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Natural Cold and Flu Defense

From Natural Cold and Flu Defense

By: C.M. Hawken.

Cold and Flu: An Introduction

For many people, the coming of winter months brings the possibility of becoming sick, mainly from colds and the flu. Millions of Americans suffer from at least one bout of the flu or cold each year, resulting in millions of hours of lost work time, millions of dollars spent on "remedy" products and just plain misery. Those who come down with either end up seeking out syrups, lozenges, tablets and pills that are designed not to eradicate the ailment, but only suppress its various symptoms. To date, there has been no "cure" found for the various strains of viruses that cause colds and flu. Despite conventional medicine's attempt to suppress the symptoms of the flu and cold, most products remain relatively ineffective and usually bring with them a host of undesired side effects. However, there are natural methods and products that not only help prevent infection from cold and flu viruses but also help shorten the duration and lessen the severity of a cold/flu infection.

How Do Colds and Flu Differ?

Generally speaking, the differences between a cold and the flue can be imperceptible. However, there are differences. The flu is almost always more severe than a cold, and is usually accompanied by fever, chills and aches. Its onset is also much more rapid than that of a cold. The flu usually lasts anywhere from a few days (there is even a strain commonly called the "twenty-four hour flu") to a week. However, residual effects from the bout can last up to a few weeks (this would include fatigue, depression and lack of energy).

Most colds come from one of five virus families, although almost half come from the rhinovirus family. It was only in the late 1980's that the rhinovirus was officially detected. Colds are basically restricted to the nose, throat and surrounding air passages: hence, their official name "upper respiratory tract infection". They usually do not bring fever, chills or more severe symptoms associated with the flu, but its duration of symptoms is usually longer than that of th flu, sometimes lasting for several weeks at a time.


Prevention -- The Best Medicine

Since there are no known cures for colds or flu, prevention is often the best medicine. In fact, taking preventive measures against the cold and flu will also improve your overall health. The following provides prevention tips in various areas:

HYGIENE:
  • Wash your Hands
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Keep a sick room (or house)healthy.
    Change and wash their bed linens daily. Wipe with disinfectant all lamp and light switches, telephones, doorknobs, TV remote controls, or anything else the infected person might touch. Periodically air out the room by opening doors and windows. Continually introducing fresh air reduces the risk of other persons in the house becoming infected.
DIET AND NUTRITION:
  • Eat healthful foods
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Exercise
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:
  • Avoid Smoking
  • Avoid Consuming Alcohol
  • Get Plenty of Rest
  • Reduce Stress


Herbal/Natural Supplements for Treating Cold/Flu Infection

ECHINACEA:There are numerous studies supporting echinacea's ability to fight colds and flu. It is known that the aerial portion, as well as extracts of its root, is effective in warding off viruses.
ZINC: There is now a significant amount of research concerning zinc lozenge products showing that they are effective; they not only help prevent the onset of colds, but also cause a notable decrease in a cold's duration.
VITAMIN C: There is a large body of research that indicates that Vitamin C is effective in reducing the severity and duration of colds and flu. It also acts as an immunostimulant.
GARLIC: Besides having a direct effect on cold and flu viruses, garlic can also protect the body from invading virus cells by enhancing the body's immune functions.
GOLDENSEAL: Besides goldenseal's ability to directly fight bacteria/viruses and stimulate the immune system, it also is useful in healing irritated mucous membranes.



Other helpful remedies include Pau'D'Arco, Astragalus, Licorice, Peppermint, and Beta Carotene (Vitamin A). Other natural therapies for treating colds and flu include Homeopathy and Hydrotherapy.