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Influenza is a viral-type disorder that is transmitted by air. In the eighteenth century, the Italians attributed the cause of the influenza to the ‘influence’ of stars, hence its name. It affects between 5% and 15% of the world’s population. Flu is an acute infectious disease, strongly contagious and epidemic. Affects the upper and lower respiratory tract, manifesting itself with symptoms such as fever, cough, sneezing, general discomfort and musculoskeletal pain.
Flu is an infectious disease caused by viruses belonging to the Orthomyxoviridae family. The symptoms of flu are mainly: fever, pharyngitis, nasal and sinus congestion, muscle and bone pain, headache and cough. Sometimes, flu also causes nausea and vomiting, especially in younger subjects.
Flu virus types
Flu microorganisms are viruses belonging to the family of orthomyxoviridiae, which includes three genera: the most common type A, type B and the uncommon C. flu A of the peculiarities of these microorganisms lie in frequency with subjected to changes in the outer structure of the capside, peculiarities – this – which alters its antigenicity and infectious properties. Type A flu virus is subject to major and minor antigenic variations, type B only to minor mutations, while type C is homogeneous. This great antigenic variability, almost annual for type A strains, explains why every winter we find ourselves struggling with a different kind of flu, to which cells in the immune system have to adapt. Likewise, it is necessary to produce new vaccines every year based on predictions on the strains that will cause the disease.
The alteration of the antigenic structure of the virus gives rise to viral strains against which there is no resistance from the population and hence causes the development of limited epidemics in the winter months (viruses A and B), or even pandemics (Virus A) that appears every 10 to 30 years with dramatic outcomes (in 1918, the ‘Spanish’ flu chronics reported more than 75 million victims).
Flu symptoms and causes
Influenza, after the incubation period, occurs through high fever that develops rapidly (100.4 ˚F and above), accompanied by sweating, pains that invade the whole body, dry cough, chest pain, headaches, Sore throat, colds, sneezing, lack of appetite, difficulty in sleep, vomiting and dysentery (especially in children). Even in the elderly (over 75 years of age), the fever remains low, the onset of the disorders is gradual and involves especially weakness, joint pain, and confusion. In influenza, fever is generally higher in infections caused by type A viruses, while in those caused by type B infections, it is kept at lower levels. In infants generally, fever does not manifest but vomiting and diarrhea are observed.
Influenza is caused by a virus, defined as influenza virus, known as three different strains: Type A influenza virus, Type B influenza virus, and C influenza virus. A virus is the most common one and since it is changed every year, it is difficult to immunize.
Flu is a disease with a rather short incubation time (from a few hours to three days). Is characterized by cold, fever (moderate to high), intense headache (especially frontal), widespread myalgia, loss of appetite and prostration. Almost immediately the respiratory symptoms, including rhinorrhoea, sneezing, tearing and coughing, first dry, then of catarrhal type with mucous or mucus sputum (so with traces of pus), take over. These general symptoms are sometimes accompanied by manifestations of the gastrointestinal tract (nausea, vomiting and diarrhea), especially in children.
Influence is generally a benign disease (it resolves positively in 3-6 days, leaving room for a weariness that lasts until a few weeks). Other times may be particularly attenuated or complicated with bacterial superinfections. Flu viruses, in fact, destroy the cells of the respiratory mucosa, favoring the penetration of bacterial pathogens, in turn responsible for bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, otitis and sinusitis. All of these complications are more common in individuals with chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular and dysmetabolism), in the elderly, in children and in immunocompromise. For this reason, the risk population should undergo flu vaccine annually.
Symptoms of pneumonia, which include productive cough with expectoration, high fever and severe and painful breathing, should prompt the individual to require rapid medical intervention.
Fever is an immune response triggered by some cytokines on the hypothalamic regulation center, which causes an increase in body temperature to accelerate the healing process. Fever is therefore indispensable to the fight against flu. For this reason, it should be reduced with drugs only when it becomes intolerable for the subject. As mentioned, fever is caused by an increase in temperature by the organism itself. Since it is an active reaction, fever also has an energy cost more or less important, depending on the entity. It has been estimated that increased body temperature over 98.6°F can increase basal metabolism by up to 13%. However, since flu causes a significant reduction in physical activity, the total caloric requirement does not increase as much as one could expect. One of the fundamental and unimaginable aspects of fever is the increase in sweating. This, which is extremely variable between the various cases, results in a significant increase in water and salt requirements.
Nausea is a feeling of discomfort and discomfort located in the upper part of the stomach, which often results in involuntary vomiting. Nausea is associated with reduced appetite up to anorexia and, if extended over time, becomes a very debilitating (hyponutrition) and disabling symptom. It has been chosen to differentiate vomiting from nausea for the different effect they can exert on the nutritional state of the subject, but not only.
Vomiting is a frequent consequence of the feeling of nausea. However, the two circumstances can also look completely independent. Especially in subjects at a young age, and especially in the immediate post-incubation, vomiting can manifest without any prior warning. While nausea has a secondary negative nutritional effect (inappetence and anorexia), vomiting is responsible for both a nutrition loss (of the expelled meal) and a dispersion of liquids (digestive juices of the stomach, the small, and the upper glands). Among the short-term consequences of vomiting, the most significant ones are malnutrition and dehydration.
