this is my time to begin preparing for cold and flu season. It’s time that children are heading back to school. We start closing windows and, eventually, turning on our heat. Sniffles, runny noses, and mild coughs begin to pop up. This season will be a little different as we still have a global pandemic keeping a strong hold.

I believe that the precautions we, as a general population, have been taking due to COVID-19 will actually help to prevent the spread of colds and the common flu. We have become more vigilant about washing our hands. As a wellness and food safety professional I know that proper hand washing is the number one (aka the best) way to prevent the spread of disease. We are also wearing face coverings to help protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, but when worn properly (over both mouth and nose) we are also preventing the spread of cold and flu. Because we are covering our mouth and nose, should we cough or sneeze we are preventing the accidental spread of germs. But did you know there are more steps you can take?

If you are familiar with neti pots and sinus washes, I would recommend putting that back into your daily routine, particularly before heading to bed. The sinuses work to clean the air we breathe, keeping dust and other fine particles out of our lungs. Sinus washes help to clear any particles that we don’t clear through regular blowing of our nose. And clear sinuses make breathing so much easier. I recommend doing this at night so that you can clear the sinuses before bed. There are plenty of nasal washes available over-the-counter, but if you have never used one I do recommend consulting your healthcare providers (or contact me) as this is not recommended for some people (such as those with a deviated septum).

I would also recommend using oil in the nostrils. Nasaya is a common Ayurvedic practice done after nasal washing. It helps to lubricate and nourish the sinus passages. A simple version is to simply line the openings of the nose with a plain oil such as sesame (not toasted sesame oil). The oil will help to catch small particles at the opening of the nose, preventing them from even entering the sinus cavity. I recommend doing this in the morning or before heading out in public. Consult your holistic practitioner for specific recommendations.

A last suggestion, and one of my favorites, is add turmeric to your day. I add it to everything! The easiest way is a simple tea: 1 pinch turmeric powder, 1 pinch ginger powder, 1 pinch ground black pepper, squeeze of 1/4 to 1/2 lemon (depending on size and taste). Simply add these herbs to a cup of hot water and stir. Each of these herbs contribute to this healing tonic. The turmeric is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and the list goes on.

Want to learn more ways that YOU can stay healthy this season? Contact me to schedule a consultation. Until then, stay well and enjoy all that this autumn season brings.

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