What if, by the time you read this, it’s already too late: you have that familiar sore, scratchy throat; you’re starting to feel hot-and-cold; and you’re getting those nasty aches and pains all through your body?
First of all, get some rest! ‘Soldiering on’ is just plain stupid. Cancel as many tasks as you possibly can and get to bed early.
Secondly, obey the natural loss of appetite that accompanies all acute illnesses. Your body can’t handle food right now and will not benefit from it – just the opposite. Fasting on water alone is best (preferably warmed to body temperature); diluted freshly-made juices may be sipped throughout the day if you can’t fast. Teas made from elderflower, boneset, angelica or fresh ginger have been traditionally prescribed during the fever phase of influenza.
Thirdly, several herbs and nutrients have been found to shorten the duration of upper respiratory tract infections if taken early in the course of the illness. These include andrographis paniculata; a standardised extract of Echinacea purpurea known as echinamide; and vitamin C. These botanicals and nutrients, together with olive leaf and zinc (which have antiviral, antihistamine and immune-stimulant qualities) are available in combination in some practitioner-only products. People prone to colds and flu should keep these products in the cupboard as a back-up, while they work on optimising their diet and lifestyle.
With a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables and other minimally processed plant foods; regular moderate exercise; sufficient good quality sleep; and attention to assuring good vitamin D levels through moderate sun exposure and supplementation as required, you can stop worrying about the flu. Good health is truly the only immunity.