Colds and flu are among the most common infectious diseases in the world. Triggered by hundreds of different viruses, and not by bacteria, they are usually spread by hand-to-hand contact between people, or by touching objects that harbour the opportunistic pathogens, more than by coughing or sneezing. But there are ways to avoid catching these dreaded viruses – naturally.

The differences between a cold and the flu

Both the common cold and influenza are contagious viral infections. The symptoms of their arrival vary, but both usually start with a sore throat and congestion. The common cold eventually fizzles out. If you have influenza, you’ll start to feel feverish as the flu settles in your lungs and infects your joints. Flu has more potentials for danger – it can cause pneumonia and respiratory failure. You’ve probably got the flu if your temperature is higher than 38.8 °C, if you’ve recovered after a cold only to start feeling sick again, or if every muscle aches and you don’t have the energy to get out of bed. With new strains becoming apparent every year, flu must be monitored closely.

How to avoid getting colds and flu

The best way to ward off colds and flu is to strengthen your immune system and keep it fighting fit. If your body is strong, it will be able to fight off infection and; should you become ill, it will help you to recover more quickly without having to resort to medications. Here are a few pointers to optimise your resistance:

  1. Improve your gut flora – Your immune response is influenced hugely by the bacteria in your digestive system – your gut. The best way to improve your ‘good’ bacteria ratio is to avoid sugar and processed foods and to limit most grains; instead bump up your consumption of healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olive oil and nuts. To your changed diet, add fermented foods such as sauerkraut and pickled cucumbers to optimise the function of your immune response.
NOTE: Sugar meddles with the quality of your immune response almost immediately –it can destroy your beneficial bacteria and feed the harmful viruses. Read the contents lists on foods on supermarket shelves to avoid products with added sugar, typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup. It’s present in foods you may not suspect, like tomato sauce and canned vegetables. If you are ill, the last thing you need to eat is sugar.
  2. Increase your intake of healthy omega-3 fats – Omega-3 fats of animal origin are crucial for maintaining health. Avoid the trans fats in processed foods – they can seriously damage your immune response.
  3. Take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement – Make sure it includes vitamins C and E, flavonoids, selenium and zinc. Buchu and echinacea are also recommended. Flora Force Echi-Mune™ is a good all-natural product that provides year-round total immune support. It can also be used during the cold and flu season for quick recovery.
  4. Add natural antibiotics to your diet such as oreganum, ginseng and garlic to boost your immune system.
  5. Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  6. Exercise regularly – Get 30–40 minutes of aerobic exercise daily – it will increase your circulation and blood flow. Exercising will also stimulate your immune system, improving its chances of finding and pouncing on toxins and other unwanted invaders before they spread.
  7. Try to avoid excessive stress – Bodies that are overly stressed for extended periods are less able to fight off the flu and other illness. Find ways to handle stress or consult a professional who can help you.
  8. Rest your body – A severe lack of sleep has the same effect on your body as excess stress.
  9. Keep it clean – Wash your hands regularly with a simple chemical-free soap to limit your chances of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow so as not to transfer germs onto your hands. Avoid close contact with people who are ill. As long as someone has a fever, they are likely to transmit infection.
  10. Get frisky – A study has shown that having sex a couple of times a week can boost immunoglobin A, an antibody that fights off colds. Of course, your partner should not have the sniffles!

Treating colds and flu naturally

The best thing to do if you feel a cold or flu coming on is to stay at home and get bed-rest. Then:

  1. Avoid taking over-the counter cold remedies and painkillers – These simply suppress the symptoms, fooling you into believing that you are better. So you get up and go to work – and suffer a relapse. Your already-stressed immune system simply cannot fend off further infection.
  2. Cold and flu are viral infections – they do not respond to antibiotics – Most viral infections will go away in seven to 10 days. Symptoms that persist after that may be caused by bacteria such as Strep or Haemophilus influenzae, a bacterial influenza, which cause illnesses that are longer lasting.
  3. Consider natural remedies such as garlic (to fight the virus), oreganum oil (to cleanse the gut), ginger (to clear the lungs and sinuses), zinc (to block viruses entering cells), vitamins C and D (to boost immunity) and Japanese mushrooms, which have powerful anti-oxidant properties. Flora Force Immune™ capsules contains all-natural ingredients to support the immune system during acute conditions and to help recovery from viral, fungal and bacterial infections.
  4. Take cayenne – Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which thins the mucus in your nasal passages, reducing congestion so you can breathe freely again. It also stimulates the circulation, boosts vitality, eases pain and relieves sore sinuses. Sprinkle some in soup or take Flora Force Cayenne capsules. Cayenne is so good it’s this week’s Herb of the Week!
  5. Rinse your nose with saline to help get rid of mucus and germs.
  6. Drink lots of fluids – Drink tea made with lemon, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper (about half a teaspoon, if you can bear it) and honey to ease a sore throat.
  7. Don’t strain yourself with intensive workouts at the gym. Rest instead.

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

  1. Original image by Alexandr Litovchenko from Pixabay