Coping with coughs, colds and COVID

Coping with coughs, colds and COVID

By Dr Rosy Daniel
24 November 2020

Coping with coughs, colds and COVID - Dr Rosy Daniel

If you, your family or your business are being negatively affected by Coronavirus, my heart goes out to you with strongest commiserations. And if you are one of the many people feeling worried and anxious at this time, I hope that this article will give you some practical and holistic support for your health and wellbeing.

First let me say from the medical point of view, for the vast majority Coronavirus will cause only a mild illness.  But every single one of us can take this pandemic as a wake-up call that we must prioritise looking after our health and our wellbeing.
Whilst we must all follow the safety guidelines by washing hands, wearing a face covering, and social distancing, we must also focus on ways to keep ourselves healthy. It is time for us all to upgrade our immunity, nutrition, fitness, and develop strong self-care practices that keep us really resilient in body, mind and spirit. Below are 10 practical steps to help keep you safe and to combat symptoms of all respiratory tract infections.
Even during the toughest moments of lockdown, there have ben some unexpected benefits to balance the challenges we have been faced with. For example, many of us have:
  • Stopped flying around the world, with COemissions already down significantly and blue skies appearing in some big cities for the first time in years
  • Learned to work at home through virtual digital technology, avoiding the drudgery and expense of the daily commute
  • Spent more quality time with our loved ones at home
  • Found ways to contribute to our local community and help the most vulnerable
  • Spent more time on self-care, establishing natural beauty or wellbeing rituals
  • Reduced our spending and found that we could cope with what we have
  • Re-doubled our efforts to be well and healthy
  • Eaten locally produced food and started growing food in our own gardens
  • Spent more time cooking and consciously thinking about what we eat
  • Enjoyed courses and classes on the internet to keep ourselves connected, fit and flexible
  • Looked at what really matters in our lives, and given that much fuller attention
It has taken this pandemic to bring us to a standstill, to show us that there is another way to live: far closer to the earth, far more locally based, with greater connection to our local communities. We have been forced out of our incessant busy-ness into a far gentler relationship with ourselves, each other and the environment. And the steps that we can take for our health and wellbeing to protect us from infection, will simultaneously protect us from other illnesses that are already ruining lives and putting such a strain on the health service.

Recognising and acting upon symptoms
Because many of the symptoms of COVID are so similar to ordinary cold or flu symptoms, it can be hard to tell whether we have become infected with this potentially dangerous virus. So, if we have a combination of the following symptoms:
- a fever or high temperature
- a new or persistent cough
- a loss of, or change in, your sense of smell or taste
- headache
- tiredness or fatigue
- flu-like aches and pains
- sore throat
- nasal congestion
- red eyes
- diarrhoea
- skin rash
we should all assume that we may have Coronavirus and immediately seek out a test and self isolate, so that we can best protect others from infection.
Let us consider some other factors over which we can have more control. Does it ever strike you as odd that we can go through the summer infection free, but during the winter months colds and flu bugs play havoc with our children and families, work colleagues, and particularly the older generation? The most obvious factors that change are that it is dark, damp and cold. We tend to stay indoors with windows shut, close to others, and to use enclosed transport rather than walking or cycling.During winter we can become light starved and oxygen starved, crucially depleting our vitamin D levels and the oxygen needed to drive all aspects of our metabolism. It is also likely, with the abundance of our gardens diminished, that our intake of fresh fruit and vegetables goes down, decreasing our intake of vital vitamins and minerals just when we need them most.
Then there is the effect of the cold and damp. The rhinoviruses that cause colds and the influenza viruses that cause flu all thrive in these conditions, and COVID also thrives in poorly ventilated, damp areas. Added to this is the problem of moulds and their spores, which thrive around the decaying leaves outside. Mould also grows in damp houses with poor ventilation. Some of us are particularly sensitive to moulds and the inflammation and bronchoconstriction that they cause in our bronchial tree can set up the conditions for infection to occur.
Another factor which increases our susceptibility is the excessive mucus produced when we eat diets heavy in mucogenic dairy products and excess protein, or through smoking and vaping. Mucus in our chests, throats and sinuses will provide a perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, which can then cause chest infections and pneumonia. Also, if our bodies are acidic , they are far more prone to becoming affected. Then added to these physical factors are the effects of stress and distress, which supress our immune systems, so we must make sure to address and reverse these conditions to keep ourselves infection free.

Here are some specific things that you can do to stay well:
Step 1 Get as much outdoor light as you can, every single day. Swop to daylight bulbs and take 2500-5000 IU of Vitamin D with K2. You are aiming to get up to a blood level of over 100 non-mols per litre (nmol/l).

Step 2 Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables to a 10-a-day target. Ensure that you have something fresh at every single meal, be that in the form of freshly made juices, smoothies, salad, lightly steamed vegetables or fruit. Most protective of all are blueberries, which have the strongest antioxidant properties of all fruits, along with acerola cherries found in Cherry C supplements and Sea Buckthorn berries. You can also give yourself an overall nutrition boost with a good quality daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.

Step 3 Take natural immune boosters based on beta-glucans. These raise the number of white immune blood cells, their level of aggression and the number of natural killer cells that destroy virus infected cells on sight.

Step 4 If you have symptoms of fever, cough and cold, self isolate immediately, get tested for COVID and stay at home whilst awaiting results. Make sure you sneeze into a tissue, and bag and dispose of them every day to help keep others safe.

