Posted on Jan 29, 2020, 3 p.m.
Influenza is caused by a virus, and there are several kinds that can give you the flu. While there is no cure for the flu, there are ways both pharmaceutically and gentler more natural approaches to help soothe flu symptoms that may help to shorten how long you are sick.
It is very important to drink plenty of water and other fluids, especially when you are not well to help your body loosen and get rid of built up mucus and phlegm to clear away. It is also very easy to get dehydrated when you are not feeling well and are not drinking or eating normally. In addition, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting can cause water loss.
To help your body stay hydrated other than drinking water you can also drink coconut water, herbal teas, fresh juice, soups, broths, and consume fresh fruits and vegetables. You will be able to tell if you are drinking enough liquids if you have to urinate frequently, and the colour of your urine is pale yellow or clear. If your urine is deep yellow to amber you may be dehydrated.
If you are a smoker it may be best to refrain from the habit while you are ill as much as possible because it can further irritate your nose, throat, and lungs.
It is also important to get more sleep when you are sick because sleeping helps to boost the immune system which will help your body fight off the virus. If you have plans it is best to cancel those to avoid spreading the virus and to make sleep a priority to help your body get back on your feet.
Warm chicken or beef bone broth is also good to consume to help stay hydrated, it will help to loosen and break up nose/sinus congestion. Bone broth is an excellent source of natural minerals such as potassium and sodium as well as replenishing other nutrients and protein that are important to rebuilding immune cells while you are sick.
Zinc is important for the immune system, it helps the body make germ fighting white blood cells, and research suggests that it may help to ease cold and flu symptoms as well as help the body fight the virus while slowing down how fast it multiplies. Zinc can be supplemented or obtained through diet in sources such as red meat, shellfish, lentils, beans, eggs, dairy, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds.
A salt water gargle can help to soothe a sore throat and clear mucus. Boil water and let cool until at room temperature, add ½ teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water and gargle at the back of your throat for at least 10-30 seconds to rinse your mouth and throat. Spit out into sink and repeat 2-4 times. Please don’t swallow the salt water, and don’t use on children, they can safely gargle with plain water.
Many herbs carry natural antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help while you are sick. Star anise is the star shaped spice that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) was extracted from traditionally. This has antiviral properties that can be effective against some strains of the flu virus. Other herbs that may help can be brewed into hot herbal green/black teas to help soothe symptoms to mix with star anise include turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cloves. If you would like some sweetness try using honey rather than sugar, for best results try royal jelly which has been shown to have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. Some natural health stores may even have bagged teas with all of these ingredients already combined together.
Essential oils may help to protect you against certain bacteria and viruses. Tea tree oil has been shown to help combat flu viruses by slowing or stopping the rate at which the virus multiplies; research suggests it works best when used within 2 hours of infection. Adding a few drops of this essential oil to hand soap or lotions can help to stop spread at a common source, and some mouthwashes also include tea tree oil as an ingredient.
Other essential oils and plants that also have natural antivirals and antibiotics include cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, geranium oil, lemon oil, thyme oil, and oregano oil. Be sure to use these oils only as directed, and do not ingest essential oil as many are toxic. Most can be used on the skin after being diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, or almond oil. Fresh dried herbs and spices can also be added to the mixtures for added benefits.
Essential oils diffused into the air may also help against some strains of viruses and bacteria. However, it is not advised to use this kind of aromatherapy on children, pets, while breastfeeding or during pregnancy.
Flu viruses prefer dry indoor air in which they can survive longer, and spread more easily. Colder outdoor temperatures typically lower humidity, as such using a humidifier in your home and workplace may help to reduce flu viruses in the air.
Steam inhalation therapy uses hot water vapor to help loosen mucus congestion which may help to relieve swelling in the nose/lungs, as well as soothe a dry cough, irritated nose, and chest tightness. It is best to avoid steam from water while it is boiling, and test the temperature before breathing it in to avoid scalding or burning yourself. You can even add a few drops of essential oils or medicated vapor rub to the hot water for added antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits.
Having a flu that is affecting your stomach is difficult as it can cause nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. During this time only eat small hand sized portions of food at a time, and stick to bland foods that are easier to digest such as bananas, rice, toast, applesauce, crackers, soup, broth, and boiled potatoes. Try to avoid any food that may irritate your stomach and digestion such as caffeine, milk, cheese, spicy food, fatty food, fried foods, and alcohol.
Most flu viruses will typically cause respiratory symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, body aches, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, dry cough, tiredness, fatigue. Stomach flu viruses cause digestive symptoms such as chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps.
Sometimes flu viruses can lead to other health complications by triggering other viral or bacterial infections in the ears, lungs, throat and other areas to promote sinusitis, ear infections, encephalitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Those who are at an increased risk for such complications include those with other health conditions, adults over the age of 65, and children who are under the age of 5.
If you are sick with a flu virus it might be best to speak with a doctor if you have a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, heart disease, stroke, or a lung condition.
If you have a fever over 100.4°F/38°C you should see a doctor, and you should seek medical attention if your symptoms are not improving after two weeks. Be sure to see a doctor if you are having trouble breathing, chest pains, chills or sweating, mucus that is an odd colour, blood in mucous, severe cough, or high fever.
Viruses can cause both cold and flu, both infections will give you a fever, and both have similar symptoms the main difference is how bad the symptoms are and how long they last. Flu symptoms are typically sudden and severe, lasting 1-2 weeks. Cold symptoms are generally milder lasting for one week or longer.
Most cases of the flu will not require medical attention, if you are sick, please stay home and rest so that you don’t spread it to other people at work/school. Home remedies can help to reduce symptoms to make you more comfortable and rest more while you are ill, and the rest will have an enormous influence on how quickly you get better.
Quick tip from Dr. Klatz with the scare of this novel coronavirus spreading to boost your immune system make sure that you are getting enough vitamins C and D, as well as selenium, garlic, and liquid iodine to help fight off any cold or flu viruses looking to set up camp in your body.
Be sure to also read the article called “Corona Virus 2020: A Global Pandemic?” written by Carol Petersen RPh CNP for more tips in her editorial.
Also check out this companion article written by Dr. Ron Klatz, who is the president and co-founder of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) : https://www.worldhealth.net/news/2020-coronavirus-report/
The full project can been viewed at: https://www.drklatz.org/corona-virus-solution
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.