Cold & Flu
Now's the time to boost your immune system to optimum levels
to fight colds and flu, speed up recovery and ease symptoms.
These are the main reasons many people get winter colds and flu:
1) We're indoors with other people while windows and doors are tightly closed. 2) The viruses causing most respiratory infections are continually mutating. Our immune systems have difficulty responding to these ever-changing germs. 3) Viruses typically survive on non-porous surfaces for hours. For example, If you turn a door handle recently touched by a sick person, then inadvertently
lift your hand to your nose, you've infected yourself. 4) Respiratory viruses, especially Influenza, become airborne when someone coughs. You only need to inhale a very small amount of the airborne virus to become sick. Common symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and cough. Flu (Influenza) is not as common as colds. The two main types of Influenza viruses "A " and "B" cause most cases of the flu. The Influenza viruses spread in the air and direct contact. Flu symptoms are usually debilitating,
characterized by sudden onset of chills, fever and muscle aches. How To Tell The Difference Between A Common Cold and The Flu...
A cold and the flu are both caused by viruses, but have different effects on
the body. Flu symptoms tend to be harsher than those caused by a common
cold. Common symptoms caused by both conditions include a fever, cough,
chest congestion, achy body and fatigue. These are common illnesses and
evaluating your symptoms as well as duration of the symptoms can help
determine which is affecting you.
Severity of Symptoms...
Flu symptoms are usually more severe than those caused by the common cold.
With a cold, your fever will be relatively low grade (below 100 degrees F);
However with the flu, fever is typically between 100 and 102 degrees F.
A cough is a common symptom for both, but is milder with a cold. The cough
can be more severe and will start sooner with the flu.
Other troublesome symptoms that exemplify the flu are muscle aches,
headaches, and fatigue. While the muscle aches and fatigue may occasionally
be arise with a common cold, they do not last as long or have the same severity.
Timing of Symptoms, Onset and Duration...
A cold usually progresses slowly and is often preceded by a a sore throat a
few days earlier and other symptoms begin to develop. In contrast, the flu
appears more quickly and most symptoms arrive at the same time. If no
other complications develop, the common cold will usually last for a week;
Although the flu might only last between three and five days, the extreme
fatigue and overall weakness can last three or more weeks.
Keep Drinking Warm Liquids Including Herbal Teas and Soup Broths
When you come down with a cold or the flu, your respiratory system works
hard to expel the invading viruses via mucus. Rather than drying those
mucus secretions with OTC antihistamines, it's better to accelerate the
healing process by thinning them and making it easier to expel them.
The best way to thin mucus secretions is to add water to your system by
drinking warm liquids, especially herbal teas and clear soup broth. Take a hot, steam shower, inhale through your nose if you're stuffy, or
through your mouth for chest congestion. Include aromatherapy by use
decongesting, anti-microbial herb extracts including eucalyptus, thyme,
rosemary or peppermint leaves. A warm bath can relax aching muscles
and ease chills. add five to eight drops of plant essential oils for muscle
aches, try juniper and ginger.
Supplementing Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs
Some people who use Vitamin C users report reduced duration and severity
of cold symptoms, indicating that it plays a role in respiratory defense
mechanisms. Typical daily doses are 500 to1000 milligrams a day. Eating
Vitamin C-rich foods, such as peppers, blueberries, citrus fruits, strawberries
and leafy green vegetables provide good benefits.
Natural Nutritional Remedies for Colds and Flu
Certain herbs are beneficial to help decrease the severity of colds
and flu while aiding your body's healing process.
Echinacea is the most-researched herb for enhancing immune defenses and
to help prevent respiratory tract infections. Several studies support the use of
Echinacea for the treatment of viral upper respiratory infections.
The American Botanical Council noted recent studies concluding that
Echinacea helped reduce the duration and incidence of the common cold.Most experts say that when an Echinacea is taken in adequate and frequent
doses at the onset of symptoms, it can shorten the duration and severity of
a cold. Based on new research, it may also be helpful to start echinacea if
you've been exposed to someone with a cold and should be taken every
two hours while symptoms persist.
Sambucus is better than Elderberry, a traditional European tea brewed
with elder flowers and peppermint leaves. However, scientific research
has focused specifically on the berry from the black elderberry tree
(Sambucus nigra). The extract ofambucus black elderberries produces
beneficial immune actions and helps fight influenza and other respiratory
viruses. Several studies have demonstrated rapid recovery from
influenza with Sambucus extract
Ginseng including either Eleuthero Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), American
ginseng (P. quinquefolius) and eleuthero (Siberian ginseng or Eleutherococcus senticosus) all have been reported useful in fighting respiratory viruses. Such immune enhancing herbs especially helpful for elderly people. Ginseng is one of the most recommended cold and flu remedies by herbal experts.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) also has many properties that can relieve
cold and flu symptoms. It acts as a mild anti-inflammatory, demulcent
(soothing to sore throats), antispasmodic (to relax coughs) and expectorant
to expel respiratory mucus. Herbalists recommend not to take licorice for
more than four to six weeks. It causes kidneys to retain water and sodium
while losing potassium. Don't take it at all if you're pregnant, have high
blood pressure or low blood potassium.
Vitamin C helps promote a healthy immune system, also beneficial
potassium, zinc and selenium.
vitamin D, beta carotene. Be sure to replenish key minerals:
Healthy lifestyle factors influence your immune function...
Try to sleep at least eight hours a night. Wash your hands often, and sneeze into your arm, not your hands. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, which
To avoid getting sick, eat healthy foods.
Be sure to emphasize whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet.
delays respiratory defenses, and only drink alcohol to a minimum because
excessive amounts affect immunity. Exercise regularly, but moderately.
If you come down with a cold, light exercise is beneficial and can help
clear respiratory mucus. If you have a fever, be sure to rest.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical
advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.