Last week, we heard a cold Santa Ana was blowing over. Considering my front door blew open, the hammock turned over on its own and the windows were shaking, I’d say it was right on schedule. With another wind-spell on it’s way, a hot one this time around, I’ve been telling everyone, “protect your neck!”
Ever wonder why you get a cold, sore throat or cough during the Santa Ana weather shift?
If you live in So-Cal, you’re familiar with the summer-like desert winds that blow in from the Santa Anas to warm us up in the midst of winter. While the wind ushers in that warm weather we love so much, it also activates the immune system; leaving us vulnerable to seasonal pathogenic influences.
Believe me, your grandma knew what she was talking about when she wrapped you up tightly in your scarf. While it’s true that you aren’t going to get sick directly from the weather, the wind can act as a vehicle to deliver pathogenic influences into your bod. When the winds are whipping, our pores open and close; regulating the surface tissues. Tiny little bacterial and viral pathogens sneak their way in during these windy times; setting up camp in your nose, throat, lungs and ears often resulting in upper respiratory concerns.
So, what can you do to protect your immune system during these dramatic mid-season weather shifts?
Pack a cloth scarf, wrap up! It might still be warm, but wear a light scarf to protect your neck. If you’re a regular gym-goer, this is an especially important one for you! Pat down after an invigorating work-out as you usually do, but then wrap a scarf or dry towel around your neck before walking out into the windy weather.
I always get calls from athletes this time of year who are in great shape and health, but exposed to the elements while sweating. Even the healthiest of us can still catch what’s moving through the air!
Acupuncture has been shown to maintain homeostasis of the immune system by mediating the balance of both helper and suppressor T cells, increasing natural killer cells and regulating leukocyte numbers. If you catch it quick enough, your practitioner can stop a cold or flu in its tracks by relieving wind and stabilizing the exterior, thus, keeping pathogens from entering your blood stream that would otherwise make you feel sick.
Learn more about regulating immunity with Chinese medicine here.
Spice it up! Add leeks, onions, chives and garlic to your soups. Slice ginger for your tea. Once released, the volatile oils contained within these medicinal foods help activate anti-microbial activity. Rich is selenium, potassium, vitamin C and chromium, they’ll help the endocrine system communicate better with the immune system, keeping you fortified and protected.
Try friend and colleague, Dr. Nishant’s therapeutic flu-fighting tea. I love sipping this spicy decoction when my immune system seems to be dipping. The mixture of garlic, cayenne and ginger turns me right around!
Just last week when that Santa Ana started rolling in I lost my voice. Along with Dr. Nishant’s tea, I enjoyed several days of my immune boosting stamina soup. Try it, you’ll love it… You can even puree the veggies to give it to the kids!
Tis the season to keep cold and flu at bay. Here’s a bundle of articles with helpful tips and treatment suggestions to make it happen.
Thinking about taking antibiotics for a cold or flu-related health concern? Check this out before popping the pills… Learn about when to give them to the kiddies too! Your tots are resilient; here’s my tips to take care of the kids during cold and flu season sans drugs*.
My best advice? Pick up your phone to call your health care provider if you suspect something serious*. Your health care provider will know which treatments best fit your current concerns.
Have questions or your tips to share? Drop a comment in the box below!