The cold and flu season is upon us, that time of the year when body aches, fever, chills and nasal congestion combine and can stop it, leaving you in bed for days.
Statistics show that the flu makes millions of Americans sick annually, kills tens of thousands and generates billions of dollars in medical expenses and sick days.
"Influenza complications can become serious," says Dr. Suhyun An (www.drsuhyunan.com), a regenerative medicine expert and co-author of Demystifying Stem Cells: A Real-Life Approach to Regenerative Medicine.
“If you still have symptoms after seven to 10 days, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor. If any of your symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or fainting, or if you experience other serious symptoms such as a high fever, seek immediate medical assistance. "
Dr. An says there are ways to prevent symptoms from reaching that serious point. To feel better and recover, he recommends numerous natural remedies for cold and flu to relieve his symptoms:
Vitamin C. Some studies indicate that vitamin C may shorten the life of a cold and boost your immune system. “The best way to get it is through your diet; the fresher the food, the better, "says Dr. An." Oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits, green leafy vegetables and peppers are good sources of vitamin C. Be careful with supplements because they can cause stomach upset and kidney stones. "
Honey. Honey has natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties. "Drinking honey in tea with lemon can relieve a sore throat," says Dr. An. "Research suggests that honey is also an effective cough suppressant. Honey often contains Clostridium bacteria, so never give honey to a child under 1 year old because babies' immune systems cannot fight it. "
Chicken Soup. This popular cold and flu remedy helps because hot fluids reduce the accumulation of mucus and keep it hydrated. "Chicken soup, in particular, has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce the unpleasant side effects of a cold," says Dr. An. "Keep some in the freezer or even canned for the flu season. It's quick to prepare that way and reassuring to eat. "
Aromas "When you have congestion from the flu, applying camphor or menthol ointment around the nose can help break up the mucus," says Dr. An. "Aromatherapy oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus, may have a similar effect In addition, steam rubbing can reduce cold symptoms, especially in children older than 2 years. It helps open the air ducts to combat congestion, reduce cough and improve sleep. It is a good alternative to over-the-counter cold medicines in young children due to unwanted side effects. "
Probiotics These are friendly bacteria and yeasts found in the body, some foods and supplements. "They can help keep the intestine and immune system healthy, and they can reduce the chance of getting sick with an upper respiratory infection," says Dr. An. "For a delicious and nutritious source of useful bacteria, include yogurt probiotic in your diet. "
"Colds and the flu are threats to us every year, but they don't have to depress us for a long time," says Dr. An. "Natural home remedies can reduce symptoms so you can be more comfortable and rest what you need to improve faster. "
About Dr. Suhyun An, DC, MSN, NP-C
Dr. An (www.drsuhyunan.com) is a clinic director at Campbell Medical Group in Houston and an expert in regenerative medicine. She is co-author of Demystifying Stem Cells: A Real-Life Approach to Regenerative Medicine and travels the nation talking about these issues. Dr. An received a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Biophysical Sciences from the University of Houston, graduated cum laude from Parker College of Chiropractic and earned her master's degree in nursing sciences from the University of Samford.