Q: Everyone’s sick in our house. Colds, bronchitis, ear infections, yikes! What can we do to prevent this situation, and to get better? – Janice in Tulsa
For prevention ideas, see this article.
To help the family members who are already sick:
Eat simply. Focus on vegetable or chicken broth and steamed vegetables. Avoid sugar. 1 teaspoon of sugar suppresses bacteria-fighting neutrophils for 5 hours. Avoid dairy, as this will create more mucous.
Use hydrotherapy to boost the immune system.
Throat or Chest Compress
Warm the throat or chest with a warm washcloth or hot shower. Dry the skin thoroughly and apply a thin cotton wrap (to throat) or thin cotton T-shirt (to chest) that has been soaked in cold water and wrung out so that it is not dripping wet. Cover this with a wool scarf (throat) or wool sweater (chest). Go to bed this way. By morning, the scarf or T-shirt will be dry. This process increases circulation and increases white blood cell activity.
This is a similar treatment to the throat or chest compress. It will clear mucus from the head, open the nasal passages, stimulate the immune system, and provide a restful nights sleep. This is can be used for children and adults alike. Begin by thoroughly warming the feet in a shower, tub or footbath. This is essential for a successful treatment. Soak the foot bed of a pair of cotton socks and place on the pre-warmed feet. Place a heavy pair of wool socks over the wet cotton socks and go to bed. The feet will only feel cold for a few minutes, and the socks will be dry by morning.
Use antibiotics wisely. Antibiotics can be appropriate for a bacterial infection that is not improving with conservative measures. Antibiotics will not help heal a viral infection, and may lead to more serious secondary infections with yeast or antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic overuse is also linked to childhood obesity, as healthy gut bacteria help to regulate metabolism. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, antibiotics will not help most childhood ear infections.
Eat lots of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory foods: garlic, oregano, onion.
Don’t use colloidal silver. While it can be helpful for clearing infections, the silver is a toxic metal that can cause health problems.
Get as much rest as possible, as early in the infection as possible. Drink plenty of fluids.
If you have persistent symptoms, talk with your naturopath about personalized recommendations, such as herbal remedies to speed healing.