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Influenza versus the Common Cold

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by Penny Wade

The common cold is one of the most widespread illnesses and is a leading cause of visits to the doctor and absenteeism from work and school. As you may well have experienced, flu often has a quicker onset and more severe symptoms than the common cold. Flu symptoms such as sore throat, fever, headaches, muscle aches, blocked up sinuses, cough and fatigue may last for several weeks, whilst these symptoms will be shorter with the common cold. 

In most cases getting the flu is not a serious risk except in those who have a lowered immune function. These are peoople over 65 years, those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease and pregnant women and young children. 

With herbal  medicine the ideal  strategy is to improve immune function through lifestyle by:

  • drinking plenty of water - 2L/day
  • Having enough sleep - 6-8 hours
  • Managing stress 

And using specific herbs and supplements pre infection or when symptoms first appear as folllows:

  • Pre infection - Use of Echinaceae to strengthen the immune system. Ideally use this all year round. A good practitioner brand  of either 2 tablets a day or 5mL of a liquid formulation twice a day. The type of Echinaceae in the formulation is important to get superior results. 
  • When symptoms first appear ( that sore throat, sinuses or severe tiredness) - Nip it in the bud using a liquid formulation or a tablet. The herbs used are more effective than Echinaceae once the symptoms appear. I can make up a mixture tailored to suit your symptoms and case history.
  • Zinc and a probiotic are best used all year round to strengthen your immune system. 

 

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