Step 5 Ensure that you take at least 45 minutes of aerobic exercise per day, ideally in the fresh air to raise your oxygen levels and get rid of carbon dioxide. 

Step 6 Use an essential oil diffuser in your home with oil blends including Tea Tree or Eucalyptus, which are anti-viral, from good quality organic brands. You can use these oils on your hands too or on cloths to wipe door handles and surfaces. Install or use freestanding air filters and clean the filters regularly, treating them before use with anti-viral oils. 

Step 7 Practice yogic breath exercises known as Pranayama to ensure full and deep breathing and elimination of any stagnation of energy, air and bugs in the lungs. Another way to do this is by singing – so why not set-up karaoke on your computer or television or sing with your family?

Step 8 If you are smoking, taking in the smoke of others, or vaping, use this crisis as a catalyst for change. Address this problem actively and give up now with support from the NHS Quit Smoking services.

Step 9 Reduce your stress, sleep deeply , stay warm and if feeling sad or lonely, reach out to connect with others. Use Emotional Freedom Technique to release the emotions of grief or distress

Step 10 Wash your hands with Weleda’s gentle Calendula Soap and keep your hands moisturised with Skin Food, Almond, Pomegranate or Citrus hand creams. Add Lavender or Pine Bath Milk to your bath as these plants have natural anti-viral properties.  

Herb & Honey Cough Elixir This natural medicine for dry and irritating coughs draws on the ancient wisdom of herbal medicine. It includes Thyme which is a centuries old remedy that is particularly useful for easing tickly coughs and croaky throats. Other ingredients include Aniseed, a natural expectorant and carminative, traditionally used to calm down the inflamed mucous membranes and relieve congestion. Marshmallow root is a traditional demulcent with natural anti-inflammatory properties to soothe an irritated throat, and Elderflower for its anti-catarrhal action. All wrapped up in a comforting honey syrup that slips down sore throats a treat.
Always read the label
Cold Relief Oral Spray This homeopathic medicine contains 6X potencies of Allium cepa, Drosera and Gelsemium and is indicated for the relief of the common cold, cough associated with the common cold, and related flu-like symptoms. An ideal winter remedy for all the family, this handy little oral spray is easily zipped into a pocket or handbag if you feel the sniffles coming on. Suitable for adults and children over 12, it’s easy to take - just one or two pumps with the metered spray, three times daily, straight onto or under the tongue.
Always read the label

Rhinodoron Nasal Spray This handy pocket-sized spray is designed to moisturise, clean and care for stuffy noses. The spray contains organically-grown aloe vera which gives a long lasting moisturising effect. So it won’t aggravate the mucous membranes - unlike many nasal sprays that may initially offer some relief from congestion, but can leave nasal passages painfully dry with regular use. Rhinodoron can be used safely over protracted periods, including when pregnant or breastfeeding. The spray is suitable for old and young alike and is useful for anyone suffering from that uncomfortable crustiness inside a congested nose.
Always read the label
Pine Reviving Bath Milk A capful of this aromatic bath milk in a bowl of steamy water will do wonders to help clear the airways and ease congestion if you’re feeling bunged up. Cover your head with a small towel, as you bend over the bowl to inhale all the vapours. Be careful not to scald yourself with the steam. This old fashioned remedy is also extremely comforting when you’re feeling poorly.
Prunus Spinosa 6X Oral Drops Feeling sluggish after a nasty virus or series of colds? Our medicinal Prunus Spinosa 6X Oral Drops are formulated for the symptomatic relief of fatigue following stress or illness. The product is made from the fresh leaf tips of biodynamically grown blackthorn, hand picked from hedges at Weleda’s own Derbyshire gardens, to ensure the purity, quality and efficacy of the end product. The blackthorn, or Prunus spinosa, is recognised for its remarkable vitality, and is traditionally selected to help strengthen and stimulate the life forces where these have been depleted through ill health. Take 5-7 drops in a little water, three times daily, until symptoms improve.
Always read the label
Prunus Elixir This wellbeing product is made from the juice from the blackthorn berries or sloes. Ripe sloes are gathered in November and the juice is gently sweetened with organic raw cane sugar, adding a twist of organic lemon juice, for a totally tasty elixir bringing you natural energy. You can drink it cold with chilled water or ice for a refreshing soother if you’re running a temperature. Or if you’re coping with the shivers then stir some into a mug of steamy hot water for a comforting and reviving cuppa – a good alternative for anyone wanting to cut out dairy during a cold.
Not suitable for diabetics
Sea Buckthorn Elixir If you are looking for a high quality natural source of vitamin C, this certified organic drink is made with tart Sea Buckthorn berries and naturally sweetened with sugar and honey. Vibrant orange Sea Buckthorn berries are sun-ripened and sweetened for a delicious solar-powered drink. The dark, fruity elixir is really quite delicious in hot water as a comforting tisane if you have the sniffles. Take 2-3 times daily – simply mix a tablespoonful with cold or warm water, or swirl into your morning yoghurt, to top up vital nutrients over the winter.
Not suitable for diabetics
Ratanhia Mouthwash
A daily rinse or gargle with a few drops of mouthwash, in either warm or cool water, can help keep mouth healthy and may even help ease those first signs of a sore throat. It contains soothing myrrh extract, which is a traditional anti-viral ingredient, together with essential oils of sage and eucalyptus (both naturally antiseptic) and soothing peppermint.
Always seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or are causing problems.