Autumn! Right now you need to consider whether you’re well enough to get right through winter without falling victim to winter coughs, colds and flu. And if you’ve already had a few sniffles you can be certain the answer is “no”. If you haven’t already prepared yourself to weather winter there are natural remedies to help you survive without getting too sick. But you need to act right now before winter takes hold. These natural remedies for coughs colds and flu will support you in best health.
Along with damp morning mists and cold air come winter illnesses, and many have already been struck down. When you feel terrible it’s natural to think you’ve caught the flu. Only about 20% of viruses that look and feel like flu actually are flu. But it doesn’t stop the others from being downright unpleasant and highly contagious.
Preparing for winter should begin with a careful plan to strengthen your immune system. Ideally you’d start this back at the end of summer when the weather first cooled. But if you’re unprepared and have already had a taste of the illnesses that lie ahead this winter there are still various tactics you can use to help you get through with minimum damage.
Over-the-counter cold and flu medications make you feel better because they suppress your symptoms for a while. But besides having side effects they actually don’t make you well any faster. For that you need to look at other, more natural options.
Natural Cold And Flu Prevention
There are many awesome natural remedies for coughs colds and flu that effectively treat winter illness. But they’re even more effective if you first fix bad habits.
Sleep is the most important lifestyle factor for glowing health. Adults need between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. It’s vital to develop regular sleep habits because you cannot just make up the deficit after nights of inadequate sleep. A healthy immune system is the direct result of sufficient quality sleep.
Sleep environment is crucial. Most people know they shouldn’t use their electronic devices (phone, tablet, computer) before bed, but few actually stop. Using devices an hour or less before sleep is like having someone stand beside your bed shouting “stay awake”. They prevent good sleep. Watching TV in bed isn’t much better.
Creating bedtime rituals contributes to undisturbed slumber. LINK Unclutter your bedroom. LINK Introduce some relaxation practices before bed. Don’t go to bed with either a full stomach or hungry.
You know to wash your hands often during flu season. Cold and flu viruses easily spread onto surfaces when hands touch keyboards, phones, or a glass. Hours later they can still linger and be transferred to you when you touch the same surface.
If you normally exercise keep it up through winter. Slow gentle exercise and stretching helps move lymph fluid through your body to remove waste from the cells. Aerobic exercise increases your body’s natural virus-killing cells. But don’t begin exercising when you get sick.
Sugar and grain weaken the immune system. Your immune system is compromised by 50% for up to four hours after eating sugar.
Some supplements are beneficial for the immune system and can help prevent colds and flu.
Vitamin D produces antimicrobial peptides in your body to kill viruses and bacteria. Many people are deficient in this crucial vitamin. Because vitamin D is sourced from sunlight it’s common for levels in your body to drop dramatically over the winter when sunlight is scarce or weak
Strong immunity depends on good levels of the trace element zinc, but again many people are deficient. Zinc increases production of infection fighting white blood cells and helps your immune system release more antibodies. When your levels of zinc are low you are much more susceptible to infection.
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in your body to provide your immune system with loads of extra power to fight off viral illness. Lemons, limes, oranges, red pepper and broccoli are all good sources, or take a daily supplement.
Garlic contains allicin, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and is often referred to as natures antibiotic. LINK Don’t use odourless garlic as you need to be able to smell a strong garlic odour for it to work. If you take garlic as a food it needs to be uncooked.
Studies show that taking lactic acid bacteria long-term can protect against flu infection. Begin this well before winter.
There are many excellent remedies that give fast relief for the symptoms of coughs, colds and flu. While you can buy combination mixtures from health food stores, the most effective homeopathic remedies are individual and closely matched to your specific unique symptoms. See more below or visit your Homeopath for a fast relief remedy expertly matched to your symptoms.
The herb Echinacea helps fight infection, and is most effective during the first twenty-four hours of your illness.
Goldenseal inhibits the formation of mucous.
If You Still Get The Flu…
If you are unfortunate and still catch the flu or a cold in spite of taking precautions it may be your body telling you to slow down. Falling ill is a sign your immune system is compromised and needs support. Your body need time and rest to recover. Before continuing to soldier on at work weigh up carefully whether it’s wise to go to work if that means spreading your germs through your whole workplace.
Here are eight suggestions to help you fight winter ailments and recover quickly.
- Don’t keep going. Allow your body to rest.
- Drink water, and then drink some more.
- Powdered Vitamin C in juice or water is easier to swallow than tablet. It soothes sore throats as it passes over the inflamed mucous membranes.
- Add freshly cut ginger, lemon and honey to hot water for a healing drink. Ginger helps break down and expel mucous, lemon is high in vitamin C and honey is an antibacterial and antiviral and soothes sore throats.
- Only take warming foods and drinks. Cold food and drink weakens your immune system and can lead to a worse cough.
- Hot baths followed by wrapping well can help sweat the virus out of your system. Don’t wet your hair. If you’re suffering from aching muscles adding 1 – 2 cups of Epsom salts to ease muscular pain.
- Avoid dairy, wheat, eggs and bananas which are all mucous forming.
