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Colds and Flu

Common cold and flu are probably the most common viral infections.  Common cold is a viral infection of the lining of the nose, sinuses, throat and large airways.  Flu (influenza) is a viral infection that causes fever, running nose, cough, headache, a feeling of illness (malaise) and inflammation of the lining of the nose and airways.

Although the outbreaks of common cold and flu usually occur in the fall and winter, the illness is not caused by the weather.  The higher incidence of cold and flu in cold weather is primarily due to the fact that most cold and influenza viruses thrive in colder temperature.  Common cold and flu spread easily from person to person through infected droplets in the air.  Almost all children and adults will catch the cold or flu once or twice in a year.

The symptoms of common cold include head congestion, nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing, headache, sneezing and watery eyes, sometimes accompanied by low-grade fever.  Flu differs from cold and is caused by different types of viruses.  The symptoms of flu are much more severe, including chills, fever, severe aches and pains, a feeling of illness, cough and bronchitis that last for several weeks.  Complications of flu can lead to pneumonia, ear infections and sinus problems.  Children, elderly and those with weak immune system are more susceptible to colds and flu.

The best way to treat colds and flu is bed rest.  Although they can not be cured by drugs, some medications such as analgesics, antihistamines, cough medicines, and decongestants can help to relieve the symptoms.  Antibiotics should only be prescribed when there is secondary bacterial infection.  Prevention is always better than cure.  Some health food supplements can strengthen the immune system to prevent the infection in the first place or shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms of common colds and flu if taken early during the infection.


Food supplements for common colds and flu:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps heal the inflamed mucous membranes and strengthens the immune system.


Vitamin C

Some studies have shown that vitamin C reduces the duration, but not the incidence of common cold in adults and children. However, for adults under high stress, vitamin C supplement can reduce the incidence of cold significantly.  Vitamin C also helps to boost the immune system.


Zinc lozenges

Zinc lozenges reduce the duration and severity of common cold symptoms.  Zinc lozenges are most effective if taken within 24 hours of developing the cold symptoms.



Echinacea is a herb that boosts the immune system to fight against the cold virus.  It stimulates the production of white blood cells and antiviral substances such as interferon, and enhances the ability of immune cells to engulf the virus.  Echinacea is more effective if taken immediately when symptoms appear.  It also reduces the duration and severity of common cold.



A Chinese herb that boosts the immune system with antiviral properties.  Chinese studies show that taking Astragalus long-term prevents common cold, and helps the body to recover from illnesses. 



These berries contain compounds that inhibit the enzyme flu viruses use to penetrate the cell membranes.  An Israeli study shows that taking elderberry extract as soon as symptoms appear reduces the duration of flu by half.



Peppermint essential oil can be used to reduce nasal congestion, relax the airways and reduce headache.


Source Naturals, Zinc Lozenges (w/ vit C)

Nature's Way, Echinacea, Standardized

(use code "WAN045" - get $5 off your first order)



Common Ailments

Colds & Flu
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Disclaimer: The materials written for our website are intended for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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