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Colds and flus are mostly viral diseases and can take all kinds of forms, depending on the person and the specific virus involved.

Sometimes, because the virus weakens an area, bacteria gets involved and can add to the infection. For one person, the lungs might always be the biggest issue, and for the next it might be the ear, nose or throat.

Unfortunately standard over the counter cold and flu medication usually only suppress symptoms – they do not help you fight off the infection or support the immune system in any way.

Fever, inflammation and excess mucous are all part of the immune system’s fight. Dry mucous membranes are much more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, and your own immune system works better when the mucous membranes are moist. Fever also optimises your immune system`s effectiveness, while slowing down the viruses and bacteria a lot. So by taking medicines that suppress these symptoms, you are working against the very effective systems that are in place to help your body fight.

But the good news is there are ways to get over it faster and help your body fight it naturally. You have a very powerful immune system – work with it and it will fight for you.

Here are 10 tips to help you fight off viral infections:

  1. The immune system fight starts before you really notice anything, so the moment you start noticing a possible infection, it is vital that you react fast to fight it off quickly.
  2. Rest as soon as you can. There is no point in trying to keep your regular energy and activities up as this will only delay your getting better.
  3. Drink lots of rooibos/herbal tea (unsweetened and black).
  4. If are not feeling hungry, it is not necessary to eat. If you feel you must have something, have a watery salty soup (Miso soup or even a “bouillon” /stock) to keep the electrolytes up, but do not worry about eating if you don`t feel like it.
  5. If you are hungry, only eat light meals, such as cooked vegetables with some good oils, herbal salt and if you want some brown rice/quinoa.
  6. Chicken or vegetable soup is great if it’s homemade. Use lots of leeks, onions, garlic, celery and sage – they are all great colds/flu fighters!
  7. Avoid dairy, sugar and wheat! They increase mucous production while interfering with the immune system`s ability to fight the infection.
  8. Take 1-2g of buffered vitamin C 3-5X/day. If you get diarrhoea or loose stool, slow down and take a bit less.
  9. Take up to 100mg of zinc, spread out through the day. Only do this for 5 or 6 days, and then go down to 50mg or less and stop taking it when you feel better.
  10. Take olive leaf extract/Pelargonium/Echinacea, especially if you wake up at night feeling ill.

Where to buy products mentioned

Switzerland - always pharmacies, unless otherwise indicated.
South Africa - always count2ten.co.za, unless otherwise indicated.

Vitamin C
Switzerland - Biorganic Vitamin C 1000mg
SA - The Real Thing Ester C combo – 500mg tablet; Solgar Calcium Ascorbate – 1000mg per ¼ teaspoon

Zinc
Switzerland - Burgerstein Zinkvital -15mg per tablet
SA - Solgar Zinc picolinate 22mg per tablet

Olive leaf extract
Switzerland - Available at some pharmacies, not readily available
SA - Naturefresh Olive leaf extract tablets: take 3-5 x 2 daily, OR Naturefresh Olive leaf tincture, take 3-5 x 20 drops

Pelargonium
Switzerland - Various tinctures available
SA - Various tinctures available at pharmacies and health shops

Echinacea
Switzerland - Ceres Echinacea, 3 x 5 drops
SA - Solgar Echinacea Goldenseal Cats Claw complex, 3 x 2 daily, OR Echinaforce – from pharmacies, clicks or health shops

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