Thousands of people get the flu every year. There is no one sure fire way to cure the symptoms of the flu however there are different ways to get relief from the flu.Everyone has their own way to cure their symptoms of the flu, and some ways work better for some and still others choose different methods. Traditional medicines, prescriptions, over the counter medications, homeopathic and herbal remedies all have ways to reduce the signs and symptoms of the flu. Its up to you to choose what works best for you.
Although the number one flu remedy is of course to not get the flu, but no matter how hard we try there is no sure way to avoid getting the flu. Even flu shots that are offered at hospitals, pharmacies and clinics don’t always prevent someone from getting the flu. Depending upon your beliefs will determine what flu remedies and prevention are right for you.
Elderberry extract is derived from the sambucus tree or shrub. The extract is used to treat flu like symptoms at first sight. Elderberry extract can be used in a juice or syrup to shorten the duration of cold and flu like symptoms. Elderberries contain potassium, vitamin C and anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Although there has been nothing proven on why it reduces the cold and flu the main theory is that elderberry has very high oxygen radical absorption capacity, reducing free radicals in the body.
Take 1 teaspoon of elderberry extract four to five times daily after the first sign of a cold or flu. Take it until symptoms subside, then 1 teaspoon daily for general health.
Boneset is another herb from genus Eupatorium of the flowering plants, which helps to lessen the symptoms of the flu as well. Normally it is ingested as a tea because of the toxic affects the plant can have if ingested whole. Boneset is known to reduce fever from viral or bacterial infections through the act of sweating. Additionally boneset promotes the removal of phlegm through coughing.
To make boneset infusion takes one ounce of dried boneset leaf and one quart of boiling water. Mix them in a quart mason jar and leave to steep for 4 hours. Strain out the dried herbs, reheat and drink. Lemon and honey can be added to taste.
Echinacea is another popular herb used to shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms. Echinacea is believed to enhance the immune system. Echinacea is also a blood cleanser and signals the release for white blood cells to fight infection. In addition Echinacea is excellent for cold and flu prevention by keep the immune system strong and intact to fight off the attacks of bacteria and viruses.
Echinacea tinctures can be taken daily under the tongue for general health and 3-5 times a day during symptomatic times.
- Abra Bath is an organic product you can add to your bath water to reduce body aches, congestion and relieve chills associated with the flu. Abra is formulated with specific organic herbs to relieve the symptoms of the flu.
- Ginger is one of nature’s antiviral herbs. Ginger is used as an antiseptic, antioxidant and pain reliever. Ginger is used to treat colds, sore throats, inflammation, reduction of fever, and pain. Ginger can be used as a spice in food, hot tea, or in a smoothie.
- Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic medicine, which relieves symptoms of the flu. Originally manufactured in France and has been in used in over 50 countries for the past 65 years. Easily accessible in local vitamin stores, natural food stores, organic grocery stores and online through Boiron.
Over The Counter Medicine
- Flu Relief nasal spray is another way to relieve the flu symptoms. Nasal sprays relieve nasal congestion and blockage that can be caused by a cold or flu. Nasal sprays come in two forms decongestants and saline solutions. The decongestants clear the nasal passage and reduce stuffiness. Saline water solutions loosen the mucus in the nasal passage to relieve congestion. Saline solutions contain no medication but rely on the salt in to cleanse the nasal passage.
- Acetaminophen, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen are over the counter pain relievers. These products can reduce fever, headaches or aching muscles caused by the flu.
- Robitussin is an over the counter cough medicine the can quiet a persistent cough related to the flu or a cold. Robitussin is specially formulated to help with symptoms associated with the flu.
- Vicks vapor rub is topical decongestant uses to relieve congestion associated with the flu. Over the counter decongestants help relieve congestion in the chest, nose and throat. Decongestants help to loosen mucus and excrete them out the body.
- Throat lozenges are used for symptoms of a sore throat. Throat sprays have the same affect on sore throats.
- Sudacare shower soothers are mint tablets that once added to the bath water creates non-medicated vapors of lavender, eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor. This helps sooth, relax and relieve symptoms of the flu such as aches, congestion and fatigue.
- Gargle with warm salt water to reduce a sore throat. Salt is used as an antiseptic and disinfects the throat of germs. It is natural and inexpensive and can be used as often as needed.
- Rest is the most important part of recovering from the flu. The body is usually weak and drained from fighting off the flu virus that it is fatigued. Rest allows the body to recuperate after fighting against the flu.
- Drink fluids. Water is the most important thing to drink, but other fluids include hot teas, Gatorades to replace electrolytes, or pedialyte. Avoid caffeinated drinks that will act as a diuretic. When your body is fighting an infection, it is easier to become dehydrated and with all the symptoms that you are experiencing from the flu you don’t want to add symptoms from dehydration. Fluids also flush out toxins or reminisce of infection.
- Health juices such as mangosteen, noni, goji, aloe vera and acai berry are good replenishing drinks as well. In addition to keeping the body hydrated they have added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost the bodies immune system.
- Clean out your ears with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide disinfects and kills germs. By putting a couple of drops in each ear you can kill cold and flu germs that can build up in the ear and cause infection. Use a cotton ball or Q-tip and allow the hydrogen peroxide to fizz and bubble. Drain from the ear with a tissue, then reapply until it no longer bubbles.
- Garlic is one of food sources that has high anti-bacterial properties. It can be used to help fight infection within the body. Additionally it has the ability to boost the immune system.
- Vitamin C is a natural cold reliever. It can be consumed through foods or supplement form. Vitamin C is prevalent in fresh fruits and vegetables. By consuming large quantities of vitamin C you can help the body fight infection and relieve symptoms of the flu.
Prescription Medication (Must be obtained through a medical professional):
- Tamiflu is a prescription medication used to treat symptoms of the flu. It decreases the severity of symptoms such as stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, fever/chills, aches, and tiredness. It also increases recovery time by 1-2 days.
- Relenza additionally decreases flu symptoms and increases recovery time. Relenza stops the influenza virus from continuing to grow within the body. It can also prevent the flu inflection for people who are surrounded by infected persons.
So whatever remedy you choose to use, you have the option to choose how you treat your symptoms of a cold and flu this season. Remember that if your symptoms worsen it is recommended to see a physician to determine the type of strain you have. Always keep yourself informed and take steps to prevent getting the cold or flu.
Photo: Rita E.