I am sick very infrequently, maybe 1-2 times a year and it is usually a small cold. I haven't gotten the flu in several years. I also haven't taken a prescription drug in several years but then again I haven't had anything to warrant the need, like a sinus infection. I did recently come down with a cold and just continued my usual protocol of strict diet, plenty of rest, and 6-8 Sugar free Cold-Eeze a day. That usually knocks it out in a couple of days, but obviously the Cold-Eeeze are not paleo.
What does everyone do to combat the common illness brought on by various things out of our control (flu, cold, Sinus infection, ear infection, etc) and what does it take for you to take prescription drugs?
I avoid taking any medicines unless really necessary (i.e. can't function without it and need to), which includes ibuprofin, cold medicine, etc. I'm not uber paranoid about it (I don't think :-)) but I think that people take medicines way too much/easily. I haven't had antibiotics in maybe 15 years. Like you I'm lucky to get sick very infrequently.
When I do, I just make it a point to sleep as much as possible, if I'm in really bad shape I'll take Nyquil or something to put me out (though that seems to be getting less effective on me as I get older). I got the stomach flu a couple of months ago and, once I was done praying to the porcelin, I just drank a lot of fluids including drinks made from fresh ginger, gradually re-hydrated myself and slept a lot.
Fasting is often not a bad idea, not intentionally restricting your food if you are sick and hungry, but the "feed a cold" mantra is often not a good idea. Your body can easily live for several days without food, and relieving it from the burden of digesting can give it more resources to fight off an illness.
Not to get all hippy, but being sick is something that just happens sometimes, and your body has its ways of fighting it off, and piling on various medications in an attempt to hide the symptoms or make your body artificially more or less active may just compound the problem and make your body fight off more than one thing at once.
My daughter (age 6) has occasional ear aches, and we found that 2-3 drops of warm (not hot) olive oil in the ear canal clears it up every time. I know that if we take her to the doctor, they'll barely even look at her before prescribing 10 days of antibiotics. The olive oil takes literally less than 5 minutes.
I think it is a good idea to resist the knee-jerk Western trend of reaching for a pill every time the slightest thing goes wrong. That said, when you're really sick, go to the doctor, don't go all Scientologist and try to treat some life-threatening condition with a positive attitude.
Pungent herbs and spices are good (although I suppose some of the spices aren't paleo), both for clearing the sinuses, soothing sore throats, making you feel a bit better from the endorphins from the spice (if hot enough) and possibly doing some good via their being anti-microbrial. I've found that strong sage or thyme tea are especially good for colds.
A lot of sleep, a lot of clear fluids, and a lot of netti pot. if the head is ponding, ill take some NSAIDs. if I cant sleep because of fever or congestion, ill take NyQuil for a night, just for the sleep. I swear sleep and fluids are the most important thing. For sinus infections i put a tablespoon of ACV in a bowl, pour boiling water over it and stick my face in there with a tented towel over my head and breathe it in for as long as i can stand it. i simmer water with lemon juice, fresh ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper and drink it hot as hell. i get in my comfiest jammies and softest sweaters and warmest slippers and socks and sip tea on the couch and watch movies. i read magazines in bed. i take hot showers. i rub my feet with cocnut pil and eucalyptus oil. i take benadryl if i need to, too. and i wont turn my nose up at some immodium if its heading in that direction, either.
Since going paleo three years ago, neither my wife nor I have been sick one day since we discovered the wonderousness of supplementing with Vit D3. We both would have three to four bouts with flu and colds a year. 5000IU a day of Now Brand gel caps. Vit D3 serum level now in the mid 80s/ng/mL
I got my first cold in several years last month. Ginger, Kale, Bone Broth and Carrot soup saved me. Turmeric helps alot too. http://paleochallenge2011.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/ginger-kale-lamb-soup/
I did have to break down and use meds one night so I could breathe and sleep at the same time.
I recently had a sinus infection and my acupuncturist gave me a mixture of essential oils called "nasosympatico" http://www.myhealth-store.com/naesoilco1o1.html which is essential oils of Thyme, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Lavender in a base of Almond oil. I put a few drops in my neti pot and sent it through my sinuses. It worked wonders! My acupuncturist said that the oils have anti-bacterial properties and the neti pot gets it right into the infection instead of waiting for antibiotics to work their way through your body. You can also use the oils without the neti pot but just putting some on the inside of your nostril the scent helps open up my nasal passages very quickly.
Otherwise my best cure for anything is to sleep, a lot.
I'm mostly for letting an illness take its course and sleeping it off, but the last time I had a bad cold I used cognac instead of NyQuil. Loved it. Just getting a good sniff of it helped my sinuses. It made me sleep like a rock. Still not really paleo though.
The next time I have a sore throat I'm going to try coconut oil and honey (I can't vouch for it yet).
i pretty much swear by this stuff. http://www.umcka.com/ColdCare/15146-Umcka-ColdCare.aspx
they also make a drop style version. http://www.umcka.com/ColdCare/15270-Umcka-ColdCare.aspx
as i don't really ever get sick ::knock on wood::, i end up giving more of this stuff away than i actually take, but it has helped me greatly in the past.
Also, agree with Carl on the brandy.
Bees cappings - the wax substance which the bees seal the comb with - and which bee-keepers scrape off to get at the honey - chew this (it has the property of tasteless chewing gum after the sweetness of the honey has disappeared). Great cure for sinusitis, earache, sore throats, etc and strictly Paleo.
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