Like vomiting, diarrhea or dysentery is also a symptom that occurs predominantly in subjects of young age and can lead to more than significant complications. Diarrhea has a more pronounced antiinstitutic effect, drastically limiting the intestinal absorption and especially the reabsorption of water, mineral salts and vitamins in the colon. Sometimes, it associates with mucous membrane bleeding, with further water loss and increased nutritional demand. The most significant effects are once again malnutrition and dehydration.
Physical training and flu
Influenza is manifested when the vital force of the organism is debilitated, weakened and overburdened due to a stress reaction. It is therefore important to be well-motivated, to take precautionary measures on physical activities that boost the immune system. Rest first, especially if the fever is very high. The body is struggling and therefore it is best not to overload it further.
Muscle, fever and subfever, muscle ache, with asthenia, adinamy, sore and creatine and creatinine damage, cell injury indexes. This should be a discomfort for every athlete: it is useless to continue training or compete if you have a fever. And it is just as wrong to think that a heavy workout in that condition is going to improve the situation!
If this applies to unmanaged training of increased intensity, it is also true that moderate and targeted exercise can lead to positive effects in case of fever. Several studies reveal that when fever does not reach high peaks, moderate physical exercise may reduce the symptoms of fever.
In 1998 Thomas Weidner, a US college coach, conducted a study on athletes infected with flu and on healthy athletes. The results, still valid today more than ten years away, show how those who had been physically active in the flu were better after each training session. Further evidence of these theories, studies conducted in 2005 at the University of Illinois found that those who performed a 15-minute jogging benefited from fever-related disorders.
Hydrotherapy, according to the teachings of Sebastian Kneipp, can help if fever is getting the best of you: refreshing clutches. You can proceed with the technique of the sponge, ie rubbing a part of the body surface with a damp cloth, immersed in cold water and then squeezed. Good movement therapies that have roots in the east like yoga, taiji, effective meditation. Even aerobic activity constantly strengthens the whole system.
How long is the flu contagious?
The infection is rapidly transmitted by air through droplets of cough, sneezes and conversations. This type of transmission is mainly among people who are occupied with closed spaces, but there is also an indirect infection, as the virus can persist for hours outside the body, especially in cold and low humidity. Generally, flu viruses last for a few weeks at temperatures close to 89.6-102.5°F while being inactivated by heat, UV and common disinfectants.
Serious complications, such as pneumonia, asthma exacerbation, and worsening of heart failure – are particularly rare – especially elderly, immune-deficient and subjects potentially at risk.
How to get rid of the flu fast
In the absence of complications, the therapy is symptomatic and involves, first of all, rest, generous fluid administration, the consumption of easily digestible meals and, where appropriate, the use of analgesic drugs (painkillers) and antipyretics (to reduce fever). Remember that the use of salicylates (and therefore classic aspirin) is contraindicated below 16 years (for the risk of Reye’s syndrome) and how the fever has a beneficial effect on the course of the disease (of course, when it is particularly high or are suffering from complications, it must be lowered).
Some antiviral drugs, such as amantadine and rimantadine, may reduce the severity and duration of flu, provided they are given at the earliest symptoms (within the first 48 hours of illness). Recently, good results have been achieved with zanamivir-based therapy, a medication to be taken by inhalation, within the first 48 hours of disease.
Specific antibiotics can be prescribed by the physician in the presence of complications, but are completely ineffective in flu therapy (considering its viral and non-bacterial nature), if not even harmful (further weakening immune defenses).
The diet for flu is a diet that, while not being able to cure the disease directly, helps support the body in combating infection. Remember that flu is a viral disease and therefore the use of antibiotics is totally inappropriate (with no secondary complications). While not directly intervening in the elimination of the pathogen, the influence diet has an incredible importance on rapidity and healing efficacy. An appropriate diet is able to reduce the adverse effects of fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which are responsible for dehydration, anorexia, and nutritional malabsorption.
Nutrition in flu
The basic principles of the diet for flu are varied and very important, but – depending on the specific case, stage of the disease and predominant symptoms – may be slightly different.
In all types of flu, it is strongly advisable to ensure a high level of hydration needed to compensate for: sweating, increased renal function for endogenous and pharmacological catabolisms, vomiting and diarrhea. Body water can be maintained by drinking more and eating liquid or well-hydrated foods. However, if the flu is characterized by significant nausea and vomiting, this can become a serious problem. In that case, the increase in beverages and liquid foods becomes impractical, as the stimulus of vomiting would increase drastically.
Not everyone knows that the feeling of nausea and vomiting is significantly worsened by some factors, such as fasting and hypoglycemia, gastric hyperacidity, and excess fluid in the stomach. This explains why, in case of nausea and vomiting, it is absolutely necessary to receive food that is: highly pleasing (to counteract nausea, appetite and anorexia), but always within the limits of the indications that will follow; dried, so they tend to absorb gastric fluids rather than increase their volume; easy to digest, therefore: moderately protein-rich but rich in essential amino acids (few peptides but of high biological value), poor in fat and predominantly unsaturated (lean and low seasoning, only with raw vegetable oils), and possibly carbohydrates.
