Colds or Flu, know the difference and treat it successfully.

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‘Tis the season for prevalent colds and the occasional flu. Preventative measures are desirable (eating a healthy well balanced diet consisting of 5 colourful fruits and vegetable servings daily, 8-10 glasses of water daily, moderate daily exercise –minimum 30 minutes, and getting the required amount of sleep nightly.)

However, if these healthy lifestyle habits have slipped somewhat, and you find yourself ‘under the weather’, proven safe all natural herbal remedies are readily available to get you back on tract. Grandma’s old adage, ‘Feed a cold, starve a fever’ still rings true. For a persistent cough, try a homemade herbal cough syrup, or Ginger or Thyme Tea (recipes available, and other herbal remedies on betweenclosefriends.com under the ‘Herbal Remedy’ and ‘Herbal Teas’ Category)

The first order of business to restore your health is, you must determine whether you are experiencing a cold or the flu. And this isn’t always easy, but is a necessity. While the most serious complication of a cold is usually a pressure sinus infection or a painful earache, the flu is more serious and can lead to the development of pneumonia, and this sometimes turns into a life threatening situation.

An easy way to differentiate between a cold and a flu is as follows:

Usually, you will feel a cold coming on, because a cold will develop slowly, over the course of a day or two. You may experience fatigue, weakness, and have mild aches and pains all over, but most likely you will not suffer with a fever or a headache. Having a raw or sore throat is common fare, and any coughing is generally not severe.

With the flu however, it seems to come on suddenly, full blast. Very quickly (within a few hours at most), you find yourself feeling very exhausted and developing chills, a headache and severe allover achiness. Your fever may reach 104 degrees F and last for several days. Your energy level will remain low for up to a month. Coughing is usually quite severe with the flu, and a dry cough may linger for a few weeks afterwards. Experiencing a sore throat is a less common occurrence associated with the flu.

However in either case, if you find yourself coughing up yellow or green flem, and maybe being short of breath, go to your doctor. Both are signs of either bronchitis–an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, and pneumonia–which is an inflammation of the lungs. If you have bronchitis, you most likely will feel congested, but won’t be seriously ill or feverish. Pneumonia is more severe, and generally produces a fever, chills and chest pains.

It is always advisable to seek professional medical advice, if your bronchitis or pneumonia symptoms persevere for more than a couple of days.

In general though, rest, rest, and more rest are the best remedies for cold and especially flu symptoms. For either a cold and in particular the flu, drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. The key here is: The more liquid you take in, the quicker the cold or flu is flushed out of your system.

Mother’s Chicken soup; onion soup; in short, any hot steamy broth will help reduce the impact and relieve cold and flu symptoms while soothing a sore throat and breaking up congestion.

Inhaling hot steam, either in a shower or from a hot-water humidifier (especially if Eucalyptus leaves have been added), will also help to speed up your recovery.

Loading up on Vitamin C as a cold preventative is still up for debate, but there is overwhelming medical evidence that consuming larger amounts of this vitamin once symptoms have presented, will definitely help in making you feel better sooner.

To help treat and/or prevent an irritated nose or Rudolph’s redness, always treat your nose with tender, loving care when you develop a cold or flu. Using the softest kleenex you can find—especially any that contain lanolin—and gently patting (avoid harsh wiping or rubbing) will minimize any potential skin irritation around your nose. Then apply a good moisturizer or petroleum jelly to the skin as a way to control the inevitable dryness, especially at bedtime when you are most likely not to rub it off through constant nose blowing.

Our family has found that using Burt’s Bees Lip Balm on the tender area of your nose when it first starts to get red and sore, works wonders. Using it before bedtime will just about guarantee a normal nose when you awaken in the morning!

Herbally: regularly eating onions and garlic are both good preventative measures and remedies in minimizing a cold or cough.

Honey soothes a sore throat and has antiseptic properties, while adding cinnamon to food is an anti-inflammatory, as is ginger.

Consuming Ginger also promotes sweating out a cold, and kills internal germs.

Both Ginger and Thyme tea are also effective cough remedies.

My mother’s doctor used to prescribe a ‘hot toddy’ to relieve both symptoms from cold and flu, to be taken twice daily while symptoms persisted. His remedy included 1-2 oz of Rum, which he advised giving to any child over 4 as well. In my memory, it tasted very good, and really did make the cold seem to ‘disappear’. However, it could have been that after ingesting his Hot Toddy recipe, I just didn’t care how I felt. But I did fall asleep quickly and slept soundly—which is necessary to effectively fight both cold and flu symptoms. (Although I do not recommend giving a child of any age alcohol, this was his professional first-line prescription and treatment, in lieu of antibiotics and was always effective.)

Dr. DeKoeven’s Hot Toddy Recipe

In a large stoneware mug, add 12 ounces of very strong black tea (brew 2-3 teabags/cup of boiling water), add the juice of 1 whole lemon, 2 Tablespoons of natural honey, ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated cinnamon, 1 maraschino cherry, 1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice, and 1 ounce of Captain Morgan’s rum. Stir together, and sip slowly. The cherry at the bottom of the mug was always an anticipated incentive to finish the whole ‘toddy’!

This concoction will make you very sleepy, and subsequently sleep quite soundly. So, it is advisable only to take when you have the day off, or are ready for bed and a good night’s sleep. Do not consume while taking medications.

For an added boost, making a ginger or thyme tea in place of using the good quality black tea, would add to this toddy’s effectiveness.

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