Winter can be a beautiful season where we get excited to break out our cute and comfy winter wardrobe, but with that comes the cold and flu season. In fact, this year in California we’re having one of the deadliest flu outbreaks in a decade. We’re also hearing that the flu vaccine hasn’t been very effective. So what now? We use hand sanitizer, steer clear of our sick friends and family, and take multivitamins to avoid it. It would be great if all our preventative and avoidant behavior could guarantee us a healthy winter, but often times viruses catch up to us and then we’re forced to deal with the unfun consequences. For those times when you’re feeling awful, try these natural remedies to fight a cold or even worse the dreaded flu.
- Body aches
- Stuffy Nose
- Respiratory symptoms
- Sore/dry throat
- Upset stomach
When we are sick our bodies become dehydrated, especially if we’re sick with the stomach flu. When this happens, it makes it harder to fight the infection. But what should we drink when we feel like death? Our go-to choices are water with electrolytes like smartwater, orange juice, flat ginger ale, coconut water, herbal tea, ice chips, and broth. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll probably feel like you’re dying of thirst, but it’s important not to down big gulps. Instead, take small sips in order to prevent making your stomach feel worse. Also, skip the caffeine and alcohol which can lower your immune system.
Colds affect your upper respiratory tract, which can cause a bunch of annoying symptoms like a runny nose, body aches, congestion, pressure, watery eyes, and a cough. Influenza can cause stomach upset, vomiting, body aches, and a fever. Drinking warm herbal teas can help to lessen the severity of these symptoms. Choose one of these tea’s and add a dollop of antioxidant-rich honey and squeeze some lemon in for the Vitamin C.
Grandma’s favorite remedy still holds true today! Chicken soup has major benefits when you’re sick. It suppresses your body's natural inflammatory response to an infection. It contains a component called carnosine, which is beneficial in the body’s immune response and can can help fight off the viruses. Also, as you sip the hot liquid, the steam can help to clear your head and relieve pressure. But you can’t live on chicken soup for a week so what else should you eat? Since cold and flus are very different, they require different diets. We’ve separated what you should eat into two different categories:
Instead of taking a pill and waiting for the medicated relief to take effect, why not attack the affected area directly? Seagate's Olive Leaf Nasal Spray contains all natural ingredients like olive leaf extract, and grapefruit seed extract, and provides fast relief to clogged sinuses and a runny nose.
A neti pot is another great option for cleaning out your sinuses, and this method is very direct and instant. It may sound like a scary option for those who have never tried it, but the neti pot by Himalayan Institute is recommended by Dr. Oz and has been awarded the blue ribbon for best of the best alternative solutions.
This plant extract has been used for centuries and seems to have a positive effect on your immune system. Research shows that Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells, which helps to fight infections. You can choose between a pill, tea, drops, and lozenges. When it’s consumed at the onset of a cold or flu, it can shorten the duration, as well as the severity. Another bonus; there are very little side effects! Not all supplements are created equal though, so it’s best to purchase from stores that specialize in alternative medicine like Whole Foods or Pharmaca.
A humidifier releases moisturized air into the room, helping to alleviate skin dryness and ease labored breathing. It also helps to alleviate symptoms of a cold or flu, particularly by relieving dry nasal passages. The humidifier by VicTsing can work dually as an oil diffuser. Simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and you can enjoy a pleasant scent while this device works to help you fight your illness. This is a natural remedy that can be used as a simple pleasure even after your sickness has passed and you might even find yourself at the store hunting for other lovely oils for your humidifier to diffuse into your home.
Another way to fight your cold or flu is with a detox bath. When you use essential oils which provide antioxidant, antimicrobial benefits, it can help flush out impurities allowing you to sweat out the toxins. So put on some relaxing music, light some candles, and turn your bathroom into a spa by trying this recipe from MindBodyGreen. You can read more about this detox bath and how it works here.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup epsom salt
- 1/2 c baking soda
- 4 T ground ginger (more or less depending on your tolerance)
- Essential oils of choice
Netflix and Chill
There are many reasons why you should stay home if you’re feeling under the weather. Rest is important for getting over any illness because your body needs time to fight the infection. The average time it takes to get over a cold is 7-10 days, and for the flu it’s around 5 days. The CDC recommends that you stay home for 24 hours after your fever has broken. Another reason to take time off is to be considerate of not passing it on to your co-workers or classmates.
When you’re sick at home here are some ideas to entertain yourself besides sleeping:
- Drink some hot tea and read a good book.
- Have a movie marathon.
- Binge watch a new TV show. Some of our favorites are The Deuce, Divorce, Big Little Lies, and The Affair.
- Create an upbeat playlist.
- Create a Pinterest board of healthy foods to make.
- Do an online crossword puzzle.
- Give your bedroom a mini makeover.
- Start a journal.
- Take a class- from bed!
- Do some gentle stretching.
- Light some candles and soak in the tub.
- If you’re feeling better go for a walk.
- Make some homemade soup.
- Make a healthy smoothie.
- Go on Linkedin and update your resume.
- Learn a new computer program like Photoshop.
- Create a college or mood board.
- Read some fashion magazines like Vogue, W, or Nylon and get excited for all the new spring and summer trends.
We hope this article has opened you up to the many various options to help heal your sickness through a more natural and holistic approach. Of course, if you have a high fever or your not getting better it’s best to get some professional advice. Did you know that you can talk with a doctor from the comfort of your own home? Doctor on Demand lets you Facetime 24/7 with a physician that can prescribe meds and send you for lab work if needed, and it’s covered by most insurances!
Do you have any tried and true remedies for getting over a cold or flu? Share them with our readers.