Winter is coming… Technically speaking, Winter is already here! And you know what that means, it’s the cold and flu season. Every year around this time, people start getting sick here and there. And while this wasn’t something out of the ordinary in the past, the year 2020 really made it impossible to go through the common cold without extreme anxiety. A little cough or a bunch of morning sneezing could throw anyone off the edge with worry. We forgot what it was like to catch a cold and not think too much about it. But, we’ve learned to adapt and accept the way the world has become. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be adequately prepared for the cold and flu season this coming year. So, before the year starts, you might need to educate yourself a little more on the difference between the common cold, the flu, and the infamous coronavirus! Know the difference, know how to work on organic home remedies, and how to prevent getting sick this season! Get 2021 started on the right foot with a healthy mind and body. This is how you can prepare for the cold and flu season, circa 2021.
Cold and Flu Season Explained
During the colder time of the year, humidity levels go way down, which causes your nasal passages to dry up! This allows cold viruses to thrive and survive better in such conditions. The common cold and flu are the two most ‘viral’ respiratory infections that people get throughout the colder seasons. They appear to be very similar but are caused by two very different viruses – still, they’re both pretty annoying to deal with. The cold and flu both travel through droplets in the air whenever people around you cough or sneeze, even when they talk in close proximity! It’s extremely easy to catch either virus, even through touching a contaminated surface or object. The cold and flu season could extend anywhere between October and even to late May! So, don’t think you’re out of the danger zone once you get past February. The common cold isn’t as vicious as the flu (short for influenza); you can get over a cold in a few days. On the other hand, the flu can cause health problems and have you hospitalized for days, and, in severe cases, it can cause death. So, let’s get a little bit scientific-y and explain more about each!
The Common Cold
The first part of the cold and flu season explanation is understanding what a cold really is. The common cold is a virus that infects your nose and throat, AKA your upper respiratory tract.
The cold is a common infection of the upper respiratory tract. It’s a common misconception that you can catch a cold by getting cold – temperature-wise. But, that’s just old folk talk. You can catch a cold even if you layer up with your entire wardrobe! The real reason you catch a cold is due to the 200+ viruses that can infect your upper respiratory tract. The greatest culprit of the common cold is human rhinovirus – a family of over 100 different viruses that love to take up residence in your warm nose!
The second part of the cold and flu season is, of course, the flu or influenza. The flu is an extremely contagious respiratory virus that infects your respiratory system and is more aggressive than the common cold. It takes a toll on your entire body – nose, throat, and lungs – and it could be extremely fatal for people with chronic diseases. If you get a really tough case of the flu, you could develop pneumonia, ear or sinus infections, or even congestive heart failure. You could get three different types of influenza in the cold and flu season, types A, B, and C.
Influenza Type A – This is a type of flu that can infect humans, birds, pigs, and horses. The most famous type of this influenza is the H1N1, which is included in the seasonal, yearly flu vaccine.
Influenza Type B – The type B virus likes humans only – lucky us. It can make you sick, that’s for sure, but it isn’t as aggressive as the type A flu.
Influenza Type C – Type C influenza is pretty rare to come by, which is why you don’t get it in your flu shot. It causes mild illness in human beings, so it isn’t as fatal. It barely has any symptoms at all and certainly does not cause a pandemic!
Though, the thing about viruses is that they can change and evolve all the time, which makes it hard for the body’s natural defenses to keep up!
The flu is a virus you really need to prevent. There are a lot of things that affect the severity of the effects of the virus on your body. The quality of life with the ever-changing nature of influenza creates a life-threatening virus that could lead to significant health complications.
What About COVID?
So, where does COVID stand in all the cold and flu talk? Well, unless you live in some kind of parallel universe, then you already know all about COVID. But, let’s dive into it a little bit more. Back at the end of 2019, the good old days, a new virus took the world by storm because of its unprecedented transmission speed. Soon enough, if you haven’t been watching the news for the past year, the virus infected every part of the world. But, the only silver lining that we could give you is that you can’t possibly contract COVID unless you’ve been in contact with an infected person. This is why we’ve all been in lockdown, and face masks became some kind of fashion statement. It is a newly discovered part of the coronavirus family and can cause mild to moderate respiratory diseases that you could recover from at home. But, COVID can be extremely lethal to some people with underlying medical disorders or the elderly.
