Cold and Flu Home Care

It’s the time of year again – with the colder weather also comes more frequent viral infections, like the common cold and the flu.

If you’ve come down with the common cold or mild flu, these simple supports can help reduce the severity and duration of your symptoms. However, consult a health-care provider if you have a fever higher than 390C (380C if you are undergoing chemotherapy), unexplained skin rash, any change in consciousness, weight change or if your symptoms do not improve after 10 days.

1. Steam Inhalation – steam inhalation can help reduce cold symptoms and lessen nasal and sinus congestion.

Supplies: a large bowl of recently boiled water, a towel, optional 1-2 drops of essential oil (eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, or thyme)

Instructions:

  • Carefully pour the hot water into the bowl and drape the towel over the back of your head.
  • Lower your head toward the hot water until you’re about 8 to 12 inches away from the water. Be extremely careful to avoid making direct contact with the water.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for at least two to five minutes.
  • Turn on a timer and close your eyes.
  • Don’t steam longer than 10 to 15 minutes for each session. However, you can repeat steam inhalation two or three times per day, as needed, if you’re still having symptoms.

2. Zinc Gluconate Lozenges: These have been studied and shown to reduce the severity and/or duration of cold symptoms. Look for one that contains 5-10 mg of zinc per lozenge. At the first sign of a cold take 1 lozenge every 2 waking hours for the first 2 days and then decrease your dose to 3 times per day until you are feeling better.

3. Flu-fighting Teas: Teas can help with hydration, symptom control as well as provide some antimicrobial activity.

Ingredients:

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to 3 cups of water in a small saucepan. Stir until the honey is dissolved and bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and let mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes. Strain into a mug and enjoy warm or cold.

Please stay well and safe this Winter and remember that frequent handwashing, not touching your face, and annual vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu.