If possible, stay at home when suffering from a cold or the flu. Colds and the flu are very contagious conditions. Symptoms include fever, headache, weakness, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Bacterial pneumonia, ear infection, sinus infection, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions are some of the known complications.
The best defense against colds and flu is prevention. There are ways to prevent the spread of infection.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue immediately and then wash your hands. Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Dry your hands with a disposable towel. Use the towel to turn off the faucet and then discard the towel into a trash can. Don't share drink, food, or eating utensils. Stay home if you are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Another defense against infection is a healthy immune system. Avoid all processed foods, fried foods, and sugars. Don't take antibiotics or steroids. Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Don't smoke tobacco or abuse alcoholic beverages. Exercise frequently. Eat a diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink lots of pure water.
Reduce stress by including rosemary and lavender essential oils with massage therapy. Get eight hours of sleep. Take Vitamin A, C, and E supplements. Drink echinacea, ginseng, astragalus, milk thistle seed, yellowroot, licorice root, or catnip tea often. Add garlic and parsley to foods. Remember that laughter is the best medicine (it actually builds up the immune system by decreasing cortisol production) so keep a sense of humor.
If a cold or flu does strike, there are many herbal remedies to soothe irritated membranes and hasten recovery. Take a hot bath. Add wintergreen or eucalyptus for congestion, mint or chamomile for headache, and tea tree for infection.
For a soothing massage, mix 3 drops eucalyptus oil, 3 drops tea tree oil, 2 drops thyme oil, 2 drops sandalwood oil, and 2 drops of Roman chamomile oil with a quarter cup of almond oil as carrier.
For the sniffles, try sipping a cup of elderberry, yarrow, and peppermint tea. Add ginger root for congestion. Echinacea, yellowroot, and myrrh are powerful natural antibiotics and should be used in moderation.
Elderberries are known for protecting the respiratory tract, relieving fever, and soothing muscle aches. They grow abundantly in forested areas of the North Georgia Mountains and have been used for centuries as a tonic.
Horseradish can relieve nasal congestion. Take a freshly grated piece of horseradish with a spoon full of lemon juice. Hot ginger or eucalyptus compresses can also help. Apply to chest area and cover with a blanket for best results.
Sore throat is often a painful symptom of a cold. Echinacea, white oak bark, or yellowroot can be made into tea, cooled, and used as a soothing gargle or spray. Mix in a few drops of tea tree or clove essential oil for added strength.
A liquid diet is beneficial during the first day of a cold or flu. Include green drinks, vegetable and fruit juices, and lots of pure water in the diet. Only light meals throughout the day should be given until condition is improved.
*Echinacea, cloves, and other herbs can make the throat numb but the condition is usually harmless. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.
Also see flu
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