Symptoms of the Cold and Flu
Before you start cooking up your home remedies and preventive measures for the cold and flu season, you might want to brush up on your knowledge and learn about their respective symptoms. It’s essential to know about the flu symptoms so you can self-diagnose yourself in such cases. Of course, a professional diagnosis by your physician is always advised. The common cold isn’t a severe case that requires medical assistance, but if you’ve got the flu or, heaven forbid, COVID, you have to know the different symptoms.
Symptoms of the Common Cold
When you catch a cold, it could take up to two to three days for the symptoms to start appearing after the initial exposure. So, what should you look out for in the cold and flu season? Here are the main symptoms of the common cold:
– Runny or congested nose
– Sore throat
– Slight body aches or a mild headache
– Low-grade fever
Other symptoms could include mild body aches or fatigue, with thick yellow/greenish nasal discharge. Don’t be alarmed if your nose mucus takes a weird yellow/green color; this just means the cold runs its course.
When to Seek Medical Attention for a Cold:
Severe Symptoms for Adults
If you’re an adult with the following symptoms during your cold, then you have to contact your physician immediately and seek medical help.
– Fever higher than 38.5 – 39 C
– Shortness of breath
– Extreme pain in the throat
Severe Symptoms for Children
You shouldn’t be alarmed if your child catches a common cold! It’s very typical and most probably goes away with useful home remedies within a few days. But, if your child experiences any of the following symptoms, make sure to call your doctor at once.
– Fever higher than 38 C in newborns
– A fever that lasts more than 2 days
– Symptoms don’t get better after 2-3 days
– Unusual drowsiness
Symptoms of the Flu
If you happen to catch the flu during the cold and flu season, don’t freak out. Check your symptoms first and wait for up to two weeks. If your symptoms don’t start to wear off, you can contact your physician for a diagnosis. Symptoms of influenza include:
– Chills and sweats
– Shortness of breath
– Runny or stuffy nose
– Sore throat
Other symptoms of the flu could include dizziness, sneezing, and nausea. If you’re a healthy adult, the flu isn’t really all that scary. But, there are cases where the flu could actually be dangerous.
Cases Endangered by the Flu
– Children under the age of 5 years old
– People who take medications that contain aspirin
– Individuals older than 65 years old
– Overweight or obese individuals
– People with weakened immune systems
– People with chronic diseases
If you belong to any of the categories as mentioned earlier and suspect that you the flu, call your doctor and seek help from the start before your condition worsens.
When to Seek Medical Attention for the Flu:
Severe Symptoms for Adults
If you’re an adult and experience any of these symptoms, it means that you have to seek medical help ASAP or check into a hospital for proper treatment.
– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
– Chest pain
Severe Symptoms for Children
If your child has the following symptoms during the cold and flu season, then you most definitely have to call your doctor without hesitation. The flu is a very severe virus, especially for children! So, do not underestimate the risks that could come with the flu.
– Irregular breathing
– Blue skin
– Crying with no tears
– Fever accompanied by a rash
Symptoms of COVID-19
It isn’t enough that COVID ruined the whole year for us, but it also had to be the most confusing viral infection to detect! It has numerous common symptoms with the cold and flu, which make it pretty hard to diagnose. But, after a whole pandemic-ridden year, we have concrete indications of what the symptoms of COVID include. So, if you have these symptoms, you might have contracted COVID.
– Difficulty breathing
– Loss of taste or smell
– Congestion or runny nose
Although COVID isn’t necessarily life-threatening to healthy young-adults and adults, there are cases where COVID could be extremely fatal and lead to long-term detrimental effects on your body.
Cases Endangered by COVID
– People with heart conditions
– People with kidney diseases
– Overweight or obese individuals
– Sickle cell anemia
– People with type 2 diabetes
– Individuals who have performed solid organ transplants
If you contract COVID and know that you are at higher risk, you must be admitted to a hospital immediately before your situation worsens and you face complications.
