INFLUENZA (FLU) IS A COMMON, HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS VIRUS THAT AFFECTS THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.
There are two basic seasonal influenza viruses – A and B – can cause a mild to serious illness in people and even death in young children, older adults and vulnerable people. These flu’s are called winter flu’s as they commonly emerge each year, mostly in the winter months.
TYPICAL SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU IN ADULTS CAN INCLUDE:
- sudden onset of fever
- sore throat
- runny nose
- fatigue (tiredness)
- general aches and pains
- nose, throat and lung congestion.
Most people recover within a few days, but in some people with existing medical conditions more serious infections can occur such as pneumonia or inflammation of the lungs, resulting in prolonged illness.
INFLUENZA SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN
Some unique symptoms that occur more often in children than in adults are:
- nausea (feeling sick)
It’s important to monitor your child closely with the flu. If they or others that are vulnerable display any of the following symptoms seek medical help immediately:
- fast breathing or difficulty breathing
- skin starts to turn blue
- refusal to eat or drink
- not waking up properly or not interacting
- being extremely irritable, and not wanting to be held
- fever and a rash
- persistent vomiting
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR THE FLU
- The Oil Garden makes a Breathe Easier essential oil which when added to a carrier oil such as olive oil, sweet almond oil or avocado oil and rubbed on the chest may help to break down any congestion and help to warm the lungs
- Use steam inhalations of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water. Lean over the bowl with a towel over your head and spend ten minutes inhaling the vapours. This may temporarily alleviate the nasal congestion associated with flu symptoms
- Herbs such as Mullein, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Echinacea, Andrographis, Licorice, Poke Root, Golden Seal and Olive Leaf help to restore immune function, build white blood cells, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, reduce fever and congestion, reduce the symptoms associated with a cold, cough or flu and also provide anti-oxidants to the immune and lymphatic system to cleanse the body of impurities
- Vitamin C powder added to water and gargled will help to provide anti-oxidants to the respiratory system and help reduce inflammation in the throat. Add some Echinacea or Olive Leaf liquid for an even better throat gargle
- Probiotics may help to restore the immune system by providing it with beneficial bacteria
DIET TIPS FOR THE PREVENTING AND TREATING THE FLU
- Herbal teas such as fenugreek and rosehip, licorice, echinacea, lemon with ginger and honey may help to ease congestion and also provide the body with Vitamin c
- Eat Vitamin C rich foods (for its immuno modulating effects) such as strawberries, acerola cherry, oranges, grapefruits, lemon and limes, kakadu Plums, black currants, kiwi, bell peppers, guava, brussels sprouts, melons, Dark Leafy Greens such as kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, chard, and spinach, camu camu fruit, broccoli, indian gooseberry, tomatoes and herbs such as cilantro, chives, thyme, basil, and parsley
- Ensure that you keep properly hydrated (at least two litres of fluid/ day) as dehydration will slow down your recovery and reduce the amount of metabolic wastes excreted via the kidneys
- Eat simple alkalising foods such as chicken soup, miso soup, vegetable juices and steamed green leafy vegetables. These meal ideas will lighten the load on the digestive system and leave more energy reserves for the immune system, encourage liver detoxification, reduce acid and provide the body with anti-oxidants
- Include Manuka honey in warm some warm lemon drinks as it is a demulcent (soothing) for the respiratory tract and is also an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial to improve immune resistance
- Reduce acid forming foods that contribute to mucus congestion such as dairy foods, sugar and wheat. Naturopathic philosophy considers that alkalising the body is one of the most important practices for revitalising your health. Our diets tend to be mostly acid forming. The only alkaline foods are fresh fruit and vegetables, and a couple of different grains (millet, buckwheat). All ‘alive’ growing foods like sprouts and soaked grains and seeds are alkaline forming also
- Eat plenty of garlic, ginger, chillies and horseradish in your diet as these will act as a decongestant as well as help to open up the sinus cavities.
- Eat Vitamin D rich foods (for its antimicrobial action) such as salmon, cod liver oil, mushrooms and egg yolks
- Eat Vitamin A rich foods (for its cell protective qualities) such as Liver meats, dark green leafy vegetables e.g spinach and chard, orange fleshed plants such as sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins, mangoes and papayas
LIFESTYLE FACTORS FOR THE FLU
- It is very important to keep warm and keep cold wind (the invading pathogen) away from the kidneys
- Get plenty of rest and sleep so that your body recovers properly.
- Increase your melatonin to aid sleep and modulate immune response.