In case of diarrhea, it is advisable to also skip agents that irritate mucous membranes (alcohol, other nerves, spices etc.), eat lactose-free, without osmotic agents, such as some sweeteners (xylitol etc)
Poor fiber foods
This first phase should be extended to the reduction of vomiting but never too long. It is absolutely crucial to restore the supply of essential water and nutrients as soon as possible and, if necessary, to drink by means of a soup spoon. In patients at risk, dehydration is sometimes contravened with the use of drip pockets (via parenteral).
Once fluid tolerance has been ensured, especially in children and always in case of pharmacological use, it will be possible and desirable to use formula for restoring the hydrosaline balance and alkalized. In case of persistent diarrhea, this can be fought by taking natural products such as diosmectite and vegetable carbon. Milk and derivatives, with the exception of small portions of wheat cheese on the first plates, should be taken at least 3-4 hours later than oral tetracycline intake, as they may inactivate the drug causing it to progress into the intestines.
The food intake order respects the following order more or less: rehydrating water and liquids → jams and fruit jellies → vegetable puree → pastas or broth in rice → lean meat of calf, chicken and squid fish, possibly smoothen to increase digestibility. On the contrary, it is best to delay the intake of very fat, raw or over-cooked foods, or rich in connective tissue (molluscs).
We have already said that, as a rule, flu does not cause an increase in energy demand. However, it is still uncertain whether it may require higher levels than other irreplaceable nutrients such as fatty acids and essential amino acids, vitamins and mineral salts. In doubt, once digestive capacity is guaranteed, you should increase the levels of all nutrients useful, both through diet and supplements.
In particular, it is recommended to increase the vitamin content of:
- Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, involved in the production of interferon (natural antiviral)
- Vitamin B complex, involved in the good functioning of the immune system.
Our immune system is a powerful mediator of our health. Through specialized cell-defined lymphocytes, it manages to neutralize and destroy viruses and bacteria. One of its key features is to be fine-tuned in perfect balance with the surrounding environment, but in situations where the power is strongly unbalanced, too sedentary life, inadequate physical exercise and chronic stress, immunity is somewhat disregarded. As a result, increased chances of getting infections or, conversely, developing autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, thyroiditis, etc.), allergies and intolerances.
This balance is very similar to a balance with its well-balanced dishes. One of the dishes is used to help the body defend itself against viruses and bacteria (TH1 system), while the other serves against the aggression of parasites and endocellular viruses (TH2 system). When this equilibrium fails, there is an imbalance of one plate over the other. A too marked TH1 system (characteristic of women), while defending from many infections, leads to a greater chance of contracting auto-immune organospecific pathologies, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Conversely, if we weigh more on the TH2 system, often allergies and pathologies of autoantibodies such as thyroiditis or in severe cases also have a higher incidence of cancer. Receiving enough nutrients is capable of restoring the balance of the balance. Let’s look at it more thoroughly.
Recent studies indicate that vitamins play an important role. In particular, the research focused on vitamin B6 and B12. It has been seen that these two vitamins, present mainly in whole grains, eggs and milk, play a powerful stimulus of the TH1 system against all viral and bacterial infections. Elderly people are more at risk of their deficiency, as they have a greater stomach atrophy, which compromises the absorption of these intestinal vitamins.
Vitamin C, widely supported by Linus Pauling’s publications on orthomolecular medicine, was widely advertised as a reminder of common cold. Indeed these features were never confirmed, but it was seen that vitamin C supplements were effective in reducing the intensity and duration of this winter disorder. Vitamin E is a powerful TH1 stimulant, and has also been associated with a lower incidence of prostate cancer.
Selenium at a dose of 200 micrograms per day is capable of counteracting viral infections, stimulating the TH1 system and powerful natural killer cells of viruses and bacteria. Zinc has the same potential as selenium but has a different effect depending on the dose administered. If you want to counteract winter sickness, your daily dose should not exceed 25-35 milligrams for a period not longer than 2-3 weeks. Superior doses and prolonged periods stimulate the TH2 system and may thus have an effect on autoimmune pathologies, but also induce allergies and thyroiditis. The use of probiotics strengthens the immune system of the intestine against all those viruses and bacteria that prefer the gastrointestinal system.
In addition to feeding, there are several plants with an immunostimulant effect. Several studies have confirmed the efficacy of echinacea, spirulina and a mix of Chinese plants whose main subject is Sophora flavescens, against infections. These plants effectively boost the TH1 system. Nature has given us several weapons to combat seasonal illnesses, and perhaps this makes us more restrained also in flu A, especially of the H1N1 strain.
Common cold vs. flu (influenza)
Chills of cold, runny nose, sore throat and coughing. Is it cold or flu? The difference is also important because taking drugs regardless of the type of illness that struck us is incorrect. So let’s understand how to distinguish cold from flu, especially in children. The flu virus causes flu, and since there are few variants of the virus it has become relatively easy to prevent, with a flu vaccine, for example. The issue is complicated with colds. Renovirus is often responsible for colds, but more than 200 other viruses can come into play. For this, taking antiviral drugs for colds may be useless, better treat the disorder with home remedies and so much patience. So how do you behave with flu and cold?
It is flu if a sudden high fever, chest tightness, chills, fatigue, and muscle aches occur. Antipyretics can be taken within 48 hours of the onset of the symptoms. For children, the high-grade fever drug is paracetamol. It is not a good idea to take antibiotics for flu: in face, they are harmful because they favor the development of drug-resistant bacteria. However, if there is persistent cough or greenish catararrh, it is better to report it to your doctor because there may be a bacterial infection.
