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The important things to remember with
flu (see note below) and other acute infections is that there are things we can
do to build up our immune system so we can better fight these
nasty bugs. It takes both a susceptibility to the virus or
bacteria as well as the exposure in order to get sick. Both of
these parameters can be influenced by the choices we make.
Cold and Flu - What's the Difference? to recognize the difference between
colds, the flu and a stomach flu.)
The main way that cold and influenza
viruses are spread is through contaminated secretions from
coughing, sneezing and the hands of someone sick. We can lessen
our exposure by washing our hands with soap and water and using
surface disinfectants in contaminated areas (i.e., where other
people with colds may be).
We can avoid spreading it to others by the obvious things your
mother taught you - cover your month when coughing and sneezing
with a tissue or handkerchief and wash your hands regularly.
Another really good way to prevent others from getting sick is
to stay home when sick. It will also speed your recovery!
To improve your resistance to the bugs cut
down on simple sugars such as desserts, sweet snacks and fruit
juice (they depress the immune system), eat a whole foods
healthy diet, take a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement,
get enough sleep, and lessen the stresses in your life. Anything
that is physically or emotionally stressful can depress the
immune system. In many people dairy tends to produce more and
thicker nasal mucus and can encourage secondary bacterial
infections to develop that lead to sinus and ear infections. So
for these people avoiding dairy during the illness is highly
Once you sense you may be coming down with
something (e.g., a scratchy throat) - don’t wait! This is the
time to jump on it. Immediately start high dose vitamin C and an
Echinacea/Goldenseal combination herbal formula. We really like
Herb Pharm’s Echinacea/Goldenseal but others are good too.
Sometimes this will kick the virus out before it ever gets
going. If that is not doing enough you can add other herbs like
Astragalus and Black Elderberry. There are also herbal cough
elixirs that are very helpful for symptomatic relief of coughs
and Zinc Lozenges are helpful with sore throats. And finally
don’t forget to do the Cold
Sock Treatment (for nasal congestion) and Fever
Therapy (for when the body has not produced its own fever).
Garlic in any form is an excellent addition
to the infection fighting arsenal. The very best is raw
organic garlic. This is pretty intense and not for the faint of
mouth, or stomach, but eating it raw will give you the most
benefit. It helps to slice it up and take it with a little bread
or other food. An ideal dose would be 2 to 4 cloves per day. Of
course, you will stink but the microbes won't like it either.
All the other ways of getting it in are also useful (cooked,
capsules, etc.). We can't know what a correct dose will be for
any particular encapsulated garlic product you may be using, but
here is a suggestion: try to at least double the dose suggested
on the bottle when you are sick. One
caution: don't leave raw sliced or chopped garlic in contact
with your skin or mucous membranes (e.g., mouth) for longer than
it takes to chew it up and swallow.
Recommended adult doses:
Echinacea/goldenseal – ½ dropper 6 times a day (tincture), or
2 capsules 6 times a day
Vitamin C – 1000 mg 6 times a day
Vitamin D3 – 2000 I.U. per day
Astragalus – ½ dropper 4 times a day, or 2 capsules 4 times a
Black Elderberry – ½ dropper 4 times a day
additional herbal antivirals are oil of oregano and olive leaf
For children cut down the doses proportionately by weight. Do
not use goldenseal with pregnancy, although echinacea can still
All of these supplements are available
through our office and can be mailed.
Please note: The true
influenza is a difficult acute disease to self-treat.
Although you should do the home treatments recommended on this
page you may want to come in to the clinic for an acute
homeopathic remedy specifically tailored to your case. Acute
homeopathy is a very powerful and effective way a treating acute
infections, even the worse flu. No other treatment, natural or
pharmaceutical, works as well for influenza. At our clinic we
have had very consistent success with flu cases, no matter how
sever or threatening.
This self treatment should never be used if you are not
completely sure of the diagnosis of your, or your child's,
health problem and should only be used after your qualified
health care provider has evaluated the condition. This advice is
meant to augment and not replace the necessary care of a
licensed primary care provider. If the health problem is serious
enough that you would consider calling your primary care
provider, you should still call him or her. However, even in
those cases where other treatment is prescribed you will often
find these treatments helpful.