Home treatments for cold and flu
In addition to homeopathic remedies, when someone calls in with a cold or the flu I often recommend some home treatments to make them feel better. Whether you have congestion in the head from a cold, or chest congestion with a respiratory infection you can benefit from these treatments.
Let your body heal itself
When we start feeling ill, we think we can knock it out with extra Vitamin C, fluids, wellness formulas, the latest natural flu remedy and lots of ibuprofen. While all that might help, there are other tried and true home treatments that can truly help you feel better and allow the body to heat itself more naturally. You will even get you back to the gym more quickly!
First, and probably most importantly, is to get adequate rest. Just staying in bed for one day is sometimes enough to allow the body to get over whatever was about to pull you down. You get up the second day almost 100% and sail through the rest of the week. Can’t say enough about the importance of allowing the body time to heal itself. While lying there watching videos and reading the latest spy novel between naps, be sure to increase your fluids intake quite a lot. Make sure some of it is plain water, hot or cold, maybe a little lemon and honey in it, and the rest is low sugar beverages that make you feel good…
Bring down fevers the natural way
If you have a fever, a tepid (warm) sponge bath from head to toe can do the same, if not more, for you as ibuprofen. Here are the details:
Use tepid (lukewarm) water only, not cold water, no ice or alcohol.
1. With a washcloth gently bathe one section of the body at a time, moving from head to toe.
2. Only uncover the part of the body being bathed.
3. Alternatively, if the child wishes, he or she may get into a lukewarm bathtub.
4. Repeat as often as necessary, even several times in succession, finishing at the toes and starting again at the head.
5. This gently lowers the fever to a comfortable level.
6. This treatment is meant to be soothing and comforting, as well as therapeutic.
Sometimes with a cold or the flu there is an accompanying respiratory infection with some congestion in the chest and head. The following three methods can reduce the congestion and clear your head.
a. Steam inhalation therapy – boil water with pinch of turmeric (a common Indian spice found in any food store), remove pot from stove, cover head with a towel and inhale the steam from the pot. Be careful not to burn yourself or your child on the hot pot.
b. Heat mustard oil (available at an Indian market) with a clove of garlic and rub on chest and soles of feet
c. The wet sock treatment is a long-standing naturopathic therapy for stimulating the immune system. It works hemodynamically by moving the blood to a specific area of the body (in this case the feet) thereby relieving the pressure in the head.
1 Pair of white cotton socks
1 Pair of thick wool socks
Warm bath or warm foot bath
1. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with ice cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.
2. Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 10 minutes (preferable).
3. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.
4. Place the cold wet socks on the feet. Cover with the thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.
5. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.
When to get help
Seek homeopathic treatment if no improvement after 3 days or if symptoms worsen. Your constitutional remedy is the best preventive for colds and flus. Be sure it is up to date!
You should seek treatment if there is no improvement in your symptoms or a worsening of your symptoms after three days. Always seek help if the fever persists beyond three days or there is any trouble breathing. Any time a severe headache or stiff neck is part of the picture along with a high fever, seek advice, as it could be a serious infection.