Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
Occasionally, we or our loved ones may contract the influenza (also known as flu) virus from cold weather, at the end of a season or through transmission in social gatherings. The truth is most of us have witnessed the ugly side of it and it is not a good spot to find yourself in. And with the effects of coronavirus still being felt all around the world. It has become increasingly evident how viruses can cause detrimental effects on our health. Although flu and covid-19 are caused by different viruses and have a varied speed of transmission. They are both contagious respiratory illnesses. This means that they both affect your lungs, breathing, and can be spread to others.
Just like with covid-19, some people may recover from the virus infection without the need for extensive treatment and therapy. Whilst others, such as older patients, patients suffering from chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer, morbid obesity, and other chronic illnesses and treatments may require more assistance. What ever category you fall into. It is important to keep a positive mind. Follow your treatment protocol properly and ensure that you take care of yourself, or have someone there to assist you.
The first time I was bedridden due to the flu, I had just undergone an extensive mass excision and radiotherapy treatment. My caretaker at that time, prepared for me a few simple remedies like the one’s listed below and it worked like magic. Within three days I had regained my strength and I was able to eat and take care of myself without any setbacks. Ever since then, these remedies have been working and still work for me as either prevention or as part of my treatment to get through the flu and cold season.
Lemon, ginger, and honey mixture: This mixture is my number one go for whenever I recognize symptoms of flu or cold. This is how I prepare the mixture:
- Wash the lemons and ginger thoroughly with cold water.
- Cut one lemon (with its peels) and one ginger root into small cubic slices.
- Transfer them into a cooking pot and add 2 cups of boiling water.
- Put the pot with the mixture on a stove at medium heat and allow it to boil for five minutes.
- Strain the liquid using a sieve into a cup and add a tablespoon of honey.
- Drink it while it is still warm while you sit comfortably in your blankets or warm clothing.
Steaming: This is one of the oldest tried and true methods for helping with symptoms of colds and flus. And one that my mother taught me as a child. Whilst I did not fully understand it then. After learning about how it works and its benefits, it has become my favorite remedy and self-care therapy.
While steaming, the warm moist/steam can help alleviate feelings of irritation and may also help ease swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages. This helps the mucus in your sinuses to thin and to empty easily – which allows you to breathe better. Apart from alleviating stuffy nose, some clinical studies show that steaming may also help with headaches, throat irritation, cough, and congested airways.
For this, you will need a large bowl, boiling water, and a towel to cover up.
To kill two birds with one stone, I usually like to add some lemon slices or sea salt to my water which helps with my hormonal acne.
- Pour the boiling water into the bowl (or ask someone to pour it for you) and immediately use the towel to drape it over your head and the bowl. Slowly lower your head above the bowl so that you can breath in the steam (make sure not to burn your face). Begin to inhale slowly and deeply for at least five minutes. Make sure to cover up in a warm blanket or jersey after steaming.
Rest: Resting will allow your body to retain the strength and energy needed for your immune system to fight off the flu/cold virus. Also make sure you keep warm and drink plenty of warm fluids and healthy foods like soups.
Normal flu/cold symptoms usually last for a few days and will resolve themselves without the need for prescription drugs. However if the symptoms do not disappear after 14 days, you must seek professional medical help.