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Here comes the flu!
Good home remedies are hard to find. This time of year, sickness happens. Here’s some suggestions you can do at home.
Cough, cold, or flu?
Viruses and bacteria enter your body through the nose or mouth, then multiply. Your immune system kicks in to kill the bad bugs, and so it begins.
Runny nose: Mucus has increased to wash germs from your nose.
Congestion: The mucus is trying to increase but you’re not taking in enough water to keep it flowing – so it gets stuck in your sinuses and the back of your throat.
The Nose Rule: Let the mucus do its job. Try not to blow your nose. Squeeze, wipe, wash and moisturize with something to waterproof it (I use a combo of beeswax and coconut oil, but vaseline will do). HYDRATE & NOURISH.
Cough: A wet cough means you’re bringing up mucus. If it’s bloody – see a doctor ASAP. Most of the time, if it’s green, it’s bacteria. Yellow, white or clear means a virus. A dry cough means you have irritation, likely mucus tickling on the way down. But it can also mean an infection in there.
The Cough Rule: Coughing is good if it bring up the infection-clearing mucus. Bad if it’s preventing sleep.
The solutions: Breathe as deeply as possible to expand each part of your lungs to keep them clear (try to inhale completely, then hold your breath for a few seconds). Use Vapor Rub on your chest at night with a cloth over it. Keep your chest, neck and mouth warm at all times. One might take a few teaspoons of honey bourbon at night to calm the cough and rest well.
Fever: It’s complicated. But, for now, you just need to know that a fever kills bacteria (like the ones that cause bronchitis, sinus infections, and others). Fever does NOT kill viruses. The problem is that fever weakens your body, and it’s a calculated risk for your immune system. It will weaken you, but kill all the bacteria! But if it’s a cold, the flu or any other virus, the body’s fever response will only make you tired.
The Fever Rule: Is it a bacterial infection like bronchitis or a sinus infection? Let the fever go during the day. Take something to stop it at night, so you can rest. Is it a cold, the flu or other virus? Stop the fever in it’s tracks. You need your strength to fight in other ways. HYDRATE & NOURISH.
Fever in children over 105 or in adults over 102. Emergency method: cold bath (adding ice works), repeatedly swiping isopropol alcohol over the back and letting it air dry. See a doctor for a fever that can’t be stopped with ibuprofen or acetaminophen or lasting more than three days.
Vomiting & Diarrhea: Same idea as with mucus. The germs have invaded your stomach and/or intestines and your body is contracting those muscles to expel the bad boys from you system.
The V&D Rule: Don’t try to stop them. Let them happen. They are serving a purpose. Keep youself very clean until these symptoms have passed. HYDRATE & NOURISH.
The Big Rule: HYDRATE & NOURISH. Why? Because this is taking care of your body and giving it what it needs to fight. Hydration keeps your sinuses clear, your cough productive, and your fever at bay. It gives every cell in your body the ability to rinse itself clean. It removes all the bad from you body quickly.
How to Hydrate!
- Water water water water water
- Jello water. Dilute your fave flavor in 1/2 cup boiling water and add cool water to dilute until it’s a beverage. It works by giving you electrolytes, a bit of protein and lots of water. Plus kids love it.
- Chicken Soup. Oh, it works. Make it with chicken stock, sea salt, garlic, onions, chicken and anything else you like in it. Chile pepper flakes and ginger boost the immune system too, so throw them in the pot and simmer a couple hours.
- Herbal tea. Chamomile calms. Also go for anything labeled “immunity” “detox” or “dandelion” for extra strengthening.
- Pedialyte for kids. Gatorade too. I personally don’t like these options. But whatever works.
- Applesauce. I had a very sick, very angry 18 month old baby who would NOT take anything by mouth. Instead of heading to the ER for a terrifying IV to hydrate him, I restrained him with one arm and my two legs and spooned applesauce into his mouth between screams. Sounds awful, right? He not only survived without hating my guts (he’s 9 now), he began to feel better within the hour and finally calmed enough to sleep. No nightmares of needles (or doctor bill, for that matter).
- Warm Honey Water with Apple Cider Vinegar (best with the “Mother” that looks like sediment). This does so many good things for you. It neutralizes the acid in your stomach caused my mucus drainage. It supplies you with easily-digested carbohydrates, natural antibiotics, immune boosters, minerals and water. A few tablespoons of the vinegar, a few teaspoons of the honey added to a cup or two of warm water. Twice a day is good.
Bottom Line: Most cold, cough and flu symptoms can be treated at home with hydration, cleanliness, rest and nourishment.