Despite being among the most common illnesses in the world, there is no cure for a cold or the flu. They are caused by viruses, and thus simply need to run their course. However, a holistic approach can reduce your chances of catching the latest virus – and ensure that you quickly recover from any illness you do catch.
I used to get sick twice a year, like clockwork. But ever since Dr. Jacobs put me on his prevention regimen, I’ve been getting through cold and flu season completely healthy. It’s amazing!
What's the difference between a cold and the flu?
Though colds and flus are both caused by viruses and produce similar symptoms, the illnesses progress very differently. A cold typically begins with a sore throat that lasts about a day, before turning into a runny nose, congestion and a cough. In most cases, cold symptoms will last about a week. If yours endure for much longer, you may also have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.
Conversely, the flu produces symptoms that are much more severe and sudden than a common cold. With the flu, you’ll experience a sore throat, fever, muscle aches, a cough, congestion and headaches. Although the symptoms should improve in about five days, you may not feel like yourself again for another week or so. In vulnerable people, such as children, the elderly and individuals with health conditions, the flu may progress to pneumonia, which causes shortness of breath.
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How to avoid getting sick
As a healthy individual, you shouldn’t catch every cold and flu you meet. If you do, you may want to make a few lifestyle adjustments to protect your health and avoid getting sick.
Though many of our Los Angeles patients assume that the flu shot is king in the preventative world, there are actually a number of holistic techniques you can adopt to discourage your body from taking on the latest virus. For example, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, washing your hands, reducing your stress and taking supplements are all terrific ways to strengthen your immune system and remain healthy this cold and flu season.
Holistic cold and flu treatments
If you come down with the flu, we will generally advise against Tamiflu, which is the traditional prescription flu treatment. Instead, we’ll recommend a custom blend of herbs that will reduce the severity of your symptoms, along with an increase in your vitamin C. As with a cold, you’ll want to drink plenty of fluids and rest often until you are fully recovered.
If you catch a cold, we recommend drinking orange juice for vitamin C and green tea immediately, as both beverages are known to promote healing. We may also advise you to take zinc lozenges twice a day, along with herbs to strengthen your immune system and move the recovery process along. And finally, you’ll need to get plenty of rest as the virus runs its course.
Even after taking all possible precautionary measures, you may still get sick with a cold or flu. After all, no one is completely immune to illness. When this occurs, you want to begin treatment as soon as your symptoms appear, so you can recover as quickly as possible.