Organic Home Remedies for the Cold and Flu
Cold and flu season sucks. No one enjoys being sick and confined to bed. So, you’re stuck in bed with a bunch of balled up icky tissue papers, congested nose, and feeling like you got hit by a bus. What can you do about it? There are many home remedies you can try out to alleviate some of the symptoms and accelerate your treatment. Of course, these suggested home remedies work only for cases that are not severe. If you have any of the severe cases we mentioned before, you have to be treated by medical professionals only. If you have normal mild cold and flu symptoms, you can try these 13 organic home remedies to feel better!
Food is the medicine of the soul and the remedy to all illnesses. Well, maybe not all of them! But, the right foods could really make all the difference. You have to make sure to keep your sustenance up during the cold and flu season to have enough energy and nutrients to recover. Some superfoods can help support your body and strengthen it to fight off the diseases and relieve their symptoms faster.
Now, this might seem like a no-brainer for individuals on the clean organic food lifestyle. But, if it isn’t clear to you, we are more than happy to explain! The last thing you want to do when you have the cold and flu is to eat food that could worsen your condition! That’s why we suggest organic food. It’s clean and free of all kinds of chemicals. You won’t have to worry about your body reacting badly to whatever horrible chemicals they put into inorganic food. You’re sick! You deserve the highest-quality food to help with your home remedy. So, always go for organic when possible – especially during the cold and flu season.
Organic Chicken Soup
The most famous home remedy for the cold and flu is organic chicken soup. It’s delicious, filling, and full of nutrients that can slow down the movement of white blood cells to work on protecting your body from the infection. When the white blood cells move slowly, they focus on specific areas of your body that need the most attention. So, whip up a nice hot bowl of organic chicken soup fill with your favorite organic vegetables. It’s highly effective in reducing symptoms of the cold and flu and keeps you hydrated at the same time! It’s especially easy to digest if
Chicken soup may not be a cure-all, but it’s a great choice when you’re sick. Research suggests that enjoying a bowl of chicken soup with vegetables, prepared from scratch or warmed from a can, can slow the movement of neutrophils in your body. Neutrophils are a common type of white blood cell. They help protect your body from infection. When they’re moving slowly, they stay more concentrated in the areas of your body that require the most healing.
It isn’t a secret that ginger roots have magical healing powers that have been used for centuries in home remedies. It is actually scientifically proven that ginger could help improve and reduce old and flu symptoms. You can eat some raw organic ginger slices or boil them in some water to make ginger tea to soothe a sore throat. Ginger tea could reduce a cough, sore throats and can even stop you from feeling nauseous.
Garlic Wards Off More Than Vampires!
Garlic can do more than just ward off an attack from vampires. Garlic has antimicrobial properties that can act as a supplement to reduce cold and flu symptoms. It has been used in alternative medicines for quite some time, and that just makes it perfect for treating the cold and flu. You can eat it raw if you feel up to it, or only include it in any dish you want.
Organic Raw Honey
Organic raw honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial that make it a definite way to treat yourself for the cold and flu symptoms and recover in no time. You can make a steaming cup of boiling water with some organic raw honey and some lemon to reduce a sore throat or a cough. You can even take a spoon of honey if you’re up for a little sweetness – totally worth it if it means that you can get better at a faster rate!
How about some organic broccoli soup for the win? You can drastically reduce the symptoms of the cold and flu using this nutrient-filled vegetable. It is full of vitamin C and E. Snack on some broccoli florets or add them to your chicken soup, and you’ll start feeling better in no time.
Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C really helps boost your immune system and helps get you through the cold and flu season for sure. ISo, if you’re sick, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers, and more. You can even do this as a preventive measure to give your immune system a little boost. It plays an essential role in your immune system’s strength and can also reduce phlegm and mucus.