Resting is a must, we know that everyday life is frantic and we believe it is indispensable (and in some cases, they are) but if we are sick we cannot help anyone. If we are sick it means that our body needs to regain breath. Take an antipyretic if the fever is high and you felt very exhausted. Drink a lot and eat light and digestible things, rich in vitamins and minerals.
It is cold if the symptoms are located essentially above the neck. Nasal drip or congestion, coughing, eyes tearing, but throat, congestion and sneezing. You may also have some fever, but never high.
Be patient with the patient, if it is a child. Children cannot take decongestant nasal drops. It is best to use a little aerosol with thermal water or a physiological solution to release the nose, perform nasal wash several times a day, vitamin C and, if your doctor prescribes it, an antihistamine that can give relief to congested nose. Avoid decongestants because they can thicken the mucus and cause a rebound effect. Take antipyretics unless the fever does not rise above 100.4°F.
What to do when flu occurs in pregnancy? What medications can you take and what risks are you taking? We know that when we wait for a child, we feel more vulnerable and we are worried about following a healthy lifestyle, which does not hurt the little one and we think a thousand times before taking a medicine. And yet if the flu takes us right during pregnancy, we cannot force ourselves, and if the medical doctor tells us that we can cure ourselves with some drugs, do it without any worries.
Flu occurs with the classic symptoms: pain in the bones and joints, cold, cough or sore throat, fever that can even exceed 100.4°F, headache, exhaustion and fatigue that may last for a few days.
Some drugs that are safe in pregnancy (discuss the options, benefits and risks with your doctor) can help relieve the symptoms and lower the fever, although they will not cure the flu. Therefore, in case of high fever and in the presence of classic flu symptoms, such as muscle and joint pain, headaches and fatigue may be taken – always after asking the opinion of your trusted physician – of medicines with paracetamol base (one of the few drugs that can be used during pregnancy) although, as many healthcare specialists point out, antipyretics can offer temporary relief but ultimately extend the recovery time by weakening the mechanism with which the organism defends itself from the infections.
Improper measures or disproportionate concerns will only aggravate the situation during pregnancy, so rule number one is to stay calm.
It would be best to limit yourself to taking medication only when the symptoms become truly untenable, and wait for the fever to be around 100.4°F. Within a few days the flu will disappear due to the high body temperature that is a defense mechanism designed precisely to eradicate viruses.
In case of complications of bacterial origin, your doctor may prescribe an appropriate antibiotic for pregnancy. Fever is not a disease, but the symptom of many pathologies that are caused by the intrusion by viruses and bacteria in the body.
We are always looking for some natural remedy that does not endanger the baby in the belly.
The baseline advice that is baby-friendly is old:
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
- Rest as much as possible and not have a hurry to return to normal everyday habits.
- Eat properly: light foods, digestible and high in vitamins and minerals. Perfect chicken broth, a true panacea against flu according to our grandmothers, because it is rich in natural anti-inflammatory substances.
- Drink freshly squeezed orange juice to maximize your intake of vitamin C.
- If you have sore throat, honey in hot milk is the best home remedy.
- It is worth remembering that anti-flu vaccination is recommended to all pregnant women who are in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The shot does not cause side effects and protects against seasonal viruses in circulation.
Does pregnancy flu hurt your baby? What are the risks for the baby during pregnancy? Actually, flu, which is caused by a virus and has a physiological evolution resolved within a few days, does not cause any harm to the baby. The virus that causes the flu cannot reach the child who is protected by the placental barrier. However, a fever that is too high should be kept under control with medication, because if it should rise too much it could cause uterine contractions.
Flu in children
Flu in children is caused by a virus spreading by the air and has, as the first symptom, a rise in temperature, up to 102.2°F, accompanied by joint and muscular pain, headaches, coughs, gastrointestinal disturbances.
Children can contract flu especially by attending crowded places, where many people’s breathing promotes the spread of the virus. That’s why it is easier to get sick in winter months: they attend cinemas, schools, shopping malls and are in close contact with a large number of people. In addition, cold weather and unfavorable weather conditions help weaken the body and put the immune system to the test. In fact, epidemics of flu have an epidemic and seasonal outlook: they usually occur, towards mid-November, they peak in December and January and then decline at the end of February.
Every year flu shots are promoted by the national healthcare, which sees children, the elderly and the debilitated subjects as the main recipients. That is why at the beginning of the fall, if you are interested, it is good to talk about the vaccine with the pediatrician and to be advised on the times and the way of execution. There are also other ways to prevent flu in children by strengthening the immune system. For example, a short immunostimulatory therapy can offer a protective shield against seasonal ills. It is also important that the child follows a diet rich in fruit, especially vitamin C, which strengthens immune defenses, and covers the small, minimizing the risk of thermal swings that may pave the way for viruses.
Is it possible to prevent flu in the smallest? The question catches all of our moms at the dawn of the flu season, the first sneezing or coughing. What is certain is that school attendance and the immaturity of their immune system predispose small children to infection, but we can still do something to try to protect them.
It is good to dress the little ones in a proper way: since they often spend most of their time in school, in a closed, poorly ventilated and overcrowded place, it is easy to sweat but then get cold when they go outdoors. For this reason, the ideal clothing method is the so-called ‘onion’: a heavier jacket for outdoors and a lighter sweatshirt for indoors.
