What is Flu?
Influenza, or flu, is a debilitating viral illness, spread by airborn particles from coughs and sneezes, and through contact. The virus can be transmitted before any symptoms show themselves, which usually start becoming obvious on day three.
- Feelings of tiredness and general weakness
- Coughing and sneezing
- Sore throat
- Blocked nose and sinuses
How Long Does Flu Last?
The most severe symptoms of the flu may last for up to two weeks. However, the accompanying symptoms, such as general fatigue and headaches, can last for an additional week.
Flu is more serious than the common cold, but most people recover well. Contrary to popular belief, colds and the flu are not the same things, and are caused by different viruses. However, for those in high risk groups, it’s important to seek medical advice.
High risk groups include those suffering from:
- Chronic lung, heart or kidney disease
- Severe anemia
- Severe metabolic disorders
- Weakened immune systems (HIV/AIDS/chemotherapy patients)
- Infants and the elderly
Home Remedies for Flu
Being that it is a common illness, there has been lots of research focused on how to treat flu with easily accessible home remedies.
1. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey has been recognized, and valued, over the centuries for its healing properties. Possessing far greater antimicrobial and antiseptic properties than standard honey, it’s extremely effective at treating viruses, such as flu. There is even an internationally recognized grading system to grade the purity with seven being the lowest, and 16+ referring to the highest quality honey.
Either take a spoonful of neat honey, or if this is too sweet, dilute it in a cup of warm water. Sip it slowly throughout the day and it’ll ease your sore throat and cough, whilst effectively fighting the virus causing these symptoms.
Made from the berries of the elder tree, this syrup is packed full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and vitamin C, making it ideal for supporting a healthy immune system and great for fighting the flu virus and its symptoms. In studies, elderberry syrup has been shown to shorten the longevity of flu, along with successfully treating the sinus infections that often accompany flu.
Garlic is well known for its antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties. Containing powerful antioxidants, vitamin C, selenium and zinc, amongst other beneficial minerals, adding a garlic supplement to your regular health regime can actually prevent you catching the flu virus in the first place. However, even once the flu symptoms can’t be ignored, starting to take the supplement can help suppress them, and positively affect the longevity and severity of the virus.
With immunity boosting properties and full of therapeutic flavinoids, echinacea is often used as a regular dietary supplement to prevent viruses and colds. Research suggests that it can reduce the chances of catching a cold by approximately 50%, and can shorten the lifespan of viruses, such as flu. As with garlic, though, it’s never too late to start taking it, even if you’re already suffering with flu.
5. Vitamin C
Playing an important role in the function of your body, vitamin C is found in many citrus fruits, especially lemons, and leafy green vegetables. Also known as ascorbic acid, it is necessary for enzyme function, tissue repairs and to support a healthy immune system. If you lead an active lifestyle, it is also important for muscle function and rapid repairs, and for all of us, it supports healthy skin, hair and vision.
Research suggests that adding vitamin C to your diet, either by including more fruit and veg, or taking a supplement can, in many cases, prevent colds and flu, or at the very least, lessen the symptoms greatly. Try adding some fresh lemon to your dilute manuka honey drink to provide an extra vit C boost.