Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu

by Ruth A. McKinney, DC

Once again, it’s cold and flu season.  As unpleasant as some of the symptoms are, they are part of a healthy immune system.  When your body comes in contact with a strong bug, it ramps up your personal security system.  Fever creates a super-hot environment to sterilize germs.  It also increases blood circulation which more quickly brings germ fighting nutrition to the tissues of the body.  Mucous from the nose and lungs can be cleared by blowing the nose and coughing to get germs out faster.  Vomiting and diarrhea certainly gets the offending virus or bacteria out faster.  The trick with all symptoms is to know when and how to treat them yourself, and when to seek professional help.


Saline spray purchased at the store or a salt-water rinse prepared at home are excellent ways to loosen nasal congestion.  They also disinfect by washing away the virus and bacteria.  Treat each nostril two or three times in a row, allowing for drainage between each application.  Repeat several times a day.                    


For a sore or dry throat, the salt-water rinse can also be used to gargle with.  Hot liquids like soup or tea will loosen and relieve congestion in the nose and lungs.  If you have a fever or purging with vomiting or diarrhea these will also help prevent dehydration.  Try a hot toddy made with herbal tea, honey and lemon.


Being a couch potato when you’re under the weather is okay.  When you rest your body can spend that extra energy on fighting the infection.  In fact, there are some healing and repair functions that only occur between midnight and 3 am when you are asleep. As human beings we are hard wired to do best with eight hours of sleep, and even more when we’re not feeling well.


Moist, steamy air helps reduce congestion in the nose, sinus and lungs.  Warm mist vaporizers and humidifiers work well for this.  Just be sure to clean them often to prevent mold and mildew build up.  Sit in the bathroom with the shower turned on and inhale the steam.  To quickly open congested airways make a tent with a towel and drape it over your head while breathing steam from a pot of boiling water.


Most colds and flu symptoms last for one to two weeks.  The period during which you are contagious is about one week after symptoms start.  People who receive Chiropractic care have been shown to have a much stronger immune system than those who don’t.   Being sick is mostly boring and miserable, so rest and take it easy, and let your amazing immune system do its job.                         

To learn how Chiropractic helps with natural healing call our office at 423-485-8480.

When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!