Fighting Viral Infections
By Anne White
While there is no cure for viral infections, the human body is designed to be able to fight viruses. We need to be sure it has all the tools. Severe cases should be treated at the hospital and the following is NOT a substitute for working with your doctor. This advice for naturally treating viral infections certainly will not hurt when combined with talking with your doctor and seeking medical treatment. Here are some common sense tips edited from WebMD.com and Home Remedies by Linda B. White, M.D.
Add Infection-Fighting, Immunity Boosting Foods to Your Diet
Red, Yellow, and Orange Bell Peppers vitamin C and carotenoids which directly contribute to the immune system as well as other antioxidants and anti-inflamatory agents.
Mushrooms, Onions, and Raw Garlic all enhance immune function and onion and garlic are also antimicrobial. Garlic in particular kills viruses. Onions clear respiratory mucus and open tight airways. Layer raw garlic and onions in a jar with honey and let sit overnight – take a spoonful every few hours. Honey is also antibacterial. If you are infected [there is no medicine or cure for a viral infection], a paste of fresh raw garlic, honey, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper [it will taste awful] taken every 30 minutes for 3 hours and every hour after that has been known to mitigate even the toughest viral infections.
Black and green tea, ginger tea, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, yogurt filled with probiotics – and yes, homemade Chicken Soup all help your body fight viruses. Things to avoid, especially when you are sick? Avoid sugar and excessive alcohol. Do not smoke or vape.
Get Moderate Exercise
Light to moderate movement and exercise in fresh air if possible (not a full workout) will support your immune system and reduce stress. Stress is one of the main reasons for a weakened immune system.
Listen to Relaxing Music
Music is magical. It affects our bodies in ways that we still do not fully understand and in some studies, listening to relaxing music did boost the bodies ability to fight colds and flu.
Direct Sun Boosts Your Immune System
Take a 10 to 20 minute sunbath without sunscreen but with a hat to help your body make vitamin D.
Know When Not to Treat Symptoms
Symptoms are part of the natural healing process — how your immune system battles illness. A fever is your body’s way of trying to kill viruses by creating a hotter-than-normal environment. Also, a fever’s hot environment makes germ-killing proteins in your blood circulate more quickly and effectively. Coughing clears your breathing passages of mucus that can carry germs to your lungs. A stuffy nose helps secretions carry germs out of your body. If you can avoid taking fever reducers and products like sudafed, you should.
Blow Your Nose Often (and the Right Way)
Blow your nose when you have a cold. Be careful not to blow too hard because pressure can carry germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earache. Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other. (Kleenex has an anti-viral tissue which kills viruses. It is worth picking up now if you can find it.)
Stay Warm and Rested
Staying warm and resting helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle. Maintaining a strict regime of eight hours of sleep is vital to keeping your immune system in peak condition.
Gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring some relief while also killing germs and bacteria harbored in the throat. Gargle with half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces warm water, four times daily.
Drink Hot Liquids
Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration. Sip liquids throughout the day.
Take a Steamy Shower
Steamy showers moisturize your nasal passages and may help you relax. If you’re dizzy from the flu, run a steamy shower while you sit on a chair nearby and take a sponge bath.
Use a Salve Under Your Nose
A small dab of mentholated salve under your nose can help to open breathing passages and restore the irritated skin at the base of the nose. Only put it on the outside, under your nose, not inside your nose.
Apply Hot or Cold Packs Around Your Congested Sinuses
Either temperature works. You can buy reusable hot or cold packs at a drugstore or make your own. You can apply heat by taking a damp washcloth and heating it for 55 seconds in a microwave (test the temperature first to make sure it’s not too hot.) A small bag of frozen peas works well as a cold pack.