The nutrition is just as important: vitamin C-rich citruses, a well-known antioxidant well-known for its antiviral properties, and so much seasonal fruit, rich in vitamins, all valuable to boosting the immune system. A few examples? Whole grains, legumes, oilseeds, vegetables, fresh yeast, wheat germ are rich in group B vitamins (except B12) but also fresh yeast, tuna, herring, oysters, molluscs, broccoli, wheat germ, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms are rich in precious mineral salts such as iron, zinc and selenium.
Finally, it is good to remind the children frequently to wash their hands, several times a day, and keep the rooms aerated because the virus spreads by air, and avoid crowded places as much as possible.
Flu and fever in children generally last three days, but it brings with it a feeling of exhaustion that can last even for a week. Normally, we mothers are beginning to worry if a flu episode lasts for a few more days and after the clalssic five days of fever, we are wondering whether or not we should give our children an antibiotic. The doubt is legitimate, but you must always ask the pediatrician to visit and check if there is no infection in the throat or in the first airway.
Flu cannot be cured save for the symptomatic therapies and with antipyretics to lower the temperature, if it is too high. Never give antibiotics to a child to cure the flu: the cause of flu is a virus and not a bacterium, so antibiotic therapy will have no effect but to encourage the development of the organism’s resistance to antibiotics (and when it does, it will be more difficult to fight a disease caused by bacteria). The antibiotic should only be administered by a pediatrician when a bacterial infection has been reported, which causes, for example, coughs with catarrh or sore throat.
Here are some tips from experienced mothers to treat the child who has flu:
- Keep the child resting and do not let them go out, especially if it is cold, it is good to wait for the convalescence to take its course.
- Make the child drink a lot, water and fruit juices providing vitamins and sugars.
- Keep the room well humidified and aerate the environment several times a day.
- Frequently change linens, such as pillows, sheets and towels.
- Aerate the room where the child sleeps several times a day.
- Administer paracetamol when the fever rises to 100.4°F.
Natural remedies for flu
Echinacea is a good ally both in a preventive and acute phase.
Other officinal plants that are very useful for recovery are: anise, linden, and Siberian ginseng. Science confirms that elder can block both the replication of influenza viruses and that of bacteria commonly involved in the complications of this disease.
Essential oils used as home remedies for flu
The infallible ally is the essential oil of lemon. It can be put to various uses. You can pour 6 drops on the burner and enjoy the disinfectant effect.
For a healing massage, if there is a decrease in immune defenses, pour 4 drops into a tablespoon of sweet almond oil and spread downwards from the chest.
Finally, if you want to try a completely rebalancing hot bath, pour 8 drops of essential lemon oil into the hot water while the tub is filling and remain immersed for at least 10 minutes, breathing the balsamic vapors. We recommend a warm or cold (not too much) final shower to re-activate the circulation. This remedy is good for prevention and contraindicated in fever.
What to eat with flu
In fever, the body increases its temperature as a defensive mechanism and needs to be supported by a simple but effective diet in which all those foods come from the strong antibacterial and antiviral properties such as garlic, onion, chili and cloves.
Avoid anything that extends beyond normal digestive process. Prefer highly alkaline foods such as raw vegetables. Dress your meals with lemon, which disinfect and care in a very powerful way. Avoid alcoholic drinks, spirits, processed cakes, sausages (if you listen well, your body will not require them). It is important to hydrate well, drink plenty of water and eat garlic. Make your diet abundant in fruit, especially foods that contain vitamin C. Anti-viral food, such as garlic, onion, chili, cinnamon, and clove, is your first-line defense against flu.
1. Garlic is a very important nutrient reservoir for the body’s immunity, such as allicin, sulfur and vitamin B vitamins. Chili is rich in vitamins A and E, but although it is a good ally against the flu, but do not use it if you have stomach or gastritis.
2. Fish, such as tuna, herring, sardines, because they are rich in omega 3, are the main anti-inflammatory molecules that decrease inflammation and pain. Fish oil also acts on the immune system by suppressing 40% to 55% of the cytokines, a component that destroys the joints.
3. Vegetables and fruits, rich in fiber and vitamins, numerous antioxidants that protect against free radical attack, are the main protagonists of oxidative stress that also increases the overall inflammatory state.
4. Dried fruits and oily seeds, rich in omega-3 such as nuts, almonds and other seeds such as chia, sesame and flax seeds, will also help you prevent and fight influenza.
5. Turmeric inhibits an enzyme that stimulates the production of substances that facilitate inflammatory processes, thereby reducing blood levels. This mechanism of action helps explain the strong anti-inflammatory action of this plant, which can give considerable relief from typical osteo-arthritis pain.
6. Cinnamon is an excellent antioxidant and it also stimulates the immune system. It can be used to spice up your meals, but also to obtain excellent herbal teas and decoctions against the flu and other disorders affecting the respiratory system.
7. Onion contains enzymes that stimulate metabolism and play on the body a number of positive effects: antibiotic, expectorant, diuretic and depurative, hypoglycaemic. Onion and honey syrup is an ideal remedy for most respiratory problems; throat rinses with onion broth decongest the pharynx and are useful against tonsillitis.
