|Posted on March 31, 2015 at 12:40 AM|
By: Maeghan Laws, Registered Homeopath
Homeopathy for Colds and Influenza
As we are well into cold and flu season this year, many people are seeking homeopathic remedies for treatment. Let’s start by examining what a “cold” actually is and how to differentiate symptoms from the “flu.” I will review some general tips for avoiding colds and flu, as well as some natural ways to treat both illnesses. Lastly, I will discuss common homeopathic remedies for adults and children.
The Common Cold
Colds can occur all year, but especially during the autumn and winter months. Often, a virus will enter the body through the mucus membranes of the eyes or nose and symptoms will appear 2-3 days after exposure. At this time, the person is infectious and can spread the cold to others. While often shrugged off as more of a nuisance, colds can develop into sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. Typical cold symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and coughing. Colds generally last from 3 to 7 days unless a bacterial infection sets in while the person has a weakened immune system from the cold.
Seasonal Influenza (or the Flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a strain of the influenza virus. Often, the flu virus is spread through droplets when infected people cough, sneeze or talk and can infect someone up to 6 feet away. These droplets can land on the mouth or nose and can be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person can contract the flu by touching an infected surface and then touching his/her own mouth or nose. Common Flu symptoms include fever, chills, sweats, aches, fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat and diarrhea. People can infect others starting from one day before the onset of symptoms and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body, which means that it is easy to infect others before the person is even aware that he/she is sick. The Flu generally lasts from a few days to less than two weeks. Complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections or the worsening of chronic health problems, such as asthma or congestive heart failure.
General Tips for Avoiding the Common Cold
It is a common misconception that coughing and sneezing are the main ways to spread a cold. In fact, it is usually through skin to skin contact, such as shaking hands or touching a surface that a sick person has touched. You can reduce your risk of a catching a cold simply by washing your hands. As the virus enters through your eyes or nose, try your best to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes or nose particularly if your hands are not washed. Vitamin D, either through supplementation or through sun exposure, is a great way to boost your immune system to help fight viruses and bacteria. Additionally, healthy lifestyle choices will help your body to build up resistance to colds and flus. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. Lastly, stress reduction and maintaining a positive outlook on life strengthens immunity.
General Tips for Avoiding Influenza
As with the common cold, washing your hands with soap and water helps to reduce your risk of infection. Avoiding sick people or staying home if you are sick helps to reduce your risk. Linens, eating utensils and dishes should not be shared and should be washed thoroughly. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned ad disinfected at home, work and school.
Natural Ways to Treat the Common Cold
Generally speaking, everyone should be drinking 8 to 10 gasses of fluids each day, particularly water with lemon or herbal tea. This will thin the mucus within the body and make it easier for the body to expel it. Additionally, reducing or eliminating dairy products will stop related mucus production. It goes without saying that rest is one of the most important steps to preventing or recovering from any illness.
You can stimulate your immune system through the consumption of oregano (herb). I highly recommend using Oil of Oregano to stop a cold before it starts. Oregano is an excellent anti-inflammatory and one of nature’s most powerful antibiotics. It contains phenolic acids, flavonoids and carvacol, which boosts immunity, increases resistance and kills bacteria. Additionally, lemon can be squeezed into a cup of water or tea every few hours to alkalinize the body. Garlic is an excellent remedy for sore throats and infections, cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and turmeric contains curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
For fever reduction, the Wet Sock technique is quite successful, as it triggers a reflex response from your body to relieve nasal congestion and reduce fever. At bedtime, place your feet in a tub of hot water until they are hot and pink. Soak a pair of cotton socks in ice water and wring them out. Immediately put the cold socks over your hot feet, cover with a thick pair of socks and climb into bed.
10 Potential Cold/Flu Homeopathic Remedies for Adults:
Homeopathic remedies can provide safe and effective treatment for all types of colds or flus. You may wish to follow these recommendations or visit a homeopath for a proper prescription. All homeopathic remedies are safe for use from babies to the elderly when following the instructions. To treat your cold, review the remedies below to see which one best matches your symptoms and follow the instructions on the remedy vial. If there is no improvement by 3-4 doses, you will need to reassess your symptoms and move on to another remedy.
