As the season changes and we move into winter we find that our immune systems start faltering. In understanding the difference between the presentation of a cold or flu one only needs to look at the symptoms you have. A cold and flu have different symptoms and for that reason the treatment is based on the symptoms one displays. One also needs to be aware of the symptoms being that of either a bacterial cause or viral, as the treatment would be different for each.
Cold Symptoms: Stuffy head, caused by nasal congestion, Headache, Watery eyes, Itching in eyes, nose & throat and, in some cases, a fever.
Flu Symptoms: Fever and chills, Exhaustion, Body aches & pains, Congestion, Headache, Sore throat, Coughing.
For this reason both the above presentations would benefit from regular doses of Vitamin C to boost the immune system, as well as Bettamed (cleanse and recover). These can be added to your drinking water as a means of increasing your daily consumption which would have needed to be increased during times of infection. For the Flu symptoms one can use formulas which contain Sambucucs nigra (Elderberry), Viscum album (Mistletoe), Commiphora mol mol (Myrrh), Thymus vulgaris (Thyme), ginger root, garlic oil capsules as a natural antibiotic (even warmed slightly and put on cottonwool overnight and left in the ear in case of earache), Olive leaf extract also can be used to to decrease the severity of symptoms. The common cold is minimized rather effectively if one starts using herbal remedies at the sign of onset. Echinacea is a popular natural remedy used in this case, as well as Zinc with chelated Selenium, which increased white blood cells in the sight of infection. Instead of using a nasal spray, one can steam with an aromatic oil base (Eucalyptus oil, Vicks or anything menthol based) – a teaspoon of the product is placed in boiling water, cover the head with a towel and breather in the seam in order to open the nasal passages. This is better done at night and you are able to get straight into bed. One can also have a luke warm Epsom salt bath (1x cup in the bath) with during the time of infection (be carefulit does make the bath slippery).
This is not recommended in the case of patients with Hypertension. A Netti nasal pot can be used in order to tinse the nasal passages. The use of a homoeopathic nasal spray (ask your local health shop) is encouraged so that you are able to use it more frequently throughout the day. Also inhaling gently with salt water into each nostril from the palm of your hand also cleanses the nasal passages.
During this period rest is generally what the body needs. Increase your intake of fresh diluted vegetable juices, soups and herb teas. Avoiding simple sugars, coffee and dairy products which decrease the immune system response when sould beneeding it the most.
Dr Melissa Brown, Naturopath