As the evenings draw in and the nights are longer, the dreaded ‘lurgy’ starts to spread. The confined spaces, lack of fresh air and easy spread of droplets from people coughing or sneezing lead to increased transmission of colds and ‘flu.
The common cold and seasonal ‘flu are caused by viruses which often result in headaches, runny nose, congestion, body aches and pains, sore throat and coughing.
‘Flu symptoms differ from colds in that the onset is usually more sudden, it includes fever and the symptoms are more severe.
Prevention is always is better than cure (although some argue that a regular dose of the latest virus is essential to keep our immune system primed and up to date – not a bad argument) and the best way to prevent contracting colds and ‘flu is to have a healthy immune system. The foundations of a healthy immune system come from looking after your body by getting enough sleep, regular exercise, a wholesome and balanced diet and learning to deal with daily challenges in a healthy, mindful way.
In addition, the following may help to improve the immune response:
- Take a basic multivitamin and during the cold and flu season add Vitamin C at least 1000mg once or twice a day
- Herbals and immune supporters such as Echinacea root, ginseng, garlic, zinc and vitamin D may help protect us against cold and flu
- Minimise exposure to people who are ill, be careful about the spread of germs, wash your hands frequently and wipe down common surfaces with a topical disinfectant
Traditionally flu vaccines are manufactured from different strains of virus grown on egg white. The WHO chooses the strains of the virus that have been the most prevalent during the previous flu season and incorporates those in the vaccine developed for the Southern Hemisphere.
It doesn’t protect against all strains of flu and it takes the body about 2 weeks to develop antibodies against the flu virus in the vaccine which is why it is recommended before the flu season starts.
People who are recommended to have a flu vaccine include patients with chronic diseases, people over the age of 65, people who are immunosuppressed, health care personnel, caregivers, people who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, people with pulmonary conditions, babies and children over 6 months.
As the flu vaccine becomes an increasingly hotly contested topic, people are considering more healthy alternative options. Homeopathy has been used successfully around the world for over 200 years and is a safe and effective option for preventing flu.
Biotherapeutic ‘Flu Shots: At Thrive I have prepared a combination Cold and ‘Flu prophylactic which comes as a course of 3 injections. This formulation is based on biotherapeutic principles and uses a combination of products from HEEL. Message me at 0837899328 to make arrangements if this is the route you decide to take. R250 for the course.
Oscillococcinum– a tried a trusted broad acting treatment for seasonal viral infections.
Influenzinum – a homeopathic remedy prepared from the influenza virus – is one effective way of preventing the flu. Influenzinum is prepared in the same manner as all homeopathic remedies (with sequential dilutions and successions) so as to render it safe and non-toxic. Influenzinum is the only homeopathic flu remedy updated each year based on the flu strains predicted by the World Health Organization. When shopping for this remedy, be sure to ask for the current year’s preparation.
Tips on treating Colds/flu
- Antibiotics will NOT assist. Please do not pressure your doctor into writing a script for an antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance is becoming a very real and severe issue.
- Drink lots of fluids especially water, fresh juices, and hot herbal teas,
- Consume lots of vegetable soup with added ginger and garlic
- Get plenty of sleep
- Take 1000 to 2000mg of Vitamin C every hour or two until your bowels get loose (then cut back)
- Echinacea root taken 3 to 4 times a day may be helpful if you start at the first signs of colds and ‘flu
- Zinc lozenges may be helpful for sore throats. For coughs and sore throats, try savoring and then swallowing a mixture of 1 tsp honey with 1 to 2 tsp of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Consider a lemon juice cleansing at the onset – this can flush the congestion and microbes and support your healing process.
- Over the counter medicines such as antihistamines, decongestants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can relieve symptoms of congestion, pain, and fever, although fevers should be allowed to run as long as possible without interference.
- If symptoms haven’t improved within a week, then please consult your health care provider.
Dr. Bruce Thomson, homeopath and registered acupuncturist is at Thrive every Tuesday and Thursday. Book your appointment with him email@example.com phone/WhatsApp on 0837899328.
Dr. Bruce Thomson (MTechHom)