Do you really have a cold or flu? Most of the time what we refer to as a cold or flu is simply a virus with gross symptoms such as a runny or blocked nose, sore throat and lethargy. Viruses cannot be treated by antibiotics, instead you have to let it run its course, treating the symptoms in an attempt to make the virus bearable.
Treating the symptoms can cause your body to take longer to heal because many of the symptoms are your body clearing itself of the virus. It can mean the virus lasts for 9 days instead of 7 but those 9 days will likely be more comfortable.
Cough syrups and other medications usually do very little in terms of providing relief. I’ve opted for natural methods for a while now as I usually have them in the cupboard, they taste better and at times have resulted in me getting better quicker.
The following are remedies I have used for viruses which are like a cold or flu – runny nose, blocked nose, sinuses, headaches, cough, sore throat, lost voice etc.
1.) Honey, lemon and cinnamon drink
Boil some water. Squeeze half a lemon into a cup, add 1 tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Cover with hot water and stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly. Allow to cool a little then drink. I sip mine over a few minutes instead of drinking it quickly. Drink as often as needed, often 3 or so times a day.
2.) Increase water
Drink more water. We rarely drink enough water as a society anyway. When you are sick it is even more important to ensure you are getting adequate water. Drink water helps flush your system, keeps your body hydrated and makes it easier for your body to heal.
3.) Crushed garlic
Crushed garlic is a natural antibiotic. If you have a virus this won’t help a lot. If you have an infection as well then crushed garlic will help. I add it to my cooking, make garlic toast or I have had friends who have a whole teaspoon of crushed garlic on its own three times a day. I couldn’t bring myself to consume it on its own.
In our family, a favourite is garlic pasta. I cook up a pot of pasta then stir through some butter with a few tablespoons of crushed garlic and a teaspoon of Italian herbs. Sometimes I fry the garlic in a little butter before stirring it all through the pasta, depending on how fresh and strong the garlic is. If it’s quite strong this helps reduce the overpowering smell and taste.
4.) Supplements and vitamins
Olive leaf extract and echinacea are great for your immune system. Take them as a tablet or in liquid form twice a day.
5.) Tumeric, ginger and cayenne pepper
All three of these have healing properties. I add them to stirfry’s, curries and other dishes when I am sick to boost my immune system.
Get adequate sleep, take your sick days from work and allow yourself to rest and get better. Your body needs sleep to heal and your coworkers do not need to catch whatever it is you have. Do everyone a favour and stay home, rest in bed and get better.
7.) Get it out
If you can cough up and out whatever is in your throat, always blow your nose instead of sniffing and try to encourage your body to clear it. Take hot showers or place your face over a bowl of steam with a towel to aid in decongesting your sinuses to get everything out. You can add eucalyptus or similar oils if it helps.
8.) Wash your hands and clean everything
After you blow your nose, wash your hands. Wipe over surfaces you have been touching and wash your bedding. You don’t need to go overboard disinfecting everything in the home and using antibacterial gel every time you touch something. Clean and air the home and maintain high hygiene to prevent the spread of germs.
9.) Avoid sugar
Aim to eat healthy. Foods high in sugar are great breeding grounds for bacteria. Eat clean and give your body the nutrients it needs to heal.
10.) Not so natural
If you need, take pain relief medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to help with the headaches. Use mouthwash like Cepacaine or Cepacol to numb your throat and suck on strong antibacterial and anaesthetic lozenges.
What do you do when you have are sick like this?