When I working full time as a nurse I was often asked how to tell the difference between a common cold and or a viral cold. Both are actually caused by viruses though, so it gets really confusing! Then there is also the complicated "flu" word thrown in there which can be the stomach flu or a viral cold! Does this frustrate you too? When you are trying to figure out what everyone is talking about when they are referring to one of the above? I used to hear other Mom's talking about what was circling around the schools, and it definitely got confusing! Let's see if I can change your perspective a bit to make the bottom line much easier...
So we can all easily catch a little cold here or there. Sometimes viral cold's can last up to fourteen days! Then there is the stomach flu. The time that lasts can vary as well.
Instead of trying to figure out if a cold is just really that... a cold with a cough and some sniffles... or the viral flu, let's just make the bottom line this -
Prevention is key to preventing catching any illness.
If you do come down with something, regardless of if it is the cold or flu, you need to focus on recovering more quickly, getting back on your feet, and preventing the spread within your household.
A few things to know in order to change your perspective and shift your focus may be as follows...
No matter what cold you have, if you have sinus drainage or congestion, you want to prevent what could possibly come next. This would be sinus pressure, headache, earache, and drainage into the lungs which can lead to a bronchitis.
What does all that mean?
It means that when you have a cold, you could have symptoms that follow that can lead to an infection as well.
Always think prevention by using the natural therapies that work for you to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. Even if you do not want to or do not think it will help, it will.
Here are a few ideas:
* Eat healthy even if you do not want to. Get creative. Add herbs or drink herbal tea. Add herbal syrups such as elderberry syrup or elderberry honey to your tea. Eat fruits and veggies. Stay clear of junk when you are ill.
If it doesn't nourish your body, it will only bog your immune system down more.
* Try a facial steam for sinus pressure. You can do this by warming up distilled or natural springwater water in a bowl until it is warm enough to give off some steam. Place a towel over you head and inhale the steam for ten minutes. Be careful not burn your face! You are simply taking in warm moisture to help loosen your sinuses and get them to drain. This is also adding moisture to your lungs which is great for a dry cough. You can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oils as well that may help open the sinuses and chest such as lavender, tea tree, or eucalyptus. Keep your eyes closed though if you do add essential oils.
By getting congestion to move, you are possibly preventing pressure in the ears and sinuses that can lead to the earache and headache. By moistening a dry chest, you are getting your lungs to move mucus, which can prevent bacteria building in the mucus in the lowest part of your lungs that can lead to a chance of getting pneumonia on top of your common cold.
* Drink plenty of fluids to help your body rid toxins and germs.
* Stretch to move the lymph in your lymphatic system. This also helps your body filter and rid toxins and waste.
* Get rest! Even if you do not feel like sleeping. Apply (properly diluted) your favorite calming essential oil, practice deep breathing, focus on relaxing your muscles, and lay down to watch a movie at the least.
Deep breathing also helps open up the lungs and move any mucus that may be stuck. It also exercises the lungs.
* Take a warm epsom salt bath. Add some lavender, tea tree, or frankincense in proper dilution, to get in another aromatic steam in. After your bath, you can apply your favorite sinus or chest relieving essential oil in your lotion and apply to the sinus area, down the sides of the neck, and over the chest to promote fluid movement, drainage, and let the antibacterial or antiviral properties in your essential oils help ward off the bug.
* Take your supplements, especially if you appetite is low. Talk to your health care provider and get the vitamins in that are essential or known to help boost immunity (such as vitamin D, C, and zinc).
So you ask if it is a cold or the flu? If you are ill and need to stay home, does it matter? I do of course know there are scenarios where it absolutely does. But for the sake of not needing to know, it certainly makes it so much easier to change the perspective to "I just need to get better, prevent the rest of the family from catching this, and carry on with my busy self."
What about preventing the whole family from catching it? You do the same as above for everyone! You amp up the healthy meals, supplements your health care provider agrees with or recommends, and continue with natural therapies and remedies that you know work for you and your family.
The intention is to build immunity to prevent and to recover.
What about that confusing "flu" word? Bookmark this page and stay tuned because the next blog is on preventing the stomach flu, how to prevent the spread, and what you can do to get over it more quickly if you do catch it!
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Jamie Michaels, Natural Wellness Educator & Founder of Children's Wellness Tree
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