Surviving Cold Season
Q. Dr. Meletis, I can’t figure out why I seem to get sick every year during the cold season, yet other people never seem to get even a sniffle. Do you have any insights as to why I am so susceptible to getting colds?
A. One of the many pearls of wisdom that I have acquired from my patients over the past 27 years of clinical practice is that patients have incredible insights into their health challenges. You demonstrated this brilliantly when you used the word “susceptible.”
Let me share a story that captures the concept of susceptibility. Someone at a social function has a seasonal cold and goes around shaking hands and exposing everyone to their cold, yet only some friends “catch a cold” while others walk away unaffected. Why is that?
Here are some key steps to wellness that are always important to implement, myself included. For like you, I have spent far too many years seemingly catching every bug that comes around. When I proactively adhere to these steps I am far more successful in staying well, which is quite the challenge in clinical practice.
Support your adrenals with by minimizing the stress response. Note I did not say avoid stress, because that is harder to do and goes without saying. The way we process the mental and physical impact of stress is of paramount importance. StressGuard™ is very popular among my patients, and it offers l-theanine an amino acid derived from green tea that has a calming effect and has often been referred to as the Zen herb. This holistic formula also contains naturally sourced B vitamins along with focused adrenal herbs such as Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Licorice, and Skullcap.
Practice mindfulness to keep things in perspective and embrace the positive in life with a BIG attitude of gratitude. This will help to minimize the bumps in the road of life. Also, connect with nature whenever possible so that you can stay more grounded in the hustle and bustle of life.
Hydration is critical. Our mucous membranes that include our eyes, nose, throat, lungs, GI tract and other tissues serve as the interface between the outside world and the well ordered inside world of our bodies. I recommend for my adult patients to drink at least 64 ounces of clear fluids per day, and more if they are starting to feel dry.
Sleep. With a focus on quality and quantity. Sleeping in a very dark room without any light sources glaring, including one's alarm clock, is vitally important. Before the advent of electricity most of our ancestors slept in full darkness, which supports healthy levels of melatonin. Remember, the first four letters of RESToration are rest! Sleep is how our body and immune system restore and sustain our body. Herbal products such as Sleep Better, are used by my patients that have already avoided the use of electronics before bed and have mindfully worked on winding down after a busy day.
Hygiene. An ounce of prevention! Don’t share beverages or eating utensils. Wash your hands before eating, particularly crucial after shaking hands or serving yourself food at a buffet. Remember the sink handles are dirty, so don’t turn them off with your freshly washed hands. Also remember that about 50 percent of people don’t wash their hands before leaving the bathroom, so the bathroom door is a reservoir of potential disease triggering germs.
- Immune Nurturing Herbs. As I respond to this question, I have in front of me the herbal immune products that I have in my wellness regime. These include my Elderberry, Echinacea and Goldenseal and my faithful immune friend Astragalus. The latter is known as an immune adaptogen. I also have vitamin D and vitamin C to the left and right of my computer screen. On a very personal note, at the first sign of a potential sniffle or a notable germ exposure I increase my daily routine for 7 to 10 days with the hopes of nurturing my innate immune capacity. I am only sharing from my clinical and personal experience; so always keep your healthcare provider in the loop as to which supplements you are considering to integrate into your proactive approach toward wellness.
Once again, I would like to thank you for the insightful question about susceptibility. By shoring up each of the above areas, I have been able to bolster my resistance and decrease my susceptibility. May these ideas bless you on your wellness pursuits. And may you live a life with emphasis on thriving, not just surviving.
Peace and Abundant Blessings,
Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D.
About Dr. Meletis, N.D.
Chris Meletis, N.D., has more than 25 years of experience practicing natural medicine. Based in Portland, Oregon, he shares his vast knowledge with fellow healthcare providers and his patients, and generously give to those in need. A lecturer and author, Dr. Meletis as written over a dozen books and hundreds of national articles. He was named Naturopathic Physician of the Year in 2003 by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and was inducted into the National University of Natural Medicine Hall of Fame in 2018.