Have you ever suffered from a cough, cold symptoms, sinus pressure, fevers or general not-feeling-so-hot for weeks? Maybe you’ve found relief from antibiotics, over-the-counter meds, or herbal supplements only to find yourself back in the same spot a few weeks later. You’ve probably asked in frustration, “WHY AM I ALWAYS GETTING SICK?!”
I often hear about illnesses hanging on throughout the winter months, re-occurring and sometimes even showing up into to spring and summer. I find that there are two different ways to help the body fight off illness. The first and most common way we tend to lean toward is fighting it. Fighting an illness looks like antibiotics and over-the-counter fever and cough meds. I also see many antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal herbs being misused to fight a losing battle.
The second and most sustainable way is to build the body so viruses and bacteria cannot settle in and make a home. Look at it this way:
Look at your body as a tower. In this tower, all you have are your guards to keep watch and fight the enemy. Eventually, if the foundation – the building blocks – of that tower aren’t cared for, cracks will show up, windows will break and the guards will become over run with trying to keep up. The enemies (germs) will start to infiltrate the cracks and burrow into new holes waiting patiently for the perfect time to attack. Perhaps when the guards are under stress, overworked and distracted.
If you don’t focus on maintaining your foundation, the building blocks of your health, you’ll have these enemies – aka germs – lying dormant in your immune system. And when stressed, which, for most Americans is a daily occurrence, they’ll take the opportunity to seize and wipe you out.
You can think about the germs resembling as a moss fire. It is slow-burning and can go unnoticed for a long period of time. When noticed, however, it is extremely hard to put out because of how long it’s been burning and the heat it has created.
Many of us forget to take care of our tower. If this part is not addressed, we can fight all we want, but we won’t get better, possibly even finding ourselves sicker. I love this quote from David Hoffman:
“Seen within the context of ecology, both human and environmental, immunity is about harmony and not resistance, a dynamic dance with the environment and not simply a series of barriers to it.”
Building the body is a daily living activity. It includes GOOD sleep, stress reduction and keeping our lymphatic system cleared out by a diet in tissue-repairing, cleansing and nourishing foods. Foods that provide this type of nourishment are bone broths, probiotic-filled fermented foods, nourishing teas and herbs like astragalus, cleavers, burdock and vitamin D3. Here’s a great recipe from Jim McDonald if you need a place to start. If you want to keep reading, here’s even more information on boosting the immune system.
Author: Angela McElroy is a Naturopathic Practitioner with a special interest in children’s health. She treats both acute and chronic conditions including allergies, digestive concerns, skin complaints (boils, rash, eczema), nutritional deficiencies, and childhood illnesses. Angela works to support, encourage, balance, and bring healing to children and families struggling with ADHD, anger, anxiety, and other emotional imbalances.