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As usual at this time of the year we see lots of strange ‘sickness’ – when your biology wants it to be winter but the weather here won’t play along, germs and bacteria flourish.

So we see tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, otitis, and even dermatitis… all well known issues right? Did you notice all those words end with –itis? That means that at their root, they are all symptoms of inflammation. Inflammation of the tonsils, the bronchi, the lungs, the ears, the sinuses and the skin… these are not (contrary to popular belief) individual and treatable disease states. See one sentence back I typed ‘these are all symptoms of inflammation’? And that’s what they are – symptoms of acute systemic inflammation that has found a vulnerable part of your biology to manifest itself. Not unlike arthritis, gout or chronic inflammatory conditions, acute inflammation usually resolves with some form of treatment and rest. Usually the prescribed treatment has an aspect of inducing drowsiness, because we need to rest to heal. Basically the symptomatic relief provided by the muti is just buying us time while our amazing biology heals itself. And that should happen with in around 5-7 days from the onset of the symptoms.

What is the worst thing you can do when the symptoms occur? You might think ‘ignoring them’ is the right answer, but you’d be wrong… suppressing them is the worst thing. Cortisone, cough suppressants, gratuitous anti-biotics, pain killers – this course of action simply turns off your immune response to the pathogen, pushes the symptoms deep into your tissues where it slowly pickles, waiting for your next down day to come back to the surface with a vengeance. Doing less, being more still, eating less food, getting more sleep, slowing down – these are the messages that sickness is sending – slow down! We need time to heal! It takes the immune system about 72hours from seeing an infection to building a defence. This is often called an incubation period. By the time you have ‘a symptom’, that’s already a sign that the war is being waged between the body and the germ. Unless there is secondary infection or other bacterial complication, antibiotics are of no use here, and kill off the very mechanisms your body has engaged in battle. Supportive supplements like vitamin C, L-lysine, Echinacea, marjoram, probiotics and beta-glucans are the best equipment for your immune army to complete the work they are designed for – annihilating the invader.