Probiotics are the kind of bacteria you need to keep your immune system up and in tip-top shape! Including probiotics in your day-to-day diet decreases your chances of getting sick with the cold and flu. The best sources of probiotics are organic yogurts and other dairy products. Probiotics make sure you have good gut health and provide decent amounts of calcium you need. Make sure you get probiotic products with live bacteria or live cultures; that’s the good stuff.
Organic Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale are full of vitamin C that helps boost your immune system to fight off the cold and flu. Enhance your immunity by eating a green smoothie or some salad. Try to eat as many leafy greens as you can throughout your recovery to speed up the process.
A hot bowl of organic oatmeal could be all you need to soothe your sore throat with its immunity-boosting qualities. Oatmeal is rich with vitamin E and antioxidants that could restore all the strengths you need back to your body.
Spices can help clear up any kind of congestion up your nose or chest. You can sprinkle some pepper to help you breathe better. But, you might want to do this towards the end of your recovery since spices could actually hurt really bad when you have a sore throat. So, let’s not add to the long list of annoying side effects of the cold and flu.
Now that’s what we like to hear. CHOCOLATE! You can actually fight off the cold and flu because dark chocolate is extremely rich in antioxidants that can reduce coughing and suppress the cold and flu symptoms. Just another excuse to eat more chocolate!
Zinc is a nutrient that really helps in reducing the symptoms of the cold and flu. And luckily for you, wild salmon happens to be extremely rich in zinc. It’s the best source of zinc you could ever find. It could also help you prevent getting sick in the cold and flu season. You can see the difference in your symptoms within the first 24 hours after having a hit of zinc through a good meal of wild salmon.
Staying hydrated is the MOST IMPORTANT part of recovery! It’s essentially the only way to keep your body functioning. When you’re sick, you’re naturally prone to eat and drink less, which reduces your overall water intake. That’s why you should push yourself to stay hydrated to recover. Water helps break down congestion and wards off infections. It also detoxes your body from all kinds of impurities. So, drink your water to get better!
More on Home Remedies!
You can do more things than just eat well to recover from the cold and flu. You can do a few more home remedies to speed up the process. You can gargle some saltwater to clear up your upper respiratory infection and decrease throat pain or nasal congestion.
You can also use vapor rub to open up your air passages and reduce congestion. Vapor rub could even increase the quality of your sleep during the cold and flu season.
We covered this before, but the flu thrives in dry environments. This is why you should create more humidity in your environment to reduce explore to the flu. Add a humidifier in your room to humidify the air around you and reduce the flu’s symptoms! You can even run a warm bath to relieve cold and flu symptoms with a sprinkling of Epsom salts for a relaxing experience. Pamper yourself in the cold and flu season. You deserve it.
How to Prevent Cold and Flu?
The first step toward recovery is prevention! Why go through all the hassle when you can take a few preventive measures to save you from the cold and flu season. These preventive measures also apply to COVID, but remember to put on your mask!
Wash Your Hands – The first thing you can do to fight off the cold and flu season is to continually wash your hands with soap and water for a good whole minute. You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when you don’t have access to soap and water. Do this after you touch objects or surfaces that other people have touched.
Disinfect Your Belongings – Everything in your house has to be disinfected regularly. You can use a mix of vinegar and water for a natural way to clean around your home through the cold and flu season.
Social Distancing – You shouldn’t come in close proximity with people who might be sick, especially in the cold and flu season. It’s pretty easy to catch a virus when you aren’t practicing social distance.
Care for Your Body –
Eat well, sleep well, and drink well. Those are the three practices that can keep your body healthy enough to fight off any type of virus that comes your way in the cold and flu season.
Cold and Flu Takeaway
So, what should you take from all this? When it comes to cold and flu season, it isn’t sure that you won’t get sick. But, we have had enough practice through the year 2020. This is why preventing the cold and flu won’t be any different from trying to avoid getting the cold and flu. Just keep in mind to eat right and clean food, and always stay hydrated. This way, you know that your body has enough strength to fight off any infection that comes your way. Use these organic home remedies to help you fight off the cold and flu symptoms if you get sick. You can also use them to boost your immunity in 2021. Face the new year with reinforced strength and power to fight off whatever this year throws our way!