Relief for Colds and Flu

October 20, 2017

Colds and flu can happen at any time of year, with symptoms varying from fever, sore throat, nasal discharge, upper respiratory irritation, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, sneezing, blocked ears, sinusitis and headache. Bodily aches and pains can add to the misery of colds and flu causing significant distress. A report commissioned by Pathology Awareness Australia has estimated that workers turning up to work sick are costing the economy $34 billion a year in terms of business loss and other effects.

If you find yourself with symptoms of cold and flu, it is important to see your doctor for advice, get a medical certificate and ensure that you take time off work to stop the spread of the virus to other people. Your doctor can prescribe anti-viral drugs if they are applicable, or if there is an infection warranting them, antibiotics to destroy the bacteria.

While you are recovering from either a cold or flu infection and having time off work, there are a number of adjunct treatments you can take at home to alleviate symptoms. These include over the counter remedies, and natural home remedies.


Home Remedies for Cold and Flu

An old fashioned remedy you can prepare at home is tea sweetened with honey, with a dash of lemon juice. Honey has a number of anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, and the honey soothes the throat as you sip the warm tea. The lemon juice has a large number of micronutrients in it which support health, including vitamin A, E, C, B6, folate, niacin, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and protein. It helps to promote perspiration, thereby breaking a fever in a person suffering from either the flu or the common cold.

To add additional restorative agents to the tea, a few slices of ginger in the tea will help to ease a cough and or a sore throat. A saline nasal wash ( that you can make at home or purchase over the counter from the chemist will provide relief from nasal congestion, and can be applied when having a shower. Combined with the steam from the shower, using the saline nasal wash will loosen mucus and ease the pain of sinusitis.

Another home remedy to help ease a sore throat is a salt water gargle; mixing one quarter to half a teaspoon of salt in a 250ml glass of warm water and gargling will relieve a sore throat. The salt acts as a drawing agent for the water in the tissues of the throat, pulling the virus out of the cells, and then destroying them.


Symptom Relief for Cold and Flu

If symptoms are giving you a lot of grief, having a pain reliever as well as as utilising some other methods of relief will provide ease. A salve under the nose, such as menthol, eucalyptus or camphor oil have analgesic properties, and also relieve nasal congestion. Hot and cold compresses on the sinuses can also relieve pain and alleviate stuffiness.

A hot shower can also provide some temporary relief, helping to ease bodily aches and pains, and assist in unblocking respiratory passages. Pain relievers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen also help to relieve aches, pains and fever.

Over the counter remedies for cold and flu include decongestants, cough suppressants, or cough linctus (used to break up phlegm laden chest infections), saline nasal washes, analgesics, antihistamines (to reduce the body’s inflammatory reactions) and asthma puffers (which can be used to relieve inflamed bronchi).


Cold and Flu Prescription Medication

The seasonal flu can be treated with a drug class called antiviral medication. These include Oseltamavir, zanamavir and amantadine. Anti-viral medications inhibit the synthesis of a protein necessary for viruses to replicate. They shorten the duration of a viral infection. Other types of cold symptoms can be caused by bacterial infections.

Antibiotics work in a number of ways, depending on the type of bacteria. Often antibiotics work to destroy the outer layer of the bacterial cell wall, or destroy its DNA. Bacteria often mutates, which can cause antibiotic resistance. New forms of antibiotics are being developed to overcome bacterial resistance, and they are now often only prescribed when they are absolutely necessary.

Prescription painkillers can be given by a doctor to a patient who is exhibiting a lot of pain due to having a viral or bacterial infection. Painkillers are given to provide relief from pain and aches. They can also work to moderate temperature, and reduce fever.


Preventing Cold and Flu Infections

Short of trying to get rest, taking symptom relieving medications and remedies, or being prescribed anti-virals or antibiotics to eradicate a flu; preventing a cold or flu is a far better way of maintaining your health. There are a number of different ways you can prevent getting a cold or flu infection.

  • Getting a flu injection to vaccinate yourself against seasonal flu
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, as it makes you more susceptible to getting an infection because it lessens the quality of sleep that you get
  • Drinking hot tea and breathing in the steam stimulates the cilia in the nose, which help to clean out the sinus passages more effectively
  • Have a diet rich in complex proteins as a diet lacking in proteins can affect the immune system
  • When attending a gym, ensure that you use antibacterial wipes or a towel to prevent getting contaminated from other people’s bacteria or viral infections
  • Sanitise your office and work space in order to destroy viruses and bacteria
  • Use hand sanitiser which is a well proven method of removing viruses, microbes, and bacteria off your hands
  • Take a zinc supplement which helps to boost the immune system
  • Use a nasal irrigation daily to remove viruses and bacteria from the sinus passages
  • Drink juice which has a number of fruit and vegetables in it to boost micronutrient intake
  • Use lavender essential oil as a hand sanitiser or surface disinfectant
  • Get a massage in order to improve circulation and remove toxins from the lymphatic system
  • Meditate to help reduce oxidative stress and improve immunity
  • Try running to break out a sweat, or use a sauna to remove all the toxins from the body
  • Ensure that you get a sufficient number of hours of sleep
  • Clean your phone with a sanitiser
  • Ensure you wash your hands before and after eating, touching your face, after going to the toilet, and after touching public surfaces
  • Make sure you eat a really healthy diet to help boost the immune system
  • Have a strong social network, social isolation can cause a lot of stress which can make you more prone to being ill
  • Eradicate stress by joining a wellbeing group, meditating and getting counselling
  • Try to find something to laugh about every day; laughter and joy helps to reduce stress and boost immunity
  • Reduce sugar out of the diet, use honey instead. Sugar reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and spikes blood sugar levels, causing irritability and stress



If you are concerned about any symptoms of a cold or flu, ensure that you see your doctor. Your doctor can reassure you and give you advice on simple treatments to relieve symptoms. Ensure that if you are unwell, to stay away from work so you do not spread your infection to other employees. There are easy ways of treating symptoms including pain relievers, decongestants and home remedies such as honey and lemon tea, and salt gargles.

If you are suffering from a cold or flu, be sure to get enough rest and take pain relief, drink plenty of fluids, and wash your hands, and practice cough and sneezing etiquette by coughing or sneezing into a tissue and disposing of it immediately.

Preventing colds or flu is relatively simple, and just by following a few easy health tips you reduce your likelihood of contracting an infection.