1. Aconite Napellus – Indications for this remedy include colds which come on very quickly, especially after exposure to cold where the person is very feverish, achy and does not want to move. The flu would come on suddenly and intensely accompanied by fever, anxiety, constricted pupils and strong thirst. The person may feel fearful or agitated, and the fever can alternate with chills. Symptoms are often worst around midnight. Exposure to cold wind or a shock of some kind often precedes the illness. Aconite is also a useful remedy for the beginning stages of an acute illness, such an earache, sore throat, urinary tract infection, fever or any other illness that comes on suddenly with great intensity.
2. Apis Mellifica – Indications for this remedy include having a dry fever that alternates with sweating, facial flushing and a very sore throat with swollen tonsils. Pain may extend to the ears and the eyelids may be swollen. Exposure to cool air and cold applications may bring relief. Despite the fever, thirst usually is low. The person can be very irritable, disliking interference. Other indications include thirstlessness, better with cold application and open air, worse with heat, touch and pressure.
3. Arsenicum Album – Indications for the remedy include feeling chilly, restless and weak diarrhea, especially from food poisoning and flu. The person feels chilly and exhausted, with anxious restlessness. He/she may be thirsty, but often only takes small sips. The person may experience nausea with burning pain, or vomiting and acrid diarrhea. If the flu is respiratory, a watery, runny nose with sneezing paroxysms and a dry or wheezing cough are often seen. The person’s head usually feels hot, while the rest of the body is chilly. Symptoms include burning sensations associated with the watery, foul stools. Arsenicum Album is also a useful remedy for fevers where there is a lot of restlessness or anxiety, or for colds with a burning nasal discharge, restlessness and fearfulness.
4. Belladonna - This remedy is indicated when there are sudden, intense symptoms including fever, red face, hot skin, and extreme sensitivity to light and jarring. Other symptoms include a very red sore throat, a pounding headache, a nagging cough, or other throbbing and inflammatory symptoms. The person’s hands and feet may feel cold despite high fever. Chills and heat may alternate.
5. Bryonia – This remedy is indicated if symptoms include a headache, cough, constipation, thirst and irritability. This remedy is often prescribed when a person feels very hot and dry, is thirsty for cold drinks and experience aching all over. With the flu, the person would feel grumpy and miserable with the desire to only to lie still and be left alone. Flu symptoms may be accompanied by headache, muscle aches, stomach pain or cough and everything feels worse from even the slightest motion. The person may also have a dry mouth, with a thirst for long cold drinks.
6. Eupatorium Perfoliatum - Indications for this remedy are flu/colds that cause aches and chills in your back and bones, fatigue, thirst and bad headaches. It is helpful for severe aching deep in the bones with soreness everywhere. Generally, there will be a great thirst for cold drinks. Specifically, there will be deep aches in the bones and muscles, eyeball pain, yellow tongue and a painful cough. The person will be exhausted with a desire for cold food and drinks, which are vomited as soon as they warm in the stomach. The fever would be preceded by chills, especially from 7:00 to 9:00 A.M.
7. Gelsemium - Indications for this remedy are flu/colds with feelings of dizziness, drowsiness and weakness but momentarily better after urinating. Other indications include heavy, droopy eyes, feeling weak and tired with aches and chills up and down the back and a desire to be alone. Symptoms can include a hot head and face (with chills that go up and down the back) and a burning headache (beginning at the back of the neck and skull), without any real sense of thirst. The onset of flu would be gradual with fatigue and achiness increasing over several days. This may be accompanied by anxiety, dizziness, moderate fever, trembling and perspiration.
8. Nux Vomica – Indications for this remedy are for a flu associated with thoroughly chilled feelings, such as the inability to get warm with aching limbs/back and upset stomach upset. Other indications include high fever, violent chills, strong nausea, cramping in the digestive tract (or a painful cough and constricted breathing if the flu is respiratory) and headache. There may be an oversensitivity to sound, bright light and odors, with feelings of irritability. The person would feel worse from exertion and from being cold in any way.
9. Phosphorus – Indications for this remedy include a flu that is accompanied by fever with an easily-flushing face with headache, sore throat, cough, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting and hoarseness of the voice. The person would feel very weak and dizzy with strong anxiety. He/She would want others to be around to offer company and reassurance. There would also be a strong thirst, with a tendency to vomit when liquids warm up in the stomach.
10. Sulphur - Indications for this remedy include a flu that is very long-lasting or has some lingering symptoms, such as the case when people have neglected to take good care of themselves. The person may feel hot and sweaty, with low fever and reddish mucous membranes. Symptoms, either digestive or respiratory, will often have a hot or burning quality. Heat aggravates the symptoms, and the person often feels worse after bathing.