Natural Cold & Flu Remedies
I'm Sick. What Now?
What works, what doesn’t, and what will help you recover as fast as possible from a cold or flu?
Flu and cold season has been battering our communities with prolonged and persistent illness. It seems to be that way every year. Ariana Eunjung Cha addressed the 2022-2023 cold and flu season in a The Washington Post article, saying:
…[the 2022-2023 cold and flu season] has been one of prolonged misery for many American families, full of sniffles, sore throats, coughs and trips to the emergency room as bugs kept at bay during the pandemic have been unleashed by the resumption of our old lives.
The best defense against getting sick is a good offense (getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, doing regular hand washing, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, etc.). Unfortunately, even then the best offensive approach isn’t foolproof.
The typical flu season runs from October through May. And the chances that you or someone you know will get sick have spiked considerably. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of January 13, 2023, “so far this season, there have been at least 24 million illnesses, 260,000 hospitalizations, and 16,000 deaths from flu.”
8 Natural Flu Remedies
1. Replenish Nutrients with Drip IV Therapy
When it comes to getting sick, the real danger isn’t typically the flu itself, it’s secondary infections. These secondary infections can take such a deep hold over your body because sickness depletes you of fluids, vitamins, and nutrients – the essentials your immune system needs.
This is why the most important time to take advantage of IV Drip Therapy is when you’re actually sick. IV Vitamin Drips are a natural way to fight the stomach flu. They instantly help with hydration. Plus, they deliver many of the key nutrients you need to get healthy and stay healthy.
According to a case report published in June of 2018 in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, intravenous therapies were shown to help treat acute viral infections.
2. Sleep (on a slight incline)
Whether you’re interested in flu prevention tips or natural flu remedies, we can’t stress the importance of sleep enough. Sleep is when your body heals. When you don’t get enough sleep, your putting yourself at serious risk.
The University of Washington Health Sciences and UW Medicine’s 2017 study ‘Chronic sleep deprivation suppresses immune system’ was published in Science Daily. The study looked at identical twins with differing sleep habits. It revealed that “the twin with shorter sleep duration had a depressed immune system, compared with his or her sibling.”
However, you may think twice before lying down all day. A recent New York Times article, ‘In the Flu Battle, Hydration and Elevation May Be Your Best Weapons’ warns spending too much time lying horizontally may be detrimental to your respiratory tract. This is in large part because it can cause you to cough in excess, putting unnecessary stress on your lungs, chest, and throat.
In order to get the most benefits from sleep while sick, try and sleep on a slight incline. This can be achieved by raising the head of your bed slightly or using pillows to prop yourself up.
Like sleep, hydration is essential. From an upset tummy to a fever-induced sweat, you can quickly become dehydrated while sick.
The Drip IV Therapy mentioned above offers a quick and natural way to rehydrate. However, this won’t be enough – especially between visits. We recommend drinking as much water as you can.
In addition to water, herbal teas can be a great option for extra fluids. Just make sure they are caffeine free. Infused water is another tasty alternative. You may also find fruit juice to be a good choice, as it provides vitamins and liquids.
4. Stay Home
Make no mistake about it; staying home from work can be difficult. Many of us have bills to pay and deadlines looming. But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that staying home when you’re sick is best for everyone. Powering through can prolong your illness and spread it to others.
5. Load Up on Nourishing Foods — Especially Soup
Broth-based soup is an excellent choice when sick. According to a January 2023 article, ‘What Should I Eat or Drink When I Have a Cold?’ published in The New York Times, “Soup is soothing, and backed by a bit of science.”
Containing a powerhouse of protein, carbohydrates, fats, veggies — and water — soup can help both restore key nutrients and boost hydration levels. (Not to mention the fact that it can soothe a sour throat and warm you from the inside out.)
And these benefits aren’t just an old wives’ tale. Both bone broth and chicken soup are rich in glycine, which research suggests improve sleep quality. Furthermore, scientists at the University of Nebraska found that chicken soup was able to inhibit the migration of a body’s immune cells. The study also suggests that this could be due to chicken soup’s natural anti-inflammatory properties.
