Dr. JoAnn Yanez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (right), joins KCAAs “On the Brink” hosts, Erin Brinker (left) and Tobin Brinker (middle) to discuss natural remedies for the flu.
Full Transcript of Interview Below.
- Topics include:
- Natural Remedies for the flu
- The importance of sleep, eating healthy and exercise
- Hydrotherapy for the flu and colds
- Laughter as medicine
- And More…
Erin Brinker: Welcome back, I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: Weren’t sure about that?
Tobin Brinker: No, no. I’m sure.
Erin Brinker: We’re “On The Brink,” the morning show.
Tobin Brinker: Relatively sure.
Erin Brinker: We are “On the Brink,” the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5, and FM 102.3. So excited to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director of the AANMC, that’s the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. And of course, she joins us once a month to talk about naturopathic medicine and topics about health and wellness. Welcome back to the show.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Hi, folks. Good morning.
Erin Brinker: So glad to have you with us today. The topic is so timely right now. I was at Kaiser just getting a blood test for my thyroid and getting an updated prescription, and the place was packed with people sniffling and sneezing.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh, it is that time. It is really going around right now.
Erin Brinker: It really is. How do you keep yourself healthy during flu season? Because I hear that it is going to be a rough one this year.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is a rough one. It’s already started. I may be the wrong person to talk about this, because I just got over having the flu.
Erin Brinker: Oh no.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It was one of those things. My son came home sick with the flu. He had the high fever, the malaise, all of that, and I was doing my best, my very best. I was washing my hands. I didn’t drink from his cups. I separated everything and then I was putting him into his car seat and he coughed directly into my mouth.
Erin Brinker: Oh, well there’s nothing you can do there. Thank you, honey. Thank you.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I looked at him, and in that moment, I was like, “I’m done.” I think number one is prevention as much as you can. Wash your hands. Stay away from sick people unless you’ve got a five year old that you can’t stay away from. Stay away as much as you can. Wash those hands. If you do feel like you’re starting to come down with something, there are a bunch of things that you can do to shorten the progression of the flu, as well as to maybe stave it off altogether. Those are the types of things we have in the recent article we just published on our website, aanmc.org.
Erin Brinker: What are some of the things that you can do? Because Tobin works in a public school, but he seems to be a carrier, because he doesn’t get sick very often. I get sick all the time. If there’s something going around, I’m gonna get it, whether I get the flu shot or not, which I already did. What do I do?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Our article details a number of things that you can do. First off, is to keep your immune system as healthy as possible. Do you know how to do that?
Erin Brinker: How do you do that?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sleep. Keep your stress down.
Tobin Brinker: Hey.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Eat good foods.
Erin Brinker: Sleep? I’m sorry. I don’t understand that word. Sleep?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. That may very well be part of the issue, Erin. Making sure during the height of this flu season, that your body is getting the optimal amounts of sleep that it needs to stay healthy.
Tobin Brinker: How much sleep is that?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It varies for person to person. If you’re feeling like you’re coming down with something, you may need more. If your body is saying, “Hey, I need a nap.” It may very well be because you’re trying to fight something off and your body needs that rest time to recover. It varies. Most people need about eight hours, however some people, especially if you’re fighting something, you may need closer to nine or ten.
Erin Brinker: Wow.
Tobin Brinker: So here’s what I do when I start to feel like I’m coming down with something. I go straight to the store and I buy the orange juice that’s the vitamin fortified, and I just drink a ton of it, and I really feel like that helps me.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That can help some people. Some folks will have trouble with the sugar content in all of that orange juice, and so vitamin C supplements may be a better route for folks, especially if they have blood sugar issues. But vitamin C, zinc, there are a number of herbs and botanical medicines that are healthy and helpful in anti-viral properties, like garlic and onion, and just some of the basics. You think of my grandmother and her chicken soup. What’s in chicken soup? It’s loaded with garlic and onions and antioxidants.
Erin Brinker: And bone broth.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And bone broth. I think that was how my grandma started every soup. She threw the bones in from whatever was cooked the day before.
Erin Brinker: What do they call chicken soup? Jewish penicillin. It really works.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.
Erin Brinker: It really works. I actually love making bone broth. We have a roast chicken, and the next thing I do is make a wonderful broth and we have chicken soup and everybody should be doing that during flu season.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: There are some supplements that will also help. Again, it’s really important, right at the start of feeling a little down and under the weather, bump up your zinc lozenges. Things like goldenseal, echinacea, or Oregon grape, can also be helpful. There are a number of herbs. You can take them in tea form. You can take them in supplement form, but those can all be helpful.
