Sickness and Detoxification

Is getting sick good or bad? Maybe that seems like a silly question to you. After all, being sick certainly doesn’t feel good. Congestion, fever, diarrhea, cough, sore throat, nausea, inflammation, headache and other common symptoms of sickness are all decidedly unpleasant. We always sympathize with someone when we hear that they’re sick, or have been sick (while keeping our distance, in case it’s contagious). There are tons of medicines at the pharmacy that we can take to reduce our symptoms (even though the medicines themselves sometimes have side effects) so that we can feel good again and go on with our normal lives. Headaches and fevers and so on are seen as these blights that can sort of come out of nowhere and have to be defeated or cured. Nevertheless, it’s notoriously difficult to make them just go away. They usually come back. We’re still trying to find a cure for the common cold.

Having read all the above evidence for sickness as a bad thing, you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to assert: yes, that getting sick is actually good for you. I have to be careful how I express myself here, however. I don’t mean that getting a virus or pneumonia or a real disease is good for you. Those things can kill us. It’s the symptoms of getting sick that are good for you. Unpleasant though it may be, your diarrhea is a sign of your body fighting back against the virus, bad bacteria, or other toxic enemy. Same with coughs, fevers and so on. It’s inaccurate to say that you’ve got a cough, if you’re implying that the cough is the sickness. The cough is your body trying to get rid of something that doesn’t belong there. What we think of as getting sick is actually getting healthy.

Unfortunately, the medicines we usually take when we’re sick work against our body rather than the toxins it’s trying to get rid of. Cough suppressants, fever reducers, anti–inflammatories, etc., all tell the immune system to take a break. The positive side is that we feel better. The negative side is that whatever was causing the immune response is still there. So we’re probably going to “get sick” again sooner or later. But next time the immune system will be weaker and the body more toxic. And some people will have to move on to stronger and stronger “medicines” as time goes on, because they have worse and worse symptoms.

Sometimes we do need help from pharmaceuticals, because the immune system can become too zealous in fighting the bad guys. You don’t want your fever to get too high or your headache too painful. In those cases, some pharmaceutical medicine is okay—but just enough to help you get to sleep. Then, when you’re sleeping, it will wear off and your immune system will go back to work. It’s when you’re sleeping that organs like the liver and kidneys do most of their detoxifying work.

In fact, the best thing you can do when you get sick is to get to sleep early, drink plenty of water, and avoid any strenuous activity. The more you interrupt the healing process, the longer it will take to get fully healthy, and the less productive you’ll be in the end. I say this because there is a lot of pressure on people to take medicines which shut down the immune system so they can still feel good enough to show up for work every day. But if you have sick days, then use them; consider them “health days” rather than sick days, and remember that we all need health days, exclusively for detoxifying, from time to time.

There are many natural foods out there that aid and support the immune system’s proper function. If you’d like to learn more about how to naturally help your body detoxify by applying a healing diet, you can contact me for an initial health consultation.