Well hello there everyone 🙂
I can’t believe it’s November already; this year has literally disappeared right before our eyes!
In any case, it’s cold and flu season now, and being a health fanatic and and pharmacist, I thought I’d share with you some natural and medicinal ways to fight cold and flu this year that actually work!
Now I’m all for natural remedies, but when that fails I draw for pharmaceutics so hopefully this list help you decide what and what not to spend your hard earned cash on based on actual evidence haha.
- My favourite home cold and flu remedy is fresh ginger, lemon, and honey (to taste) in hot water; not a twinnings ginger and lemon teabag, not ginger flakes and concentrated lemon lol. Get a couple slices of fresh ginger, squeeze half a lemon, and sweeten to taste with honey. Ginger is one of natures best detoxing agents and will help cleanse your body of any toxins, including the nasties causing a cold or flu. Lemons are so rich in vitamin c, and are a powerful anti-inflammatory agent; it’s also great for sore throats. Honey is a natural healing agent, and has been shown to suppress coughs and soothe sore throats better than any cough bottle you can buy over the counter!
- Echinacea: I swear by this stuff. In 2014, I caught glandular fever and was off work for 6 weeks with exhaustion; seriously, I would make breakfast and fall asleep on the couch before I could eat it. Nothing was helping, so I did some research and discovered echinacea. Echinacea is a herbal product from a particular daisy plant that has been clinically proven to reduce the duration of a cold if used at the first sign of a cold or flu. Echinacea has also been clinically proven to increase the amount of erythropoietin (EPO) in the blood, which in turn increases your red blood cell count and results in a boost of energy due to having more oxygen in your blood stream. Echinacea has also been proven to increase the amount of interleukin-3 (IL-3) in your blood. So what is IL-3? IL-3 is a protein in your body that is heavily involved with your immune response. It triggers your fighting cells to fight and getting rid of the nasties in your body such as the cold and flu virus. To put it short, echinacea is great natural boost for your immune system. If you’re buying it in the UK, make sure you buy brands that have the UK herbal medicine logo on them. This means they are made to the same strict methods medicines are manufactured to.
- Humidifiers. One of the reasons we get colds and flus in winter is because we are exposed to drier air and whereas usually, the hair in our noses do a great job at trapping germs so they don’t enter our system, the cold air and our heating systems dry the air in our noses and remove the layer of moisture that helps our noses trap germs. A humidifier keeps the air moist so that our noses can do their jobs effectively. I used to get multiple colds during winter, but since using my humidifier at night, last winter I only got one! They are relatively inexpensive, and they also act as a decongestant (same as putting your head over a pan of boiling water) so they are also advised for babies with colds.
- Wash your hands. We hear this message a lot but it is so true. If everyone washed their hands, the spread of colds and flus would greatly diminish. Also, even if you have germs on your hand, washing your hands before you eat can mean they don’t get into your system! Not touching your face also helps too, rubbing your eyes, or touching your lips is a sure way to get germs into your system that otherwise wouldn’t have made it.
- Don’t take vitamin C when you get a cold. Vitamin C only works if it is already in your system, it will do nothing for you if you already have a cold. Leave the emergency bag of oranges alone; if you have a healthy diet, your immune system will have all the nutrients it needs to fight infections.
- Don’t fork out for over the counter cough bottles. Seriously, as a pharmacist, very few of them have any clinical effect and studies have shown this time and time again. Eating healthy and the tips above are everything you need to stay healthy this winter. Ginger, honey, and lemon!
- And if you just can’t take the streaming nose and need some drugs, I recommend paracetamol, and a good saline nasal rinse such as Sterimar of NeilMed Sinus rinse – natures natural decongestant. If you must take tablet, then pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine are your best bets (please discuss any meds with your pharmacist before buying them. If you have high blood pressure, unfortunately, decongestant medicines are not an option).
That’s all for now, keep warm and keep healthy!
If you have any other tips, please comment below and share them!