The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.

Colds and Flu-

Colds & flu are caused by viruses. Colds and flu tend to be more frequent in preschool age children since their immunity to these viruses is still developing. A strong immune system will help to decrease the frequency and severity of colds and flu (see immune enhancement).

Cold and flu symptoms are the result of the bodyís response to the virus. Fever is the the result of substances released by the immune system to increase body temperature. White blood cells which work to remove the virus from the body, function best at an elevated body temperature. These same substances can cause headache and body aches. The cells of the nose, throat and lung passages react to the virus by producing mucous to help expel the virus from the body. The respiratory tract tissues also become red and swollen as a result of increased blood flow to the area bringing white blood cells to fight the virus. So, you can see it may not be best to take things to get rid of symptoms.
Prevention is the best defense against colds and flu. When colds and flu abound, keep babies and children away from those who are ill, make sure they wash their hands frequently, and wash toys frequently. Children who are sick should be kept home from daycare or school to help speed their recovery and prevent passing the virus to other kids. To optimize the functioning of the immune system, make sure kids eat healthy foods, take a childrenís vitamin and mineral supplement, get plenty of fluids and rest, minimize stress, and dress warmly.

If your child gets a cold or flu, one of the most important treatments is rest, especially in bed. When at rest and asleep, the body releases powerful immune stimulating substances. Next, it is important to drink lots of fluids, especially warm ones. Try herb teas, vegetable juices and broths and chicken broth and avoid drinks with a lot of sugar (decreases the functioning of white blood cells). Hydrating the body has a number of beneficial effects- moisturized mucous membranes to make them less hospitable for the virus, loosening mucous and stuffy nasal passages, and soothing sore throats. Eat light and healthy foods and avoid sugar and sweets. Give older children vitamin C- 50-100 mg every 2-3 hours. Homeopathic remedies are very effective in babies and children, consult a homeopathic book for suggested remedies. For nasal stuffiness, use a plain saline nose drop to help loosen secretions, use a bulb syringe in infants to remove mucus from the nose.

Giving your child a massage can help to increase the ability of the immune system and helps to soothe aches and promotes relaxation and rest. Use warmed olive or sweet almond oil scented with a drop of an essential oil like lavender or rose to help calm restlessness or eucalyptus or tea tree to help unclog stuffy nose.

You should contact your health care provider if you child isn't better in 3-5 days, if the child has a fever greater than 102° F, is getting worse, has ear pain, has a stiff neck especially with a headache, has chest pain, a persistent cough or is coughing up green, yellow or brown mucous, is unable to keep liquids down, has signs of dehydration or is lethargic.
Herbs of choice-

Echinacea- has been extensively studied in Europe in the treatment of colds and flu. It stimulates immune function and has direct antiviral activity to reduce cold symptoms and duration.
Dosage-Liquid extract or glycerin- 1 drop per 4 pounds of body weight every 3-4 hours
Chewable tablet-5-10 mg per 10 pounds of body weight

Elderberry-shown to be very effective for treating flu viruses.
Dosage-Liquid extract or glycerin- 1 drop per 4 pounds of body weight every 3-4 hours
Chewable tablet- 5-10 mg per 10 pounds of body weight

Mullein- can help to ease mild coughs that accompany colds and flu.
Dosage- Glycerin- 1 drop per 4 pounds of body weight every 3-4 hours
Other herbs-Garlic, ginger, goldenseal, licorice, slippery elm. 

* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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