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Cold vs Flu

So you may be sick and wondering- Do I have a "cold" or is it the "flu"?

The Common Cold is a minor viral infection usually caused by a type of Rhinovirus. Typical Symptoms are sore throat, headache, cough, congested head & sinus / nasal, watery discharge, sneezing, low grade fever & muscle aches & soreness and general weakness & low energy.

The “Flu” is a viral respiratory infection, caused by a type of influenza virus; maybe a type A or B strain if from an animal. The Symptoms are the same as for colds, except more sudden & more severe. (Know when to see a Doctor!)

Bacterial Infection vs. Viral Infection

Local to area Widespread / systemic

Stays where initiated Spreads all over

Short high fever Persistent low grade fever

Mucous is thick, sticky & colored Thin, clear mucous

Treating Colds/ Flu

Those more susceptible to colds/flu: smoke, high stress levels, chronic lung illness & people with decreased immunity.

1. Treat symptoms. Drink teas & use steam aromatherapy. Take baths with essential oils and Himalayan pink salt (see blog) or Epsom salts.

2. Increase immunity. Increase your Vitamin C intake (don’t take EFA’s during colds/flu); take immune enhancing herbs as teas, tinctures or capsules. Dress warmly.

3. Flush out mucous. Chicken soup really works, feed a cold starve a fever. Drink fluids & herbal teas(avoid sugar). Don’t suppress coughs, use expectorants. Flush used tissues into toilet, avoid spreading to others- stay home if you are contagious. Eat hot and spicy foods and herbs!

PRE-CAUTIONS: Don’t give aspirin to children showing viral infections, as this could develop into Reye Syndrome which is potentially fatal.

See a Doctor if you are experiencing:

  • Heavy Chest congestion or Wheezing (could develop into severe illness).

  • Persistent Fevers above 102˚F for more than 3 days.

Try to avoid mucous increasing foods, sugar, dairy products & EFA supplements (oil holds virus in mucous) during the flu.

Be active during a cold to move the mucous out of the body and feed it. For the Flu,”rest is best and starve a fever”.

Herbs that are Immunity Boosters Astragulus (long term), Cayenne, Cinnamon, Echinacea (short term), Elder berry, Eleuthero, Garlic & Onions, Licorice, Olive Leaf (long term), Pau D’Arco, Reishi, Shitake & Maitake Mushrooms, Thyme, Usnea

Herbs for Sinus & Fevers Boneset, Chamomile, Chinese Chrysanthemum,

Elderflower, Ephedra (use wth caution), Honeysuckle Flower, Nettle, Peppermint, Sage, Spearmint, Rose Hip, Yarrow

Herbs for Lungs & Sore Throat Angelica, Anise, Catnip, Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Ginger, Goldenrod, Horehound, Lemon Balm, Lungwort, Mullein, Pleurisy Root, Schisandra, Violets, Wild Cherry Bark.


FEVER Rare Common

COUGHING Hacking, Productive (mucus-producing) cough often present Dry and hacking cough is often present

ACHES Slight Body Aches & PainsModerate Body Aches are common

STUFFY NOSE Commonly present & typically resolves within a week. A runny nose is commonly present

CHILLS Chills are Uncommon but possible Mild to moderate

TIREDNESS Mild Moderate to High

SNEEZING Commonly Present Commonly Present

ONSET of SYMPTOMS Symptoms develop over a couple of days. Develop over a few days.

HEADACHE Fairly Uncommon Fairly Common

SORE THROAT Commonly Present Commonly present

CHEST DISCOMFORT Mild to moderate Moderate- Severe (seek medical attention immediately!)

This article is for educational purposes, not intended for self diagnosis. See your physician whenever needed.

Shop at Herbal Elements for Teas, Tinctures and Supplements

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