How to Fight the Cold and Flu


With the cold and flu season in full swing consider these tips for ways to help get you through these pesky infections quicker.  

Some important things to remember about the cold and flu are:
  • There is no “cure”
    •  All we can do is reduce the severity of symptoms and decrease the duration of illness.
  • Colds and flus are caused by viruses:
    • Therefore antibiotics (which target bacteria) will not be effective.
  • The best treatment is prevention.
    •  Check out our previous post for ways to boost your immune system, improve overall health, and help get you through this winter.
  • The flu shot might be a good option for a select population, but not necessarily for everyone.
Although there is no cure for the common cold or seasonal flu, there are some things that have been shown to be effective in shortening recovery time:
  • Vitamin C:  shown to have a modest effect on decreasing the severity and duration of infection
  •  Zinc:  some evidence shows that zinc can help decrease the severity, shorten the duration, and even help prevent the cold
  • Echinacea:  research shows that when used at the very early stages of a cold, Echinacea can help decrease the symptoms
Other things you can do to help fight infection are: 
  • Avoid excessive amounts of sugar: sugar has been shown to suppress the immune system and hinder recovery
  • Eat protein:  make sure you are eating enough protein on a daily basis--those who are protein deficient are less equipped to fight infection.
  • Drink hot liquids: whether it's a hot cup of tea with lemon or a nice big bowl of chicken noodle soup, hot liquids can help break up congestion during a upper respiratory infection
  • Do steam inhalations: these have been shown to reduce  symptoms such as nasal congestion
Getting the cold and flu is often times unavoidable.  However, if you take care of your body throughout the year and provide a boost to your immune system during times of stress, you may find that catching the cold or flu is less debilitating and easier to manage.

All the best,
Christine


References:

Hemila H, Chalker E, Douglas B. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group. 17 Mar 2010.
Linde K, Barrett B, Bauer R, Melchart D, Woelkart K. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group. 7 Oct 2009.
Prousky J, Hoffer A. Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition. CCNM Press: 2008.
Saketkhoo K, Januszkiewicz A, Sackner MA. Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance.
Singh M, Das B. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group. Issue 10, 2011.
Singh M. Heated, humidified air for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2004(2): CD00178.

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