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Alternative Medicine,  Holstic Medicine & Natural medicine


What to do about colds and flu

Its that time of year again! Catching a cold can make you feel quite unwell for a few days, but isn't as serious an illness as it can seem to be to you while you are in the midst of it.

The old saying "It takes three days to develop a cold, three days to have it, and three days for it to go away," is pretty accurate, so if your cold has lasted longer than around nine days its time to ask your medical advisor for help as it may not be a cold at all.

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Its that time of year again! Catching a cold can make you feel quite unwell for a few days, but isn't as serious an illness as it can seem to be to you while you are in the midst of it.

The old saying "It takes three days to develop a cold, three days to have it, and three days for it to go away," is pretty accurate, so if your cold has lasted longer than around nine days its time to ask your medical advisor for help as it may not be a cold at all.

Flu, on the other hand, can be a serious illness, especially if you are very young, in old age or suffer from respiratory complaints already. There are quite a few different flu viruses, and each behaves differently, so what do you do to avoid catching a cold or flu, and what can you do to relieve the symptoms if you are unlucky enough to get it?

First - all about Colds.

Colds are contagious viral respiratory infections that cause inflammation in the linings of the nose and throat. Because a virus causes them, taking antibiotics will not help, but there are many natural remedies that will help you cope. The symptoms of the common cold are familiar to everyone and include: - nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, a stuffy head, headache, minor muscle aches and pains, tiredness and a sore throat.

What causes colds?

There are more than 200 different strains of the cold virus. Most adults develop immunity to the majority of them over time. The symptoms are not caused by the virus itself, but by your body's defence systems working to rid you of the virus.

Colds are easily spread by direct and indirect contact with a cold sufferer, or via the air from the sneezing or coughing of someone who already has a cold. It is not exposure to cold, wet winter weather that causes colds, but a lowering of your body's immunity due to stress, overwork etc. It is also thought that indoor (central) heating and dry air may dry out your nasal passages and make them more hospitable to cold viruses. (Consider using a humidifier.)

Cold Prevention

Maintaining a strong immune system by managing stress and living a healthy life style is the long-term answer. Practitioners of Chinese Medicine and Qigong would also recommend that you maintain your vital life force energy (qi/chi) by practicing Tai Chi, Chi Kung or using energy for self healing (as in Reiki). When you practice these energy exercises you raise your energy vibrations to a level that will guard you against external pathogenic factors (germs and viruses). Also, limit your exposure to the cold virus by washing your hands often, steering clear of people with colds, avoid sharing towels and phones, and try not to touch your face with unwashed hands.

Natural Cold Treatments

Supplements can help you recover faster as well as reduce some of your symptoms. Vitamin C, the most popular choice, does not actually prevent colds, but will help boost your immune system's response to the viruses and help shorten its duration.

Vitamin A taken in high doses (50,000 IU twice a day) at the first signs of a cold, can help fight the virus. Do not continue taking such high doses for more than five days. And if you're pregnant or planning a pregnancy do not exceed 5,000 IU of vitamin A per day.

Ginger is the favourite Ayurvedic cold remedy. Combine equal amounts of ginger, cinnamon and lemongrass, steep in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes and then add honey to taste. Or replace the lemongrass with a pinch of cardamom.
The herb echinacea is an immune booster. This natural antiviral herb should not be taken for more than two weeks at a time. The herb Goldenseal can be taken along with echinacea and works well to reduce cold symptoms.

Zinc lozenges may also help speed recovery and may relieve sore throats. (Look for lozenges containing zinc gluconate, glycinate and ascorbate).

To soothe a sore throat try a gargle with warm, salty water several times a day, and drinking hot fluids, including tea and chicken soup, is soothing. If you can why not have a rest in bed if you feel bad.

When to call the doctor

Infants and the elderly may be at risk of developing pneumonia. If after a few days, the cold suddenly takes a turn for the worse, and you develop chest pain, shortness of breath, a productive cough, and a high fever then call a doctor.

If you have asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, be prepared to call your doctor if you seem to be getting worse.

What to do about Flu (Influenza)

Flu is a contagious viral infection. A bad cold is very like a mild flu, but a more severe case of flu affects the whole body, with fever between 101°F to 103°F and chills, pounding headaches, joint and muscle pain, cough, dry or burning eyes, sore throat and fatigue.

The incubation period for flu is generally three or four days after exposure to the virus. Although flu generally lasts for less than 10 days, fatigue and lack of appetite may continue for weeks afterwards.

Just as with colds, the symptoms of flu are caused by the body trying to fight off the virus. And again, as with colds, there is no actual cure, although rest and some herbs and supplements can help make the symptoms more bearable and support the body's fight against the virus.