- Do not eat sugar - there are many studies that show that even a teaspoon of sugar weakens your immune system. Specialists also claim that it is able to kill cell activity in the body for three hours after ingestion.
- Avoid some foods. Dairy products and red meat can contribute to sinus blockage.
- Remove alcohol and cigarettes that weaken the immune system
An exemplary flu menu for a day looks like this:
Take 50gr of penne rigate, 2 cloves of garlic, fresh spinach and juice of any 1 lemon, grapefruit or orange made.
Chicken soup: Boil a quarter of chicken with 1 onion, 2 r 3 cloves, 1 carrot and 1 whole celery. When the broth is ready (it takes about an hour and a half), add chopped spinach, past and cook the soup. After cooking, add 1 tablespoon of red wine, the citrus juice and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Serve with bread brushed with oil and rubbed garlic.
Mulled wine: A cup of high quality red wine is added to a quarter of lemon peel, 3 cloves, 1/4 cup cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and heat without bringing to a boil. When boiling begins, turn off the heat, preserving the bactericidal and antibiotic power of wine complemented with the antimicrobial and antiviral actions of other components.
Caramelized apple: Cut an apple with sliced peel into a pan and add a cup of red wine, a tablespoon of sugar, 2 cloves, an inch of cinnamon sticks and a quarter-lime peel. Boil until the apple is caramelized.
Natural treatments for flu with vitamin C
Vitamin C is found mainly in fresh fruits and vegetables; in particular in citrus fruits. Other vitamin C sources include kiwis, melons, berries, peppers, rapeseed, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes and spinach.
Vitamin C is particularly labile and therefore it is lost with cooking, preservation and even with exposure to air and light. Prepare an orange juice in the evening to have it for breakfast does not make any sense. It is vital that vitamin C-rich foods are consumed very fresh, if you do not want to lose the benefits. Thus, vitamin C loss occurs when foods are exposed to air for a long time or stored in copper containers that favor oxidation. To overcome this, simply simply bake the food in little water in a short time and in closed containers. To ensure that your entire body needs vitamin C, it is advisable to consume raw vegetables and fruits that contain it in quantity quantities. Kiwi, for example, is very rich in vitamin C. The vitamin is also contained in liver, kidney, milk, eggs, fish, cheeses, cereals and derivatives.
But when talking about vitamin C you can not fail to refer to its protective action towards the common cold. Although studies have shown that vitamin C does not have a significant effect on the incidence of cold, numerous studies have shown that this is capable of reducing the duration and severity of the flu.
Also, people who take little vitamin C from foods benefit from a supplementation of this in influenza states. There are numerous studies that show how vitamin C favors the functions of the immune system.
First, vitamin C takes part in the synthesis of prostaglandins and cytokines. In addition, it has been shown that vitamin C, if present at high concentrations in white blood cells, is used in the early stages of infection.
Reduced plasma concentration, on the other hand, reduces the immune response; in addition, vitamin C deficiency reduces the ability of neutrophils to kill bacteria and cytotoxic activity. Another important aspect is the antioxidant action that vitamin C plasma and cell membranes, protecting vitamin E and preventing damage to tissues resulting from the action of oxidizing substances. The recommended daily dose of vitamin C is 60 mg in adults, which increases in smoking subjects since cigarette smoking lowers blood levels of vitamin C.
8. Rosehip is a natural remedy known especially for its presence of Vitamin C. An important and indispensable ally in the winter season to combat the disorders it carries with it as cold or flu. We see the properties of rosehip, benefits and tips for use. It is found in many natural remedies that range from oral supplements to face and body creams, or in dried version for good herbal teas. We now see its properties.
The presence of vitamin C (up to almost 100 times higher than that found in citrus fruits) helps the immune system response, promoting the healing or prevention of typical winter males. In addition, vitamin C always makes the rose canine a good natural supplement in case of vitamin deficiencies, it has a good antioxidant effect and helps reduce fever and joint pain that occurs with fever.
The astringent property of rosehip is mainly due to tannins, present in flowers, berries and leaves. Rosehip also acts as a diuretic, which is helpful in case of flu when bacteria needs to be ‘flushed’. For a long time, in the popular traditions of various nations, rosehip is used as a natural diuretic remedy. This property is due to the presence of active substances including vitamin C and polyphenols. For this purpose it is advisable to prepare infusions to drink during the day.
Rosehip is available in herbalist, specialized stores and even online in various forms, including tablets, capsules, mother dyes, creams, body lotions or detergents, dried for infusions and herbs, etc. Capsules or tablets should be used according to the instructions on the packaging, as each manufacturer may vary their concentration and may therefore require a single or multiple intake during the day. Alternatively, you can find the liquid version, the best one is in the form of gemmoderivative as it contains a greater amount of active ingredient and vitamin C, to be diluted before each water intake. If you prefer rosehip tea to be consumed either hot or cold in summer, you can find it in sachets or bulk for sale at specialist stores that you always trust to purchase a safe and controlled product, above all that for internal use.
If you are experiencing the first symptoms of flu such as sore throats or weakness, it is recommended that you take rosehip in form of mother tincture or, better still, in form of a gemmoderivative, 3 times a day diluted in water or in a warm herbal teas with a spoonful of honey. Due to the presence of vitamin C, rosehip is also recommended for the prevention of influenza syndrome, to strengthen the immune system.