- Avoid sugar which compromises your immune system
Homeopathy For Colds and Flu
There are many excellent homeopathic remedies for coughs, colds and flu. They are virtually free of side effects, are non-addictive, and safe when used within homeopathic prescribing guidelines, Homeopathic remedies work at the level of the immune system and can affect your overall health.
There are many, many homeopathic remedies for colds, coughs and flu. Here are just a few.
Homeopathic Remedies For Colds
Aconite is for early stages of colds and flu. Take in the first 24 hours after the onset of the illness as after this it’s unlikely to be useful. Symptoms appear suddenly after exposure to cold, dry winds or after getting chilled. There’s a high fever which alternates with chills. The face is warm and flushed, with constricted pupils. A person needing Aconite is fearful, anxious and very restless.
Allium cepa is a great remedy for a common cold with eyes and nose that stream. The eyes are red and smart with lots of bland tears. The nasal discharge is watery and profuse and burns the skin below the nose. There can be much sneezing especially when coming into a warm room. This person always feels better in the fresh air.
The nose blocks in the evening or in a warm room when Pulsatilla is needed. The nasal catarrh can be thick or watery, and yellow or yellow-green colour. There may be inflamed eyelids with a thick discharge from the eyes. Taste and smell may be lost. This person is markedly better in the fresh air and for cold applications. They are much worse in a warm room which can cause sneezing, getting hot or when they lie down. Their mood may be tearful, affectionate – even clingy, and they have a strong desire for company.
There will be profuse watery nasal discharge like raw egg white and violent sneezing when Nat mur is needed. Their eyes are sore and sensitive to light. They feel worse in the sun and in warm stuffy rooms and better in the open air.
Homeopathic Remedies For Coughs
A great remedy for a dry, irritating, spasmodic cough with great dryness of air passages. The throat is dry and constricted and breathing rasping and wheezy. There’s very little expectoration which tastes salty. This person is worse in a warm room and from talking. They’re better for swallowing, warm drinks, and for sitting up and bending forward.
Rumex has an incessant hoarse, barking cough that comes in paroxysms. They feel like there’s a crumb stuck in their throat which tickles. The cough can prevent sleep and is so affected by cold air they must put their head under the bedclothes to stop.
The Antimonium cough is one of cold, damp weather. It’s wet and rattling in the chest or larynx, but unproductive. Respiration is difficult and is relieved by expectoration. There’s marked respiratory distress requiring use of the accessory respiration muscles. They are worse in the evening and when they lie down, but are better if they sit erect.
This is a dry, wheezy cough that comes on after midnight. They find it difficult to lie down and are fearful they will suffocate. There’s a burning pain in the chest or even a darting pain in the upper lung. Respiration is wheezing. They may feel a burning heat all over and at the same time very chilly. They need to be wrapped warmly but like their head open to fresh air. A person needing this remedy feels exhausted and very restless, often fiddling with the bedclothes. They are worse from cold in any form and better from heat and warm drinks.
This dry, hoarse cough comes on after exposure to cold, dry winds. The voice is hoarse or even lost. They will cough whenever any part of their body gets cold or is uncovered, especially from a draft of cold air under the doona. A useful remedy for croupy barking coughs. They’re much worse in cold, dry air and better in warm, moist air.
Homeopathic Remedies For Flu
This is the number one homeopathic remedy for flu. If it’s taken at the onset of flu it reduces the duration and intensity significantly. It’s indicated for the symptoms of flu including fever, chills, aches and pains. Take it as soon as you show any sign of getting the flu. Once flu has become established you may need a different remedy.
This type of flu develops slowly and creates a feeling of fatigue and great heaviness. Everything feels heavy, even the eyelids. Limbs tremble and there’s a feeling of great unsteadiness. Shivering and chills are felt up and down the spine, without perspiration. There may be a headache feeling like a tight band right around the head. The person feels dull and very sleepy with concentration difficult. They are dry but not thirsty. They generally feel worse mid-morning and when the weather changes from dry to cold and wet. Strangely they feel better after urinating, from stimulants like alcohol or in the open air.
When this remedy is needed the severe aches and pains spread to the bones as well as the muscles. Even the eyes ache. There’s a chill followed by sweating. The head may throb and feel like a tight pressure on the whole skull. The face is red and congested and the person is very thirsty. They feel worse if they move, outside in the open air, or from 7-9am. They’re better from rest or warmth, and everything except the headache is better after perspiring.
Baptisia is a good remedy for gastric flu with vomiting and diarrhoea. It comes on suddenly with a high fever and profuse perspiration. They have an intense thirst. The muscles are very sore. This person is quite delirious with confused ideas. They feel as if their limbs are in pieces and scattered all over. They look dazed and sluggish, even falling asleep while talking. Their face is dull and red. They are worse in humid heat and indoors.
These are just a few of the more common homeopathic remedies for these ailments. Consult your Homeopath for a remedy that matches your symptoms.
Don’t forget once you start to feel better it’s essential to remember you are more vulnerable than normal and so you need to take things easier for a while. Cut back your schedule and keep your stress levels down to prevent any relapse. Be kind and allow yourself some self-care.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.