19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu

Stay well this winter with these proven strategies for preventing colds and flu, and some simple, natural cold and flu remedies.

| December 2012/January 2013

bowl of hearty soup

Soup’s on! A warm, hearty soup packed with cold- and flu-fighting foods can be both comforting and curative.

Photo by Dreamstime/Tatyana Vychegzha

The telltale scratchy throat. Miserable nasal congestion. Lethargy tinged with aches and chills.

We all know the signs of a cold or flu settling in, about to derail us — however temporarily — from our day-to-day lives. If your first thought when cold or flu symptoms arise is to reach for an over-the-counter formula, consider this: In the United States, we spend billions every year trying to knock out these maladies, but most of that money goes to treatments that only suppress symptoms and do little to spur healing.

With the following preventive measures and simple, natural cold and flu remedies, you can save money, take control of your health, and trim your time spent feeling under the weather this cold and flu season.

Cold and Flu Prevention Strategies

Colds and flu spread primarily via droplets released in the air when someone who is ill coughs, sneezes or talks, and via surface contact (touching something a sick person has touched). The surest natural way to lessen your odds of falling ill is to tweak some of your habits.

Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Instead of covering your cough with your hand, turn your head and cough into your elbow, which will sequester a virus just as well. Your elbow, however, is far less likely than your hands to come in contact with people or surfaces.

Wash up often. The more frequently you wash your hands, the lower your risk of becoming sick. Remember: Colds and flu are caused by viruses — not bacteria — so banking on antibacterial soap as a safeguard against colds and flu won’t be effective. Studies have shown that washing your hands with an antibacterial soap is no better at preventing infectious illnesses than scrubbing with plain soap and water. Moreover, there’s mounting evidence that triclosan — the main active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps — may facilitate the growth of resistant bacteria.

11/13/2017 4:16:48 PM

I find ginger tea made from the real ginger root excellent to boost the immune system!

11/13/2017 9:50:18 AM

Oregano oil. Read Sarah Britton. A lot of our issues can be solved by diet.

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10/20/2015 4:01:26 PM

Water and oil don't mix. So putting juniper EO in water, no matter how much you shake it, isn't going to dilute the juniper EO to a safe level, especially for a mucus membrane. Better would be to just use it in a diffuser. With very very few exceptions, no essential oil should be applied, internally or externally, without significant dilution (like 1 to 3% of the total volume is essential oil).

5/26/2015 9:23:49 PM

Great article - as winter hits us here in the Southern hemisphere it's great to be reminded of the the basics and some newbies to help prevent those winter bugs. I wrote a recent blog on the importance of supporting your immune system as each winter the new bugs descend! http://blog.naturalchemist.com.au/fighting-for-immunity/

4/9/2015 7:02:31 AM

I have tried shungite water, I noticed the effect. However I suppose that it is still an additional remedy which need to be combined with common treatment of a disease. There is some information about it here: http://shungit-store.com/shungite-new.html

4/3/2015 7:15:37 AM

Thank you, very informative, I have a question – has anyone tried shungite water? One of my friends advised me to try it, in his case it helped. If anybody faced this situation and tried it please advise.

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