Everyone's sick these days. What can you do?

The winter illnesses are here, and lots of people are walking around with runny noses, coughs and tired faces. Here are some ways to prevent and manage these winter ailments.

A woman blowing her nose into a tissue, possibly after or sneeze or while sick (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A woman blowing her nose into a tissue, possibly after or sneeze or while sick
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Every winter, seasonal varieties of diseases such as the flu arrive in Israel, creating many waves of illness. Right now it seems like many people are sick, with runny noses, deep coughs and a general bad feeling, and we might also get sick. 

Yet some people easily get through the winter easily, and they don't get infected with any virus that passes by. This is because their personal immune system defends itself and repels bacteria and viruses, or stops the development of the disease when the first signs appear.

Good, healthy and high-quality nutrition is the main factor for a healthy immune system, so the food we eat is very important. It's recommended in winter to eat cooked, warming foods like carrots, radishes, turnips, red beets, sweet potatoes, horseradish roots, mushrooms, Jerusalem artichokes, pumpkins, zucchini, leeks and kohlrabi.

Add legumes such as chickpeas, beans and lentils to the menu. It's also recommended to bake fruits and add spices such as cloves, cinnamon, or ginger, which have unique healing properties.

In this challenging season, you can use nutritional supplements such as vitamin C, beta carotene, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D and other antioxidants that improve the immune system's function.

 Illustrative photo of girl blowing her nose into a tissue (credit: INGIMAGE) Illustrative photo of girl blowing her nose into a tissue (credit: INGIMAGE)

Feeling the first signs of a cold? Try medicinal herbs

Medicinal plants can also be used as reinforcement to prevent illness, and also in the first stages of illness.

Echinacea: used to prevent and treat infections and inflammations of viral or bacterial origin, especially colds and flu, while strengthening the immune system. Take as capsules, lozenges or as a liquid.

Propolis: contains organic acids, antioxidants and a complex of vitamins and minerals to treat infections of bacterial, viral or fungal origin, to relieve colds, flu and sore throats, and to heal wounds and skin lesions.

The function of propolis is antibacterial, and it can be taken in combination with antibiotic drugs if necessary. Today, sprays consisting of propolis are available or alternatively, it can be taken as a pill, lozenge or one can swallow it as liquid.

Elder flowers: acceptable for use against colds, fever and sore throats. The black elderberry seeds stimulate the immune system and are effective against different strains of influenza viruses. You can drink it as juice or tea, or swallow capsules.

Astragalus: improves the immune system and strengthens the body's resistance to diseases. In clinical studies it has been proven that astragalus reduces the incidence of the disease and shortens its course.

Sick? It's time for aromatic oils

The symptoms of the flu and other winter illnesses can be alleviated by using aromatic oils.

Black pepper oil: for pain relief, disinfection and heating. Effective in cases of colds and flu, muscle pain and chills.The oil can be used as part of a mixture of oils for body massage.

Eucalyptus leaf oil: for pain relief and disinfection. Effective in cases of flu, colds and in an environment where there are sick people. You can use it to purify the air with a humidifier or use it as part of a mixture of massage oils.

Peppermint oil: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant and expectorant. Effective in treating flu and colds, relieves coughs and headaches and reduces fever. It's recommended to use it as part of a massage mixture.

Also recommended are oils derived from lavender, medicinal moss, cypress, myrrh, melissa and rosemary. These relieve flu and colds.

Effective home remedies

For a sore throat, swallow a solution of 3% lemon salt in water, once an hour during the day.

Mix a cup of sage tea, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of salt and gargle every half an hour.

Grate a large onion in a grater and strain in a colander. Add a spoonful of honey, half a squeezed lemon and a spoonful of cognac to the onion juice, and mix well to obtain a uniform liquid. A tablespoon should be taken every two hours.

Home remedies for colds:

- Boil hairs of corn cobs with 10 grams of fresh ginger or cinnamon sticks and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Drink and warm up.

- Hot water with the addition of cinnamon sticks, honey, or brown sugar relieves muscle pain.

- For coughing, peel 3-4 cloves of garlic and cut in half and fry until golden, cool, chew and swallow before meals and before going to bed on an empty stomach.