A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Influenza
I had a question the other day about influenza.
Influenza, better known as “the flu,” is a highly contagious viral infection of your upper respiratory tract.
There are 2 types of influenza viruses, called type A and type B, causing this acute infection of your throat, nose, bronchial tubes, lungs, and middle ear.
The virus enters your body’s airways through mucous membranes in your nose, eyes, or mouth.
Because it can be spread easily by coughing and sneezing, influenza epidemics are very common, especially in winter.
Every year in the U.S., on average 5-20% of the population gets the flu.
The flu is unpredictable and can strike anyone, at any age.
More than 200 different strains of virus can cause colds and flu.
Flu strains are constantly changing so vaccinations against influenza are only partly successful in preventing the disease.
Vaccines become available each year to try to reduce the likelihood of getting the flu.
Most are safe and effective, if the strain targeted is actually the one that hits during the winter months.
The vaccine decision is based on a best guess at the time the vaccine is made.
The symptoms of influenza begin like those of the common cold – body aches, cough, fatigue, headache, and hot and cold sweats.
In many cases, a fever develops, and you may feel unbearably hot one moment and chilled and shaking the next.
Most influenza sufferers have a dry throat and cough.
You may be nauseous and vomit as well.
Often, you’re so weak and uncomfortable you don’t feel like eating or doing anything else.
Colds last for about 1 week to 10 days, on average, but the flu lasts longer – up to 12 days or more, followed by a week or more of residual coughing and fatigue.
To deal with influenza, it’s beneficial to:
*Drink plenty of water, with Performance, to stay hydrated and flush toxins. Also drink plenty of fresh juices, herbal teas, and soups. To shorten the length of the flu, go on a liquid diet emphasizing hot herbal teas and hot broth for 1 or 2 days.
*Cat’s claw may cut the duration of the flu.
*Cayenne helps to keep mucus flowing and helps prevent congestion and headaches. Simply add a bit of cayenne powder to soups and other foods.
*The Chinese mushroom cordyceps is available in a tonic formula to support your lungs.
*Elderberry has antiviral properties and reduces flu symptoms.
*Elderflower tea promotes sweating and cleanses your body of toxins.
*Eucalyptus oil is beneficial for relieving congestion. Put 5 drops in a hot bath or 6 drops in a cup of boiling water, put a towel over your head, and inhale the vapors.
*Fenugreek breaks up phlegm and mucus, and slippery elm helps remove them from your body.
*Linden-flower tea suppresses cough and reduces fever.
*Olive leaf extract enhances immune function and fights all types of infection, including the flu virus.
*Wild pansy tea can treat colds accompanied by fever and respiratory congestion.
*Eat plenty of hot chicken or turkey soup. This is grandmother’s old remedy and it’s still good today. Add a bit of cayenne pepper to help prevent and break up congestion. Avoid dairy products, mucus-forming foods, and sugar.
*Sleep and rest as much as possible.
*In treating a sore throat, avoid using aspirin chewing gum and aspirin gargles. Aspirin applied directly to mucous membranes doesn’t reduce pain and can act as an irritant.
*Don’t take zinc at the same time you eat or drink citrus fruits or juices. It’ll diminish the effectiveness of the zinc. Do consume a lot of other types of fruit.
*Don’t take iron supplements while a fever exists.
*Don’t give aspirin to a child with the flu. The combination of aspirin and a viral illness has been linked to the development of Reye’s syndrome, a potentially dangerous complication.
*Fever is one of the body’s major defense mechanisms against the flu. Flu viruses don’t survive well in a warmer environment. If you have a fever, don’t try to suppress it, unless it’s over 103 degrees F.
*If you consume alcoholic beverages even occasionally, or if you have liver or kidney disease, be cautious about using acetaminophen. The combination of alcohol and acetaminophen has been associated with serious liver problems.
*Buy a new toothbrush – toothbrushes can harbor viruses and prolong the illness.
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