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Influenza - Flu

Home Medications and Treatments for Influenza

A contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs which often occurs in the winter.   Globally there are more than one billion cases of the flu reported and approximately three to five million of these are severe. The disease is highly contagious and it has the potential to cause a widespread epidemic, affecting a sizable portion of a population at any time.

Jump to - Symptoms, Causes , Treatment, Other suggestions

Symptoms of Influenza

A good indication that flu season has arrived is an increase in the number of school-aged children sick at home with flu like illnesses. This will be followed by a similar outbreak in other age groups, especially among adults.

Common symptoms of Influenza are:

Fever (usually high)
Muscle ache
Runny nose
Watery Eyes
Nasal congestion
Dry coughing
Sore throat
Loss of appetite

It may also cause vomiting and diarrhea in case of infants and young children. The symptoms start to develop one to three days after contracting the virus.

Causes of Influenza

Three types of influenza viruses exist. Types A and B cause epidemics of severe respiratory illnesses known as “the flu,” and type C causes a mild illness, not associated with epidemics.  Type A is the most common and the dangerous type of Influenza virus. Mass epidemics of this disease happen every 10 to 40 years, H1N1 Swine Flu is the most recent example of Type A Influenza.

Outbreaks occur more frequently in the winter months.

Flu outbreaks are classified as epidemics (occurring in a set geographical area) or pandemics (a worldwide occurrence).
Influenza is a highly contagious disease. The virus is spread when you either inhale infected droplets in the air (coughs or sneezes) or when you come in direct contact with an infected person’s secretions (Touching or sharing clothes, utensils, or other objects used by the infected individual). Touching or handling smooth surfaces like, doorknobs, handles, and telephones, are ways to spread the virus.

A person with flu is contagious for up to 7 days after the onset of the illness, although the virus can be detected in the secretions up to 24 hours before the onset of symptoms. So, an individual can transmit the virus one day before symptoms even begin. Young children, may still be contagious for up to two weeks.

Treatment Of Influenza

Long Pepper:
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The use of long pepper is one of the most effective remedies in the treatment of influenza. Half a teaspoon of the powder of long pepper, mixed with two teaspoons of honey and half a teaspoon of juice of ginger, should be taken thrice a day. This will help greatly if taken in the initial stages of the disease. It is especially useful in avoiding complications, which follow the onset of the disease, namely, the involvement of the larynx and the bronchial tube.

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Garlic is an excellent remedy for influenza. It is useful as a general antiseptic and the patient should take as much as he can bear.

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Turmeric is valuable in influenza. A teaspoon of turmeric powder should be mixed in a cup of warm milk and taken three times a day. It will prevent complications arising from influenza, and also activate the liver, which becomes sluggish during the attack.

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Onion is also an effective remedy for influenza. Equal amounts of onion juice and honey should be mixed, and three or four teaspoons of this mixture should be taken daily in the treatment of this disease.

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Ginger is an excellent remedy for influenza. A teaspoon of fresh ginger juice, mixed with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey to taste, is an excellent diaphoretic mixture, which increases sweating and reduces fever in this disease. The fenugreek decoction may be prepared by boiling one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in half a liter of water, till it is reduced by one third.

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The juice of grapefruit has proved useful in this disease as it tones up the body and the digestive tract.

Basil Leaves:
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Another effective remedy for this disease is the green leaves of the basil plant. About one gram of these leaves should be boiled along with some ginger in half a liter of water till about half the water is left. This decoction should be taken as tea. It gives immediate relief.

Finger Millet:
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Fumigation of the burnt flour of finger millet is useful in influenza. It should be inhaled gently in the treatment of this disease. It will increase the blood circulation in the nasal mucosa reduce local congestion, and open up the stuffed nose.

Dietary Considerations

In the acute stage of influenza, the patient should abstain from all solid foods and only drink fruit and vegetable juices diluted with water on a 50:50 basis for the first three to five days, depending on the severity of the condition. After the fever subsides, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for two or three days. This may be followed by a fruit and milk diet for a further two or three days. Thereafter, the patient may adopt a well-balanced diet of natural foods, with emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables. He should avoid spices and condiments, alcohol, tobacco, strong tea and coffee, highly seasoned meats, over-boiled milk, pulses, potatoes, rice, cheese, and refined, processed, stale, and tinned foods.

Other effective Remedies for Influenza

A warm-water enema should be taken daily during the first three to five days of the treatment.

During the course of the fever, the natural way of reducing temperature is by means of cold body packs, which should be applied several times a day. The pack is made by wringing out a sheet or a large square piece of linen material in cold water, wrapping it right round the body and legs of the patient, and then covering it completely with a blanket. The pack can be kept for an hour or so, and the body should be sponged with tepid water after removing the pack. The patient should be kept in bed and should stay there till he is well again.

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