Winter cold and flu viruses can cause annoying, debilitating, or even dangerous symptoms. Fortunately, there are ways to head off colds and prevent complications.
If you think you may have been exposed to a virus, for example someone sneezes on you, one of your kids has a cold, or you shake hands with someone who is coughing, you can use xylitol nasal spray (Xlear) to ward off the cold. Xylitol inhibits the reproduction of viruses and bacteria.
The initial symptoms of a viral illness may include runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, foggy thinking, tiredness, aching muscles, headache, and fever with chills. As soon as you get any of these symptoms start taking vitamin C and elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra). Elderberry is available in liquid extracts and syrups that children can take, or as tablets or capsules, often combined with Echinacea. Elderberry is an antiviral herb that has been proven to reduce the symptoms of colds and flus, and Echinacea stimulates white blood cell production to encourage the body’s fight against infection. The easiest form of vitamin C for children to take is Emergen-C flavored, powder packets, which also contain vitamin A, zinc, and elderberry. Avoid using chewable vitamin C, which can eat away tooth enamel. Colloidal silver or a liquid silver in water preparation (Silvercillin by Designs for Health) will provide additional antiviral support.
Yin Qiao is the premier Chinese herbal formula for treating the initial stages of colds and flu. Gan Mao Ling is a stronger formula for treating flu. These herbal formulas can be found in many health food stores in tablet or capsule form. Follow the directions on the label. Children’s doses are usually half the adult dose. Health Concerns makes a combination Yin Qiao and Gan Mao Ling tablet (Cold Away), as well as a Yin Qiao Jr liquid extract. Other manufacturers make similar products for children, for example Chinese Medicine Works’ Windbreaker, available through Amazon and other online retailers.
The most commonly indicated homeopathic medicine for the first stage of colds with watery nasal discharge is Allium cepa. Children often respond well to homeopathic Pulsatilla, especially if the nasal discharge is becoming a little thicker.
If a cold or flu is followed by continuing congestion or cough, then Chinese herbal decongestant formulas or cough formulas may be needed. For the treatment of these secondary symptoms seek out a Chinese herbalist, a homeopath, or a holistic or naturopathic doctor.