People at greatest risk of developing complications with flu are the elderly, people suffering from chronic illness (such as heart or lung disease) and anyone whose immune system is depressed, such as AIDS patients, or recent chemotherapy patients.

What are the causes of Flu?

Outbreaks of flu are caused by mutating strains of three basic types of influenza viruses and often occur as an epidemic. The viruses are caught and passed on in the same way as cold viruses. 
Type A viruses are usually the most potent and are most often responsible for epidemics. The B type viruses are less severe, and type C viruses are responsible for the mildest cases of the flu that are most like a common cold.

Flu Prevention

For people most at risk of complications the flu vaccine is an option. Zanamivir (Relenza), which is a nasal spray, and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are both anti-viral drugs that may be prescribed, but you need to take them early in the course of the illness for them to work.

Supplements that can help relieve flu symptoms.

Vitamin A may help shorten the duration of the flu. Take as recommended for colds (see above).
Taken in high doses (2,000 mg three times a day, for five days), vitamin C may also help.

Consider the herb echinacea to boost your immune system. Do not take echinacea for more than two weeks without a break though.

Also try the homeopathic remedy called Oscilloccocinum.

Acupuncture can help some people to avoid catching flu, or to avoid the worst of the symptoms and shorten the length of the illness if you do get it.

Natural self care remedies for Flu.

Stay in bed, resting or sleeping, until your temperature returns to normal.

Drinking plenty of warm fluids. Take water at room temperature and choose fruit/vegetable juices, or vegetable, chicken, or clear beef soups.

As with colds, to ease a sore throat gargle with warm, salty water and suck zinc lozenges.

If you have a dry, non-productive cough use a humidifier in the room and add eucalyptus oil or Olbas Oil to an oil burner.

And lastly - a general herbal remedy for colds and flu.

Crush a medium sized garlic clove and half a teaspoon of fresh ginger, squeeze the juice of a lemon. Mix together with a teaspoon of honey in a cup of warm water and drink up to three cups a day.

For most people having a cold, or even flu, is unpleasant but passes fairly quickly, and the positive side is that you are unlikely to catch that same virus again for quite some time after you have had it, because your immune system has developed antibodies against it. So pamper yourself and rest, you'll most probably soon be better again.


Age-Old Remedy for the Newest Flu

Viruses are the invading organisms responsible for most epidemic illnesses, as well as the common cold, ordinary flu, and cold sores, among others. Tea tree oil is a proven immuno-stimulant and anti-viral agent.

flu,bird flu,viruses,tea tree oil,Kathryn Beach

Every year the seasonal flu kills about 36,000 people and sends 200,000 to the hospital, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every year during "flu season" (typically starting around Thanksgiving and peaking around Christmas) there's a rush to get flu shots; especially among the elderly, the ill, and the very young, the concern is well-grounded.

For most sufferers -- between 5 and 20 percent of the population every year -- the flu brings fever, headaches, fatigue, aches and pains, stomach distress and other symptoms that make life miserable for days.

Rumor of a pandemic flu outbreak has brought increased concern. It's important to understand exactly what this means, rather than just being fearful of something arriving at the nearest airport to which you have no defense.

Viruses are the invading organisms responsible for most epidemic illnesses. Virus-caused illnesses range from the common cold to cold sores, warts, measles and chicken pox, hepatitis, West Nile virus, the "ordinary" flu, and AIDS. Most recently, it's the Avian flu that has people on edge.

We can help prevent the passage of viruses from person to person by avoiding large indoor gatherings of people (right...during the holiday season...) and exercising good sanitary practices - washing hands often, using tissues, ventilation of rooms, etc.

Viruses are known to be resistant to pharmaceutical antibiotics. Many public health experts have pinned their hopes on the antiviral drug Tamiflu to fight the avian flu, for example, only to find that resistent cases are emerging. A flu virus mutates frequently and sometimes a new strain emerges that humans have not been exposed to. If the strain spreads easily between humans, it can cause widespread death and overwhelm global health resources. (It's important to realize that the avian flu is NOT passed easily between humans; it seems to mostly be passed from poultry to humans.) A flu virus from half a world away is one to which you will most likely have no immunity, unlike the local ones you contact, and the mutations can leave us even more defenseless.

Enter the powerful healing properties of the oil of the tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia. Tea tree oil has various uses in medical treatments because of its triple antibiotic features: it's an antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. Just because a substance is naturally-occuring with no known side effects, does not mean it can't be effective. Tea tree was an important medicinal for native Australians. They drank tea made of the leaves and applied tea tree poultices to treat wounds, cuts, and various skin disorders. In 1920, Dr. A. Penfold tested the oil's properties for the first time. He discovered that tea tree oil was 12 times more potent than the accepted antiseptic at the time, carbolic acid. Dr. Penfold's research prompted further testing in the following decades, contributing to its increasing use by the public.