The use of rosehip’s diuretic effect is recommended as an infusion medium to be hot or cold during the day, in combination with other natural remedies such as karkadé and malva for a faster and more diuretic effect.
To prepare a rosehip infusion with a mild diuretic effect, place 1 tablespoon of flowers and leaves in 250ml of boiling water (about a cup) and leave for 10 minutes, then filter. Drink 2 or 3 cups a day.
Rosehip honey is a honeydew with rosehip petals. To prepare it, put 5 grams of petals in 15 ml of water and let it macerate for 24 hours. Filter and strain the macerated petals and leaves. Add 20 grams of honey to the liquid obtained and take a teaspoon of rosehip honey every day before meals.
9. Acerola for influenza is yet another rich source of vitamin C and other nutritional substances and active ingredients that help combat seasonal influenza and maladies in particular. Acerola is the fruit of a shrub or a small tree named marginalized Malpighia originating from Central America and the tropical fascia. It is very similar to a cherry, hence its other name, Barbados cherry, with a sweet and at the same time acidic taste explained by the presence of vitamin C. The properties of acerola are manifold thanks to its richness of active ingredients (bioflavonoids and tannins) and nutritional substances; in addition to Vitamin C, it contains a high percentage of vitamin A, vitamin B vitamins and mineral salts such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Acerola was used in its native soil against anemia and scholars have seen how its active principles were able to help the growth and good growth of bacterial flora by stimulating increased production of folic acid and A better absorption of iron. This activity helps against vitamin deficiencies and therefore also in cases of tiredness or asthenia, especially in children and the elderly. It also stimulates the immune system and becomes an excellent ally against influenza, colds, rhinitis and all respiratory infections.
Acerola contains 30 to 50 times the vitamin C present in citrus fruits. In the ranking of the major fruits containing vitamin C, it is not so high on the list, while its antioxidant power is the first in the list because it is more bioavailable compared to other fruits.
This presence of C richness allows it to become one of the best flu-fighting products and remedies for seasonal illneses. In fact, the action of vitamin C on the immune system and its help in fighting free radicals is well known.
If you live outside of the origin of its cultivation, it is fairly impossible to find fresh acerola on the market. However, you can try your luck with 100% acerola juice which can be found in some organic food shops. Acerola is also available in form of berry extracts soluble in water, powdered form and capsules.
10. Ginger and cinnamon. To counteract flu it is useful to consume hot and liquid foods, herbal teas and decoctions. Have you ever tried to pamper yourself with a ginger and cinnamon tea? To prepare it you need a small piece of cinnamon, two cloves, one teaspoon of green tea, and grated ginger. Prepare the boiling water and, add all the ingredients, one by one. Let it infuse for 4/5 minutes and filter the drink. Instead of dry ginger you can use a fresh ginger slice. Sweeten with honey, preferably with eucalyptus one, or with maple syrup. Ginger helps to release the bronchi and to dissolve the mucus. Honey has a mild anti-inflammatory power; It also has antibacterial and antibiotic properties. Eucalyptus is a natural decongestant.
11. Echinacea is an excellent remedy to strengthen immune defenses, prevent and combat colds, flu, and typical winter maladies. Drink one or two cups of this infused each day to prepare for the winter. In each cup of boiling water pour 1 teaspoon of dried echinacea. Allow the herbal tea to rest for 5 minutes before drinking.
12. Melissa is a plant with excellent calming and sedative properties, useful in case of colds. It stimulates sweating, an important aspect that can help lower the fever and eliminate toxins trapped in the body. For the preparation of a herbal tea, pour 1 teaspoon of dried melissa in a cup of boiling water, let it rest for 5 minutes and filter.
13. Satureja herbal tea for flu is administered in case of flu, sore throat and respiratory problems. You will need to use 4 grams of dried satureja every 100 milliliters of water. Rinse the throat with satureja infusion prepared according to the basic recipe and cooled at room temperature during 45 minutes.
Linden flowers can be bought from a pharmacy or a herbalist’s. Choose the herbs suitable for preparing herbal teas for maximal benefits for respiratory and febrile illnesses. Linden stimulates sweating and can help lower the fever. In a cup of 200-250 milliliters of water ad a teaspoon of dried linden. Let it rest for 5-7 minutes, filter and drink several times a day.
14. Eucalyptus herbal tea decongests the respiratory tract and is useful in case of colds. Eucalyptus can be combined with other herbs useful in this case, such as sage. Pour one teaspoon of dried sage and one of dried eucalyptus in a cup of boiling water, let it rest for up to 10 minutes, filter and drink. Herbal saliva is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation, in the case of hypertension and epilepsy.
In the event of influenza accompanied by feverish conditions, strawberry tree infusion has its benefits. This herbal tea is prepared by infusing 5 grams of strawberry tree flowers in 250 milliliters of water. Let it rest for 15 minutes before filtering and drinking. Sip on the tea once or twice a day as needed.
15. Chamomile and lemon has been used for centuries as useful remedies against colds, and there is solid science to back up their benefits. It is worthwhile tweaking your regular chamomile herbal tea, prepared from dried flowers or sachets, with lemon juice or a teaspoon of grated lemon zest.