The other thing that can be helpful that I will try and do when I’ve got the time, is hydrotherapy, which is the therapeutic use of water. Something as simple as water can help our body’s immune system. With hydrotherapy, the theory is you’re increasing circulation, and especially if you’re starting to feel a fever coming on, you actually may want to get yourself to sweat. What I’ll do, is I’ll get in a super duper hot shower, or hot tub, or sauna, if you have access. Get really, really hot, and then here comes the fun part, folks, get the coldest water you can get on your body.
Erin Brinker: They’ve been doing this in Europe for a really long time.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: They have.
Erin Brinker: They’ll have saunas. Saunas are very common in northern Europe. Then you finish with a cold bath, and if you jump in and jump out, because it’s so cold.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You jump in. You jump out, and then you wrap up.
Tobin Brinker: That’s a shock to the system.
Erin Brinker: It really is.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: What it does, is it actually causes blood flow back to the center core of your body, and increases circulation to your immune system, your lymphatic system, and gets things moving. Then what you do is, if I have it in the house, I’ll throw in some ginger tea and drink a good cup of ginger tea, and then wrap up and go to sleep for the night, and sweat.
Tobin Brinker: Wow. Erin mentioned at the start of the segment that I tend to be more of a carrier and I don’t get as sick. I like to think that part of it is because of the exercise that I do. I’m a runner, and I’m running three to four days a week. It’s the combination of the getting the circulation going with the heart rate, but I also feel like because I’m sweating so much, that I’m sweating out whatever the bad stuff is while I’m running. Would you agree with that?
Erin Brinker: What are your thoughts on that?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I’m not totally up on the literature with exercise and the immune system, but you are increasing circulation, and so you’re increasing the lymphatic movement. You’re getting your whole body flowing a lot more. The other thing is, are you running outside?
Tobin Brinker: Yes.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: In getting yourself outside, especially in the winter time, we’re breathing recirculated air. The heat dries out our mucus membranes that makes us more susceptible to those viruses and germs that are trying to get up into our mucus membranes if they’re already dried out. If you’re getting yourself outside, that is the optimal place to do exercise.
Erin Brinker: It’s certainly more fun. Nothing’s more boring than running on a treadmill. I don’t care what screen you’re looking at. For people who, that maybe that’s not an option, maybe they work long hours, I think of single moms who they may be going to school and raising kids and have a job, for people in that kind of environment, what can they do?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: As far as exercise, Erin?
Erin Brinker: Exercise and just keeping healthy and trying to get enough sleep and to keep their immune system running as well as possible.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is tough. There’s no magic bullet here. I think you do your best, and you just make do with as much as you can. If exercising means playing with your kids. So last night we got my son a little mini boxing punching bag.
Erin Brinker: Oh cool.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I hadn’t had time to exercise, myself, so as I’m playing with him, I’m squatting, and I’m punching the bag back to him. I actually got a little bit of a sweat going on, just playing with my son.
Erin Brinker: Right on. I bet he loved it.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: He had a blast.
Erin Brinker: That’s awesome.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That was all the exercise I got for myself yesterday was the squats and the punches playing with him.
Erin Brinker: But it felt good.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It felt great, and we laughed.
Erin Brinker: Awesome. That’s important. I think stress is huge. I was talking with some friends yesterday about how mental health challenges are on the rise, depression, and anxiety, and all of that. I think part of it is that we’re isolated. We’re so isolated. Having fun with other people is really good for the soul.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is, and it’s actually proven to decrease your stress. Laughter is medicine. There have been studies showing laughter increasing T-cell activity in cancer patients. I think the more that you can enjoy life, and just be happy, the better off you’re gonna be and feel. I really do believe that truly, and live by it, and I try to live by it every day.
Erin Brinker: We’ll end with that wonderful advice. How do people find you, get a hold of you, read the full article, etc.?
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Go to aanmc.org, and actually, speaking of anxiety and depression, we’re hosting a webinar in a few weeks, early in December, on exactly that topic. So if folks are interested in hearing more about that, or any of our other events, please go to our website, visit aanmc.org/events, and check out what we’ve got going on.
Erin Brinker: Awesome. As always, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, it’s a treat to have you on with us. Thank you so much for what a wonderful segment. Thank you so much.
Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you for having me. Have a great day.
Erin Brinker: Thank you, you too. With that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.
Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.
Erin Brinker: And we are “On the Brink,” the morning show on KCAA. We’ll be right back.