Colds and flu are pretty common in the colder months of the year. Both infections are airborne ailments that spread via coughing and sneezing. Colds affect the upper respiratory system, which includes the nose and the throat. Flu is more dangerous, and it involves the lungs as well. If not treated properly, it may cause death, especially in elderly and small children, because of their weak immunity.
What causes colds and flu?
It is usually a virus that causes both ailments. Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that there are 100 viruses that may cause common cold.
Viruses cause flu as well. The World Health Organization explains that we are usually affected by three common viruses, A, B, and C. Type A influenza is the most severe flu-causing viruses, and it has several subtypes of stains. According to researchers, type A influenza caused the global flu outbreaks in 1918, 1957, and 1968.
Flu or cold?
How can you know if you have a cold or flu? Both infections are manifested through sneezing, coughing, fever-like feeling, and unwillingness to move.
But, you have to know whether you are bothered with cold or flu. Colds are rather milder than flu. If you are dealing with a cold, you will feel better after a few days, but if you have flu, you may be attached to your bed for weeks. A flu can often develop in other severe ailments like pneumonia, which often requires a hospitalization.
A cold is accompanied with rather unpleasant symptoms, but it is not dangerous at all. Here are the most common symptoms of cold, which you may have in the weeks after being infected:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose, excess mucus and phlegm
- Swollen sinuses
- Sneezing / Coughing
- General tiredness
Adults do not have their body temperature at a higher level, but children often have a higher body temperature.
Colds may last somewhere between 2 days and 2 weeks. A common cold is likely to go away within 10 days.
Flu is accompanied with some of the symptoms you experience when dealing with a cold, but it is still pretty different than a common cold.
Here are the symptoms that are common in cases of both cold and flu:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy / Runny nose
These are the symptoms that you have in cases of flu:
- High fever
- Chills (caused by the fever)
- Muscle and joint pain
When you catch a cold, you usually do not go to your doctor. But, if you still decide to go, the doctor will set diagnose based on the way you describe your symptoms. You can use a few natural treatments to prevent and treat colds and flu.
Have you ever tried essential oils? These are obtained from plants, and provide awesome benefits in the treatment of both cold and flu. Essential oils are packed with antibacterial and antiviral properties. Use them to protect yourself from viruses, and recover if you already have an infection. Some people add essential oil to their humidifier to prevent the air from drying out, and eliminate germs.
As you may know, viruses like dry environment. Inhalations also relieve respiratory issues, and you can apply them topically in order to reap their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Oral application of essential oils is popular in German and France. We give you the top 5 essential oils that you may want to have during the season of colds and flu.
Oregano has been long used for its antibacterial properties and ability to relieve respiratory infections. Some refer to it as a “natural antibiotic.” Add a few drops of oregano oil to a glass of water. Drink this to soothe sore throat, mouth sores, congestion, and treat sinus infections. Use an ounce of water if you are doing a gargle. Oregano oil is super strong, and experts suggest that their patients use it diluted. It should not be used for too long as well. Michele Lynde, a clinical herbalist, recommends 4-6 drops of oregano oil.
This dose should be taken for up to 10 days in cases of acute diseases, as reported in the Huffington Post. According to a 2009 study, oregano oil inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause the respiratory infection. Two studies conducted in 2008 and 2012 showed that it can destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Clove essential oil is known for its antimicrobial properties. It is often added in homemade gargles that soothe sore throat and irritation. Some people adore its cooling effect and anti-inflammatory power. It works as an expectorant in the treatment of many respiratory issues, including colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.
It boosts immunity. According to a 2007 study, clove oil provides antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Scientists are amazed with its ability to destroy resistant bacteria. Experts at the Department of Infectious Diseases of the University of Heidelberg did a study based on the antiviral activity of essential oils, and they found that clove, oregano and eucalyptus essential oil deserve a spot in the top of the list.
It has so many healing properties. Eucalyptus essential oil acts as an anti-inflammatory, decongestant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, immune-boosting, and antibiotic agent. It eases breathing, and relieves respiratory ailments like colds, flu, sinus issues, asthma, throat infections, and cough. Using it as a vaporizer and adding it to your humidifier are the best ways to use this oil in the treatment of respiratory ailments.
A 2010 article published in Alternative Medicine Review explains that the antimicrobial power of this oil can help in the fight against many bacteria and viruses. Eucalyptus oil can relieve bronchitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is an inflammatory lung disease. It fights tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Experts at the University of Maryland Medical Center say that peppermint essential oil can relieve colds and flu because it is an amazing expectorant and decongestant. It loosens phlegm, and relieves cough. Use this oil to soothe sore throat or dry cough. Reduce a fewer by massaging a few drops of peppermint oil on the bottom of your feet or the back part of your neck. Why would you rub these two spots?
They absorb the oil better than any other body part. Did you know that peppermint oil can also relieve a headache? Read the 2009 article in the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research to learn more about its benefits. When applying it orally, do not use more than 6-12 drops. If you are more interested in inhalations, use 3-4 drops.
It is packed with strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties as well. Same as eucalyptus essential oil, juniper berry oil fights MRSA, and other antibiotic-resistant infections. Inhale it using a vaporizer to treat bronchitis symptoms. Brandi Ryans, a holistic practitioner, says that the combination of juniper and eucalyptus oil can help in treating deep chest colds. This mighty combination relieves a congestion, because it loosens the mucus. It also treats bronchial inflammation and coughing.
Source: Balanced Living Life