The change in seasons has brought with it a few bugs causing coughs and colds for many of my clients. Some people choose to head to the pharmacy for ‘cold and flu’ medication and/or cough mixture. These have many known side effects and while they minimise the presenting symptoms, they don’t address the bacteria or virus itself.
When you have a Fever:
In the case of a high temperature, chills, shivers and sweats associated with the ‘flu, over-the-counter pills may prolong the length of the illness. Do you know why your body reacts with a temperature? Viruses can only survive within a small temperature range. They are killed off by high temperatures, hence our bodies’ clever mechanism of heating up to stop the bug in its tracks. By suppressing your temperature with medication, you are preventing your body doing what it is trying to do to make you better. You may find your illness lasts a few days or longer.
So what’s the alternative? When you feel the beginning of a cold or ‘flu, have a bath with two mugs of Epsom salts, wrap up really warm with lots of layers, a hot water bottle and blankets. Go to bed and sweat it out! Try and sleep as much as possible, then in the morning have a good shower and wash all your sheets.
Most probably you will feel exhausted and still a bit achey. Hopefully the shivers and sweats will have stopped. Keep warm, have some herbal teas and a few light snacks of fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetable sticks through the day. Take lots of naps and line up your favourite films to watch. Within 24 hours, you should be feeling back to your old self!
Trials have also shown a warm honey and lemon drink to be just as beneficial as over-the-counter medicines to soothe a sore throat.
Thankfully my immune system is very strong and I very rarely succumb to these bugs but earlier in the year, I had the pleasure of my first ‘flu with vomitting, on the final evening of a long weekend in France (typical!). Let’s just say winding roads and a bumpy flight home made for an experience I’m not keen to repeat. Anyway, after telling many people of the advice above, I was able to put it into practice myself! And it honestly 100% worked. While I felt horrendous for 24 hours, by the following evening I was energised, my appetite returned and I was completely back to full fitness.
This advice is great for common colds and ‘flu in adults. Children are much less able to control their body temperature and a high fever can be very dangerous indeed so this should not be used for them or for vulnerable adults or the elderly. Equally, if your temperature gets very high or you are experiencing extreme symptoms such as a rash, vomitting or diarrhoea, you must consult your Doctor immediately, as this could be a sign of something much more serious than a cold or ‘flu. As ever, use your common sense.
The NHS recommends you to consider seeing your GP if you’re at a higher risk of becoming more seriously ill. This includes people who:
- are 65 or over
- are pregnant
- have a lung, heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease
- have a weakened immune system
- have diabetes