Winter is knocking at our door with its chilly winds and clear skies, and it is time to get our stoles, sweaters and blankets out. But it is also the season of cold, fever and outbreaks of influenza. Flu and influenza usually run through winter till early spring and therefore it is best to stay equipped with common cold treatments so that you can fight and prevent it in a more effective manner. In reality, flu is quite different from common cold and is caused only by influenza virus types A, B and C. It’s a highly contagious disease that can spread through both direct and indirect contact with an affected individual.
Symptoms of Flu
The symptoms of common cold and flu are fairly similar and often confused. If you have sore throat, nasal congestion and coughing it is probably a cold. But if it is accompanied with a fever of 102˚F then it might be flu. The symptoms of flu are as follows:
- Fever of 38.8˚C/102˚F or more
- Body Aches
- Sore Throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
Best Home Remedies to Treat Flu Naturally
Although there are a wide range of over the counter medicines that can treat the symptoms of flu but it is best to resort to natural remedies because they don’t show any side effects in the long run.
The health and beauty benefits of honey need no new emphasis. It is nature’s answer for all ailments. It has been used for ages as a home remedy for common cold that helps in relieving cough, throat irritation and sore throat. Mixing a tablespoon of honey in tea or with lemon can help in suppressing cough and coat and soothes the throat. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of honey are capable of fighting viral infections. It helps in treating nighttime cough in children and promotes restful sleep. But don’t administer honey to children below 12 months of age.
The health benefits of garlic are well known. Including garlic in your daily diet during the flu season is a great way of preventing common cold and influenza in the first place. The compounds allion and allicin present in garlic have powerful antiviral properties that prevent the development of viral and bacterial infections. It is an amazing home remedy for cold and fever that not only reduces the symptoms, but also treats them effectively. The best way to utilize the flu-fighting benefits of garlic is to chew a few raw cloves 3 to 4 times a day. But if you can’t stand the strong taste then you can crush it and consume it with honey.
Ginger is much more than a kitchen spice. Ginger has been used widely in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat coughs and throat infections. It is one of the most effective natural cures for the common cold that is also used for alleviating nausea – a common symptom of influenza. Enzyme antihistamine present in ginger roots acts as a decongestant that helps in relieving stuffed nose and ease out breathing complications. The best way to use ginger for treating flu symptoms is to boil 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger root in a cup of water for 5 minutes, steep it for another 5 minutes and drink it 2 to 3 times per day for 3 days.
The benefits of probiotics for improving digestive health are numerous. But it also acts as an effective home remedy for common cold and flu. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that maintain balance of the digestive system, but recent research shows that probiotics are more effective in fighting colds, flu and upper respiratory tract infections compared to placebo. The helpful bacteria boost the immune system, neutralize the viruses in the digestive tract and prevent them from entering the bloodstream. Fermented and cultured foods such as unflavored yogurt, curd, kefir, lassi and sauerkraut are great sources of probiotics.
Green tea is an amazing antioxidant that helps in neutralizing the damage caused by oxidative stress. Theanine present in green tea helps in stimulating the immune system that fights the flu viruses. It also helps in keeping the body hydrated which in turn keeps the mucous membranes moist and prevents flu symptoms such as dry eyes. In addition, it also helps in thinning the mucus, making it easier to expel, thus relieving blocked nose. Drink up to 3 to 4 cups of green tea each day to boost up your body natural defense mechanism.
The benefit of vitamin C as an immune system booster is well known and administering vitamin C has been shown to relieve cold and flu symptom and fever. Vitamin C has effective antiviral and antibiotic properties that help in fighting bacteria and viruses. It also helps in treating bronchitis effectively and reducing phlegm. Administering up to 500 mgs of vitamin C can boost up the effectiveness of the immune system in fighting infections. Some of the richest natural sources of vitamin C include red and yellow bell peppers, guava, kiwi, citrus fruits, strawberries and broccoli.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The uses of apple cider vinegar for skin are well known, but it has amazing benefits for health as well. Apple cider vinegar is one of the most effective natural remedies for flu. Cold and flu viruses usually breed in the body that has acidic pH, and apple cider vinegar helps in preventing the multiplication of colds and flu germs by maintaining the pH of the body. While apple cider vinegar itself is acidic, it helps in alkalinizing the pH level of the body, thus making it difficult for viruses to survive. The best way to utilize the flu-fighting benefits of apple cider vinegar is to consume 2 tablespoons of it mixed with a glass of water each day right from the onset of the flu symptoms.
Echinacea is a flowering plant that is the most widely used herbal remedy for treating colds and flu. Various parts of the plant including the flower, leaves, stems and roots are used for producing the supplement. Extracts of Echinacea have been shown to boost the immune system and increase the count of white blood cells that helps in fighting the infection causing bacteria and viruses that have entered the body. It also helps in treating respiratory infections. It is suggested to take a total of 900 mg of Echinacea extract in 2 to 3 servings per day for 1 week but it should not be given to children under 12 years of age, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Cope with the cold and flu season in a smarter way this year with these effective natural remedies and don’t forget to share the tips with your friends and loved ones.
Image Sources: saltroomorlando.com, benylin.co.uk, wellsphere.com, kosherlikeme.com, myhealthylivingcoach.com.