Fight inflammation caused by flu with natural remedies
Inflammation is a non-specific innate defense mechanism that provides a protective response to the harmful action of physical agents (traumas, heat), chemicals (acids, etc.), toxic and biological agents (bacteria, viruses, etc.), whose ultimate goal is the elimination of the initial cause of cell or tissue damage. In case of flu, it is a reaction towards the virus that triggers inflammation.
When a injurious agent attacks the tissues, it causes an intense vascular reaction that has the function of destroying diluting and confining this agent, but at the same time triggers a series of mechanisms that favor repairing or replacing the damaged tissue.
Elementary phenomena, which form the inflammatory response, include vasodilatation and increased permeability, which result in fluid transmission from the vascular bed to the diseased tissue (edema) and leukocyte infiltration in the lesion area.
Speaking of natural anti-inflammators, it is important to remember the lack of side effects that gives them an edge over chemical anti-inflammatory drugs. In addition, the plant’s phytocomplex action is different from that of a single active ingredient. In fact, synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs have a more immediate effect, but their action lasts only a few hours, while plants are perhaps slower in expending their benefit, but certainly their effects are more lasting, even considering the fact that they can be taken for longer periods, and without contraindications.
16. Devil’s Claw: This plant is particularly active especially in situations that cause pain and inflammation caused by influenza. Devil’s claw root contains harpagosides believed to be responsible for analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system.
17. Pineapple: The pulp and stem are the elective remedy for curing all the localized inflammatory states, thanks to the absolute absence of toxicity and the great therapeutic efficacy. Bromelain, in fact, exerts a decongestant action on the circulatory and lymphatic system, stimulating inflammatory bowel drainage and resorption of hemorrhagic discharge. For this property it is used in the treatment of inflammatory processes such as those caused by the flu virus.
18. Spirea: It performs anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic action because it inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins (PGE2), responsible for pain and inflammatory tissue processes. It is therefore used in case of fever and all the diseases of cooling. To relieve painful conditions caused by influenza.
19. Malva: It has emollient and anti-inflammatory properties for all soft body tissues, thanks to flowers and especially leaves rich in mucilage. These active ingredients act by lining the mucous membranes with a viscous layer protecting them from irritating agents. For this reason it is used against cough in the catarrhal forms of the airways; to hydrate and flush the intestines.
20. Aloe vera: In the form of gel or aloe vera juice, it helps in any inflammation of the mucous membranes, such as those caused by flu.
21. Rosemary: Rosemary is a natural anti-viral and diuretic remedy, both qualities being beneficial in treating influenza. Rosemary promotes diuresis and facilitates the elimination of excess fluid and toxins, flushing the virus. Take dried or fresh rosemary (50 g). Dip the herbs into a pot of water and bring it all to the boil. Once the water boils, leave the decoction on heat for another 10 minutes. Filter and drink 2-3 times a day after meals.
Essential oils for flu
Essential oils play an anti-influenza and broad-spectrum anti-bacterial action that is capable of counteracting the attacks of viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms responsible for this symptom.
22. Cajeput essential oil: Its vapors are bactericidal to beta-hemolytic streptococci, digestive tract infections, and various types of staphylococci, as well as certain viruses responsible for influenza and fever, respiratory and urogenital system disorders.
23. Essential tea tree oil is considered to be one of the most powerful essential oils due to antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal action. For internal use, 2 drops of a honey spoon is indicated in case of respiratory tract infections causing pharyngitis and tonsillitis, fever, bronchitis, colds, sore throat, cystitis, candidiasis and herpes.
24. Thyme essential oil: It is successfully used in bacterial infections affecting urinary tract, respiratory system and intestines, caused by proteas mirabilis bacteria, enterococci, staphylococci, streptococci, pneumococci, alcaiescens dispar, neisseria, corinebatteri. The oil is also useful in the presence of cough, colds and fever.
25. Essential bergamot oil: It has long been used in popular medicine for fever, including malaria, for its antipyretic properties. The fruit of bergamot is very much used in natural cosmetics and in the kitchen.
Other practical advice to treat flu at home
Dial up your vitamin A intake – deliver to the body about 15,000-25,000 mg of vitamin A to increase immunity. However, this does not concern pregnant women who should limit this vitamin.
Prevent herpes around the mouth – weakened body immunity can cause the appearance of herpes around the mouth. To prevent it, you need to take complex amino acids.
Make foot baths – keep your feet warm. Soak them in warm water with the addition of herbs such as sage, eucalyptus, pine or rosemary. You can also use this method in your child if you get cold. You can also prepare a decoction of garlic cooked in olive oil. Then rub the prepared slurry on your before going to sleep, put on socks and wrap the feet with plastic bags.
Home remedies should only be viewed as a complimentary therapy. Talk to your doctor about the treatment plan and only use any of the cures suggested above with your doctor’s approval
You should contact a healthcare provider if any of the following applies to you:
- You have high fever that does not go down after three to five days.
- You have high fever that has gone down and then begins to rise again.
- You suddenly get a lot worse.
- You get breathing problems when you rest.
Prevention of flu takes place in the first instance while maintaining its immune system healthy, through a healthy and balanced diet associated with an active lifestyle and optimum daily stress management. Very important are basic hygiene rules, such as bringing your hands to your mouth when it sore and sneezing, always washing it before eating, after going to the toilet and on all the occasions listed in this article.