By Gerald Lopez
People have been having colds and influenza (flus) probably since the beginning of Time. Epidemics started not long after, and flu pandemics now seemingly occur every year!
The main distinguishing features between cold and flu symptoms, are that flus are often accompanied by muscle aches and high temperatures. Flu in addition tends to infect the lungs and cause more malaise (feeling “under the weather”).
In most cases colds and flus are self-limiting – the body’s immune system just deals with it. However, if the immune system is compromised – due to stress, poor diet, prescribed drugs, etc – complications can arise, the most common being pneumonia.
There has been a lot of government and media coverage about Swine Flu (a so-called H1N1 virus) with assertions that it will mutate into a virulent and fatal pandemic, similar to the 1918 Flu Epidemic. This prediction appears entirely untested and unproven, which calls into question the agenda behind the coverage. The Swine Flu symptoms are the same as any moderate common flu.
Treatment of colds and flus
There is no current medical treatment for cold or influenza. There is a French saying: “An untreated cold goes on for seven days; a treated cold lasts for a week!”
The best course is to allow the body’s immune system to do its job:
- Take a rest, relax the mind and sleep.
- Reduce heavy, energy-draining diet and go on a light, digestible diet such as soup and stewed fruits.
- If there is moderate fever, try to go through with it – fever is the body’s way of dealing with the viruses and should be encouraged until sweating occurs.
- Take lots of warm fluids – water, lemon water, ginger tea, Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea, licorice tea.
- Reduce sugar, take honey instead.
- See a health practitioner for herbal support for sinuses, lungs and fever. For those in poor general health, or for young children, see a health practitioner in high fever or if cough has persisted for several days. If a child has high fever, stiff neck and/or a high-pitched cry, take to ER immediately!
Prevention – the best policy!
The most sensible plan is to avoid prolonged colds and flus by boosting the immune system and actively managing excellent health. Here are some tips for you and your family:
- Manage your stress – today, fear and stress is the prime cause of compromised immunity. Do Yoga, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques. Remember, the 1918 Flu Epidemic happened in a time of extreme stress.
- Avoid smoking in the house – better still, don’t smoke.
- Eat well – freshly-made foods from high-quality, organic, local ingredients.
- Sleep well – good-quality sleep relieves stress and enables the body to grow, repair and heal.
- Moderate exercise boosts immunity. Extreme exercise can cause stress and fatigue. Yoga is ideal, especially the strengthening poses.
- A daily deep breathing exercise reduces stress, enlivens Prana (subtle energy), and strengthens the lungs. Ask a good Yoga consultant about a suitable technique for you.
- Take fruits and vegetables which are high in vitamin C.
- Take immune-boosting, stress-adapting and anti-viral herbs as prescribed by a natural health practitioner.
There is an ancient ayurvedic formula that contains one of the most potent vitamin-C fruits – Amla or Amalaki (Embilica officinalis) – and is in the form of a delicious paste called Chawanprash. This is excellent for maintaining good immunity throughout life. A high-quality product is Ayush Herbs Amla Plex, which is available from our clinic.
Visit me and get an effective seasonal health plan. You will then find colds and flus become less frequent, less disturbing and don’t last as long. In addition, you will find yourself worrying less about the flu pandemic hype, and getting on in life with a positive attitude – your best protection.
For bookings call 09 488 0208.