What’s more — broth made from bones is rich in collagen, a nutrient needed for the growth of connective tissues. It’s a good source of gelatin, which helps collagen maintain its structure so you can get the maximum benefits. Additionally, bone broth has Glycine, an amino acid that is present in a healthy nervous system.
A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.
6. Wear a Scarf
Chinese medicine professionals will often recommend patients wear scarves – especially when they feel they’re getting sick. Why? Because it’s believed that cold temperatures touching the back of the neck cause sickness. While no study has proved this concretely, patients have found that this can help them avoid getting sick and recover from the flu more quickly.
7. Show Your Respiratory Tract Some Love
The flu – especially if you have the stomach flu – can do a number on your respiratory tract. From coughing to throwing up, you can damage your internal organs, as small tears in the tissue and swollen glands are formed.
Botanical tinctures are a natural way to help soothe your respiratory tract so it can heal. The tinctures can also enhance digestion so that you can better process your food.
8. Boost Your B12 Levels with a B12 Injection
Research shows “Vitamin B12 can help balance immune responses to better fight off a viral infection.” Unfortunately, B12 deficiencies aren’t uncommon. According to the National Institutes of Health:
In the United States and the United Kingdom, approximately 6% of adults younger than 60 years have a vitamin B12 deficiency, but the rate is closer to 20% in those older than 60.
Furthermore, we have found among those visiting our clinic, the percentage of B12 deficiency tends to be even higher. Vitamin B12 injections are the quickest and more effective way to give the body a boost of this key nutrient. Furthermore, they are an ultra-affordable natural treatment for cold and flu recovery.
What Not To Do When You’re Sick
Don't Push Your Body Before You’ve Fully Recovered
There’s an old adage that you can “work out a cold.” Especially among athletes, working out hard to clean out congested lungs is touted as a tough-love natural remedy. Unfortunately, science proves that the brain is better than the brawn with this one.
While researchers have found that a mild cold does not always have to relegate you to the sidelines, pushing yourself to the max while still sick can be detrimental to recovery. A research article published in Sports Medicine, Training and Rehabilitation found that intense workouts while sick —or even shortly after recovering — could encourage a variety of unwanted side effects:
- New Illness
- Lingering Symptoms
- Unexplained Pain
Additionally, fatigue has been shown to directly correlate to an increased rate of injury — in all walks of life (athletics, daily activities like driving, manual labor, etc.)
Avoid Alcohol (especially in excess) While Sick
Do you crave a hot toddy when you’re sick? You’re not alone. Adding a splash of whiskey to honey and hot water is a go-to herbal remedy for many suffering from a cold. But research is very clear that alcohol can directly suppress various immune responses.
Alcohol can be dangerous when mixed with a variety of medications, especially those that include acetaminophen. And, alcohol is a natural diuretic, meaning it dehydrates you.
So rather than indulge in a splash of spirits, your better option is a nonalcoholic hot toddy (lemon tea with honey and, perhaps, a bit of fresh ginger for spice).
Don't Abuse Over-the-Counter Medications
While we’re generally fans of natural remedies, we understand that all forms of treatment have a time and a place. Over-the-counter medications can sometimes provide the relief a body needs to rest and recover. But, they should always be used as directed and with the express approval of your doctor.
Over-the-counter medications can negatively interact with pre-existing health conditions and prescribed medications, making them dangerous. Furthermore, when used inappropriately (such as being taken in excess), they can have a wide variety of side effects, including:
- Rapid Heart Rate
- High Blood Pressure
- Chest Pain
Schedule a Consultation
Would IV Drip Therapy or a Vitamin B12 Injection help you recover from a cold or flu more quickly? Prior to administering any treatment, we conduct a thorough evaluation to ensure you’re getting the best recommendations to support your health goals. We never simply administer a treatment, as doing so could put a patient at risk of complications.
Rather, we work directly with each patient to understand their current health status, identify environmental factors that may be impacting their health, and clearly define their goals. Then, we develop a plan with each patient.