Fighting the Mucus Monster
Winter is a great season for many things – skating, tobogganing, snow ball fights, but for most of us it can also be a season of sickness, during which our body transforms into a mucous producing factory.
Do you ever wonder where all this mucous is coming from and why it happens so much in the winter time as opposed to the other 3 seasons of the year?
As we all know, in the winter, the climate becomes not only cold, but also dry. The dryness is the trigger for this mucous mayhem in our body. The body is loaded with mucous membranes, which line most of our internal surfaces and are especially prominent on surfaces that are exposed to the outside world, like our nasal passages and sinuses. The job of these membranes is to act as our front line defence against outside invaders. The membranes need to be moist in order to trap and remove the invaders before they have a chance to advance further into the body. When working properly these mucous producing membranes are highly beneficial to us. So what goes wrong in the winter time?
As we continually breathe in the cold dry air of winter our membranes get dried out. This signals them to produce mucous to maintain their moisture level. As they repeatedly get dried out the mucous production increases and becomes an excess. The excess mucous is not only unpleasant for us, but is also a great breeding ground for viruses and hence is a reason we get colds and flus in the winter.
Now that we know why it happens, what can we do to transform out of this mucous monster state?
Ear oil (recipe below) is a simple trick you can use when you feel a cold starting to set in or when your child comes home with the sniffles. The oil works amazingly well at keeping the lymphatic system moving, which helps clear out the excess mucous.
In a small sauce pan heat up 1 cup olive oil
Add 1 clove of garlic chopped
Simmer for 5 minutes
Remove garlic chunks and let oil cool down until it is warm to the touch. Be sure to test the temperature on your hand before pouring it into the ear. Hot oil will burn. Pour warm oil into both ears using a medicine dropper before bed and block with a cotton ball to prevent the oil from running out. Massage around the ears to help move the oil through.
Do this once a week during the winter months as prevention.
During a cold, put warm oil in the ears every hour for 3 hours. After the third application you’ll notice everything is draining and the cold will dissipate quickly.
*Please note: This treatment is not to be used if the eardrum is perforated or if there are ear tubes in place.
For more helpful tips on how to manage during the cold and flu season please make an appointment with Naturopathic Doctor Jennifer Kaster by calling our clinic at 289-291-0254.