Flu is caused by infection with one of the three influenza viruses, called Influenza A, B and C. Flu viruses are small and contained within an envelope which has proteins on it’s surface enabling it to stick to cell in the respiratory tract and cause the symptoms of flu.
Flu has a short incubation period, just 2 days between contact and symptoms arppearing. The severity of the symptoms generally depends on the health of the individual and the virulence of the infection. The flu virus changes each time it replicates, so even if you have had flu recently, you may not be immune to the current strain. This is why flu vaccinations can not offer a guarantee against getting the flu and at best may help alleviate symptoms.
Flu is a killer on its own, especially in people who are vulnerable because of weakened immune systems or they have heart or lung disease. In the elderly it can lead to the development of bacterial infections such as bronchopneumonia.
Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms until the immune system kicks in to defeat the virus.
Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Vitamin C||Boosts the immune system and helps heal inflamed mucous membranes.||1000mg 3 times daily|
|Vitamin A||Vitamin A is essential for the integrity of the lining and protective mucous secretions of the respiratory tract.||50,000iu daily|
|Zinc||Zinc is an important immune nutrient that supports white blood cell function. The lozenge form of zinc reduces the duration and severity of common cold symptoms. When the lozenges are dissolved in the mouth, the zinc appears to possess a direct, local anti-viral activity.||15mg 3 times daily|
|Echinacea||Enhances immune function by increasing the production of white blood cells and stimulating activation of white blood cells. It appears that echinacea is most effective taken at the onset of an infection. In long-term use many herbalists suggest that a 1-2 week break be taken every 8 weeks or so.||1 to 5 gm at 2 hourly intervals|
|Elderberry||Studies show that oral administration of elderberry extract reduces the duration of influenza symptoms from an average of 6 days down to 48 hours. Elderberry inhibits viral DNA replication, and thus this herb may also be useful in non-flu viruses.||1 to 5 gm at 2 hourly intervals|
|Garlic||Anti-bacterial, anti-viral it also helps to break up mucous.||1 to 5 gm at 2 hourly intervals|
|Thyme||Helps as a cough preventive and expectorant||500mg 3 times daily|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
Stay in bed for at least 24 hours and for the first day just have plenty of fluids, grapes, berries, citrus fruits and pears so that your body can rest and focus it’s attention on the immune system and fighting the infection. Juiced vegetables and fruits are particularly helpful as they are easy to digest.
On the second day, add cooked vegetables and salads.
On the third day start eating wholemeal bread, potatoes, brown rice and pasta to push up the white blood cell count.
To alleviate headaches, temperature, aches and pains and cough, drink lots of lemon juice, hot water and honey. Try ginger tea made with raw root ginger steeped in hot water for 10 minutes.
If you have frequent bouts of flu, your immune system needs support, so follow the guidance given in Immune Support.
If your immune system is low, don’t have a flu jab as this will most likely give you flu type symptoms. Taking Korean and Siberian Ginseng for 3 weeks before and after immunisation can help to reduce reactions.
Homoeopathic Remedies which may help. (Refer to the individual remedy for guidance on the one that is most appropriate for you.)
- Apis Mel
- Arsen Alb
- Ferrum Phos
- Nux Vom
- Rhus Tox