Treating Colds and Flu naturally

Most people are exposed to cold and flu germs on a regular basis but more noticeably during change of season and Winter. In this blog I will cover some simple treatments both homeopathic and nutritional you can use at home for cold and flu as well as a little advice on managing fever.

The body has a number of natural defence mechanisms after exposure to germs or allergens. These include a streaming nose or increases in temperature.Fever for example helps to reset the bodies internal temperature to create a climate which doesn’t allow the bugs to multiply as quickly, which then allows your immune system to respond faster.

Fever when it is well managed can assist in dealing quickly with an infection. It is usual with a fever to experience some side effects, such as reduced appetite, muscle aches and pains, headache and tiredness. These effects tend to be more pronounced if the fever rises quickly or is higher than 39.5 C (103.1 F). A normal temperature ranges from 36C to 37.2C.

Management of Fever

Generally speaking when managing a fever its best to follow these tips;

  • Keep the patient quiet and comfortable. Bed rest (if possible) otherwise minimal activity. Even though the patient may feel warm it is important not to chill them but to keep them dressed appropriately with a light cover.
  • Keeping the patient at a comfortable temperature by sponging with tepid water where they are very flushed or when you are concerned that the temperature is climbing quickly.
  • Keep up the fluids in particular water as during fever patients lose a lot of fluid through sweat or just increases in their metabolism.
  • The patient’s appetite may not be good however light nourishing food such as soup or juice where tolerated will assist in keeping up fluids as well as providing nourishment. It is not really necessary to “starve a fever” as a lot of energy is used up when a patient has a fever.
  • Refer to a practitioner if the fever is in excess of 39.5C or the patient is very distressed or complains of neck pain.

Always consider immune support in the form of 1-2g of Vitamin C and 25g of zinc a day during the illness. Vitamin C is generally better given in divided doses over the day as what the body doesn’t use it will excrete.

There are also a couple of teas that are useful during cold and flu. A popular option is YEP tea which is Yarrow, Elder and Peppermint and it can help cool the fever by sweating it out a little. Another I use when the cough is protracted is lemon garlic and manuka honey. Basically boil a  quartered lemon with 5 cloves of garlic in a covered pot for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve the strained liquid with manuka honey. Ideally I would recommend you use an organic lemon as you really want the limonene from the peel.

Homeopathically there are some excellent options for managing cold and flu and fevers and I have summarised the type of symptoms you would see in a patient who needs this remedy for a few of my favourites below.

Aconite

First remedy to consider where the onset is very sudden and in particular after exposure to cold dry weather.  Person who needs Aconite is usually extremely anxious, fearful and/or restless.

Violent onset of bursting headache in forehead with burning, tingling and numbness in the nose.  Worse for warm room, cold, dry weather. Better for lying down or open air.

Belladonna

Sudden onset of intense, bursting head pain with hot, red flushed face. Restless, delirious, desire to escape, may strike or bite. Throbbing in the temples worse for  motion of eyes, light, noise, touch, jarring. Better for lying, pressure, bending head back, wrapping up head warmly.

Good remedy for middle ear infection with bright red face and sudden onset of ear pain.

Also good for right sided sore throats which are quite red.

Bryonia

Dry cough which is worse for movement and causes pain in the chest.Constipation with large dry stool.

Pressing or bursting in temples and forehead like a crushing weight worse for motion, stooping, moving eyes. Better for pressure, rest, closing eyes and warmth.

Irritable, thirsty, wants to get back to work.

Gelsemium

Tired exhausting flu. Generally dizzy, drowsy, droopy or dull. Thinking is an effort. Chills or dull pain up and down the spine. Wants to sleep or lie down. Little thirst.

May be accompanied by diarrhea.

Hepar Sulph

Sensitive and irritable. Sore throats with a feeling like something is stuck in it, like a splinter. Swollen tonsils and glands often with pus.  Sharp pain on swallowing. Discharges smell sour. Worse for drafts and touch. Good to use if you don’t get to the Aconite early enough and it comes on after being out in the cold.

Merc Sol

Toxic states or burning or painful sore throats, with bad breath or a metallic taste in the mouth. May have a lot of extra saliva in the mouth.

Temperature sensitivity. Green or yellow discharges.

Pulsatilla

Well developed colds with yellow or green mucus. Symptoms change constantly and person is easily upset and wants people around them Cough can be dry at night but loose in the morning. Worse for heat. Desires rich and creamy foods.

Christine Pope is based at Elemental Health, St Ives and runs regular workshops to teach people how to use natural medicine for treating common health complaints. Her next workshop is on 24 May from 10.30 to 12.30pm. Check the website for details at http://www.elementalhealth.net.au or email christine@elementalhealth.net.au to book in.

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