Fight Off Colds and Flu with These Tips
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Published by TOP4 Team
Blocked noses, sore throats, aching limbs and fever are symptoms we have to contend with regardless of the season, with antibiotics powerless to help us fight off the season’s viral invaders. However, most colds can be treated effectively with traditional home remedies.
In the past, people often used the terms cold and flu interchangeably. Today, doctors distinguish between the two. If symptoms come on gradually and include a sore throat, headache, achy limbs, coughing, a runny nose, elevated temperature or slight fever, you probably have a cold. By contrast, flu comes on fast and hits hard, accompanied by a high fever and chills – you will feel too ill to get up. But drink plenty of fluids to flush out your system and prevent dehydration.
TO REDUCE FEVER
Fever is the body’s response to Illness and actually serves to fight infection. But a temperature higher than 39.5℃ will make you miserable. While the local pharmacy offers a wide range of often expensive relief, you may find the following traditional remedies equally effective.
- Apply leg compresses to reduce fever over time. Dip two linen or closely woven cotton cloths in cold water, wring them out and wrap tightly around the calves with a warm towel on top. Repeat as needed.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Good choices include: fruit juices rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, such as orange, blackcurrant and cranberry; non-carbonated mineral water with a dash of fruit juice; or herbal or fruit teas, especially vitamin C-rich rosehip tea. Another classic: mix the juice of a lemon with 1 teaspoon of honey in 1 cup (250ml) of hot water
- Lime flower or elderflower tea, which are often referred to in traditional medicine as ‘fever teas’, can assist in bringing on sweating – the body’s natural way of cooling itself – to help reduce a fever. To get the maximum benefits, sip a few cups and then have a hot bath before snuggling up under a pile of blankets. When you begin to sweat, wait 2 hours and then dry off. Change your clothes and, if necessary, the bedclothes. Drink some fluids and return to bed.
TO RELIEVE ACHES AND PAINS
Traditional wisdom has it that a hot-water bottle can relieve pain, promote circulation and help you to feel relaxed. Scientists have discovered why: heat can physically shut down the normal pain response that triggers aches and pains. “It deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers,” says one senior researcher in physiology at University College London. But heat brings only temporary relief, so frequent applications may be necessary.
- Evidence dating back to 4500BC reveals that the ancients favoured warm compresses of peat, mud and fuller’s earth. Now we have the luxury of a hot bath or a heating pad to ease pain.
- Apply a mustard plaster, a traditional congestion remedy. Crush a few tablespoons of mustard seeds (or use mustard powder), add the powder to 100g of flour and mix with a little water to form a paste. Apply to the chest and leave on for 15 minutes.
If colds and fever don’t go away after two days or more, take the patient to the medical clinic immediately.