Tea tree oil is a valuable alternative to pharmaceuticals. Its complex chemical composition makes it extremely difficult for germs to develop resistance. Traditional antibiotics possess more simple chemical structures to which germs can easily develop immunity. Tea tree oil is readily absorbed and it continues to block germ growth at the site for several days after the initial application. The oil is a proven immuno-stimulant and anti-viral agent; it is even currently being tested in the treatment of AIDS.

You should apply a small test amount to the skin before using it for the first time, as with any product, there is always the chance of sensitivity in any particular individual. Adding a couple drops to a vaporizer and inhaling the steam helps to freshen and disinfect the air, killing germs that infect the sinuses and lungs, and opening clogged respiratory passages. The oil can be rubbed into the skin at full strength, or mixed with a carrier oil or lotion. The oil can also be added to a hot bath and is then assimilated both through the skin and the nasal passages.

Personal use of tea tree oil is not to be substituted for advice from your family doctor. It is, however, useful in prevention and as a first aid treatment. And there is anecdotal and scientific evidence of truly amazing results using this phenomenal substance.


The Flu Shot or Not

The flu shot is always a hot topic of discussion this time of year. There is always such a sense of panic and fear that sends people running to get their flu shot. I'm always the "odd man out", for I go running in the opposite direction.

flu, flu shots, Silver Biotics, illness, nutrition, remedies, Oscillococcinum, Sambucol

The flu shot is always a hot topic of discussion this time of year. There is always such a sense of panic and fear that sends people running to get their flu shot. I'm always the "odd man out", for I go running in the opposite direction. The toxins in the vaccines create side effects for some that are as bad as or worse than the flu such as muscle aches, sore throat, fever, chills, congestion, sneezing and headache. There are many undesirable ingredients in the flu vaccine that we don't hear much about such as Triton X-100 (a detergent); Polysorbate 80 (a potential carcinogen); formaldehyde (a known carcinogen); Aluminum (linked to Alzheimer's disease) and Thimerosal, (a mercury based preservative) which is being investigated for its link to brain injury, memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune diseases. Hugh Fundenberg, MD an immuno- geneticist and biologist with nearly 850 papers published in peer review journals, has reported that if an individual had 5 consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied), his or her chances of getting Alzheimer's Disease is 10 times higher than if they had 1 or 2 flu shots due to the mercury content. Autism is also being linked to vaccinations due to the mercury. Many doctors of natural medicine believe that and vaccines are "quick fixes" that suppress and or destroy our own immunity leaving humanity as sitting ducks for new strains of pathogens which mutate faster than the vaccines are produced. By the time one gets the flu shot, there will be newly mutated strains that will not be covered with the current shot. It will be covered in next years shot, but the same cycle will occur.

Whether one chooses the flu shot or not, there are safe and effective ways to build immunity and ward off the flu as well as other respiratory problems. The obvious is to eat a healthy diet eliminating or greatly reducing; soda's, refined flour, sugar and artificial sweeteners (including sucralose), alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Exercise regularly, obtain adequate sleep and drink plenty of purified water. The Center of Disease Control states that dirty hands are the leading cause of spreading disease and advises that all adults and children wash their hands with soap and water many times throughout the day.

There are nutritional supplements that specifically support the immune system. There are popular homeopathic flu remedies such as Oscillococcinum by Boiron that can be taken as a preventative; just a few pellets under the tongue 3 times a week. Silver water in the form of colloidal or ionized silver has been used for centuries and has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. A teaspoon a day may be used as prevention during flu season. My favorite brand is Silver Biotics Concentrated oil of Mediterranean wild oregano has been proven to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and may be consumed at 5-10 drops a few times a day with food. Elderberry is a popular anti-viral herb that is sometimes traded under the name of Sambucol. There are many effective immune enhancing formulas which contain many vitamins, minerals, herbs and homeopathics that target immune system support. Some of these nutrients include; colostrum, goldenseal, echinacea, elderberry, zinc, astragalus, garlic, olive leaf, silver, vitamins A,B,C, E, and so on.

Nourishing the immune system is like building a second line of defense. It's simple... If you are won't get sick.

This Article provided by Mike Comeau, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult your doctor when seeking medical advice.

Please feel free to read more of this article by visiting my link in the resource box below. I always enjoy getting emails pertaining to my articles or my site. Your feedback is important to me.


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