Influenza & the Common Cold - Practical Preventative Medicine.
Influenza has plagued humanity since the beginning of time and most of us have our own ways of dealing with viruses. Hot Lemon drinks bed rest is favoured by many, while a teaspoon of fresh chilli with tumeric and garlic by others, or even physical exercise. Interestingly all of these methods utilize one our most effective methods of clearing viruses, that being diaphoresis or a good sweat! but more on that later….
During a bad cold season, it is very important that we all take precautions and boost your intake of warming foods with lots of fresh ginger, garlic and onions and leeks in your diet, as well as extra vitmain C rich foods. If you get a mild fever, DO NOT overuse paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicine such as Iboprufin to bring it down as you are blocking your immune response to the pathogen.
FEVER IS A SYMPTOM, NOT THE DISEASE
It is your immune system fighting the infection and raising body temperature is a your body raising the it’s termperature to kill the virus and to sweat it otu. If you or a child has a temperature you can use moist tepid flannels with some lavender oil to cool naturally. Administer paracetamol only if very uncomfortable, bad sore throat or bad aches and pains in the evening so you can get some sleep, or if the fever goes above 39 deg. in a child after the methods described.
That’s where the sweat comes in. Herbs, chilli, garlic, hot soup, hot lemon drink with a couple of slices of ginger and honey are all great ways to get a good sweat going and are very useful in early stages of cold or Flu, provided there is no great fever or sweating already. If you are already sweating or have done for more then a couple of days, seek professional help and focus on cooling as mentioned above.
Use a chest vapour rub, old fashioned but great. Get into bed, rug up after your chosen diaphoretic and let your skin, your body’s largest organ do it’s job and sweat out the toxin/virus. It’s important that sweating as a therapy is only used in the early stages of a flu, during the first week, after that you will need to visit a health professional to find the best way to proceed.
Herbs can help; good herbs include Andrographis, Elderflower/berry, and dandelion tops and olive leaf for strong flu symptoms. Sore throats respond to gargling warm salty water or strong sage tea. Up your vitamin C intake, drink lots of hot water and eat light foods such as soup or steamed vegies. If you othen get sick, supplementing with Zinc, Astragalis or echinacea can help support your defences.
When you go out, RUG UP! Wear coats, scarves and a beanie to keep you protected from the cold. The cold weather does not ‘cause’ the cold/flu but it does reduce the bodiies defences and allows a pathogen to penetrate deeper into the system. Reduce cold, raw or icy foods to keep you system’s defences strong.