No antibiotics are needed for colds and flu!
As we are currently still in the middle of the flu season, with many suffering from sneezes and cough, the NHS here in the UK is absolutely backed with patients looking for quick help for their symptoms. Flu and even common colds can sometimes lead to more serious infections that do require proper medication, but I think most NHS customers suffering from cold symptoms and chesty cough have just an ordinary viral infection that would settle with just simple measures and rest.
Those hoping for antibiotics to cure these symptoms should remember that there is no medication for viral colds. It is also good to know the ill effects that antibiotics have on our bowel and that way our whole immune system. It takes several months to recover from just one course of antibiotics, so antibiotics can lead to serious problems with immune system and several infections. There is also continuing global worry about the overuse of antibiotics leading to the formation of so called superbugs, resistant to most antibiotics. If we constantly weaken our immune system with unnecessary medication, we also increase our risk for catching these type of infections.
What to do then when you feel cold symptoms starting? I believe that good nutrition and avoiding sugar are the keys in maintaining strong and well functioning immune system. So I don’t get ill that much. But when cold or flu does strike (and it does sometimes), the advice I’ve learned is to first top up my vitamin C, D and Zinc, for the first three days of the cold. I normally take 125 micrograms of vitamin D3 a day, so I increase the dose and take 5 times that amount for the first 3 days of symptoms. I also make sure that I have enough vitamin C, usually 1g 3 times a day for three or more days. Also Zinc is very useful, 100mg once a day for a week.
This seems to significantly reduce the severity and the length of my symptoms. Also, rest is very important. If I am very ill, I don’t go to work. It is not fair on the people I work with, to spread my virus around, and also resting when my body needs rest to recover does reduce the time I am ill. I don’t even try to play a hero or martyr here.
To help with the symptoms, I do try some good homemade remedies. Lemon ginger honey tea is my favourite. It does ease the symptoms and helps my immunity. It is also very easy to make; just put 3 slices of fresh ginger and boiling water into a cup and let steep for 10 minutes, the strain. Add a good squeeze of lemon (and some lemon peel if you are using organic lemons) and some honey to taste.
I do also drink other herbal teas, such as nettle or peppermint tea. They do make me feel better during a cold, but I like to enjoy them otherwise too.
Good honey (preferably raw for the nutrients) makes a better cough remedy than any over the counter cough mixtures. You can use honey on it’s own, or mix it with small amount of olive oil ( 1 spoonful of olive oil to 3 spoonfuls of honey) and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Good old home made bone stock is great also, you can use it to make healthy and tasty chicken soup.
If you still have relatively good appetite during your cold, consider making some good chili for dinner. Many spices, including cayenne pepper is known to be rich in nutrients which help with aches and pains caused by viral infection. Cayenne pepper also has good anti-inflammatory properties, just like garlic. Add a good amount of crushed garlic into your food once you are finished with cooking, to avoid cooking it too much and lose some of the nutrients.
Elderberries are delicious and very effective in supporting immunity and also have anti-inflammatory properties. Elderberry syrup is a very good one to use and can be made quite easily. Just add half a cupful of elderberries into two cupfuls of water. Add a cinnamon stick and bring to boil. Simmer in low heat for 45 minutes or so, until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain, cool and add honey to taste. Enjoy 1-2 spoonfuls a day to relief symptoms.
Don’t forget steam inhalation which is very effective for cough and congestion. Add some herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and oregano into the water.
These simple measures should help you too, recover quickly from a cold or flu.