Tips for Recovery from a Cold or Flu
The recovery phase of a cold or flu can be as difficult and challenging, both emotionally and physically, as your battle with the early onset of the illness. There is an important strategy to follow during this recuperation phase. If you follow this strategy, your recovery may accelerate and you may also avoid the uncomfortable reoccurrence of symptoms that are so common.
Firstly, pace yourself. R, was in his recovery phase after more than two weeks of having battled a bad flu with high fever. His third week was improved, and he began to see light at the end of the tunnel. He was back at work and on his full time schedule after having missed a number of days due to heavy sweating and low grade fevers.
But once back at work, he lost sight of what was required to rebuild his health and be rid of the flu once and for all. A common mistake which we all can make, he believed he was 100% cured, when actually he was only about 80% there.That night after work, he felt fine. Having spent so much time recuperating, he was ready to resume tasks around the house that required both mental and physical energy to complete. An odd plumbing job, fixing an old leak, installing a screen door, fixing a light bulb socket, and a few other tasks seemed easy enough to him. His frustration and impatience at not having gotten anything done around the house got the best of him, and that little voice inside was saying “stop being a baby, and get something done.” This turned out to be a mistake.
He had spent the last three weeks getting to bed rather early, and his body wasn’t used to the extra exertion that was common when he was fully well. He also thought that he was well enough to indulge in some cookies and ice cream, which he had stayed away from during his illness.
As a result of overexertion as well as sugary foods, as soon as his head hit the pillow, he started coughing violently from the tickle in his throat he thought was licked. The next morning, he awoke with a sore throat yet again. Basically, he set himself back a full week as a result of not taking his recovery seriously enough.
Here are the rules I recommend my patients follow when recovering from a cold or flu:
1. Keep your neck and throat covered and warm at all times. When out, wear a scarf, even if it’s warm out. Even the slightest breeze can set off a cold and sore throat when your immune system is still vulnerable.
2. At night, rub castor oil on your neck, cover with a towel and apply a heating pad for at least 20-30 minutes before bed. If your chest is also congested, also apply this remedy to the chest area.
3. Take a warm Epsom salts bath before retiring. This has not only the effect of calming and relaxing you, but it also draws out many toxins within the body, and opens the chest and sinus passages to help with breathing and alleviate problems with mucus buildup or coughing.
4. Gargle with either salt water or with Hydrastis homeopathic tincture. Place about 10-20 drops of the tincture in about 1/2 cup of hot distilled or bottled water and gargle five or six times before bed.
5. Faithfully take all supplements recommended to you. As you heal and the illness begins to subside, you may cut back on supplements. But one of the biggest mistakes people make is to stop altogether. Taper off slowly, and keep taking them for about one week after you are feeling better.
6. It is very common for a cold or flu to change locations as you begin to feel better. From the immune system, it may travel into the muscular-skeletal system. This may take the form of various muscle aches or pains, neck and shoulder spasms and tightness or low back pain or sciatica. It’s important not to ignore these or to misinterpret them as genuine structural problems. Rather, treat them like a virus that has entered your muscle system. Continue taking your anti-viral herbal and vitamin supplements and seek deep tissue body work to move the virus out of the muscles as quickly as possible. Body work will also help move your lymph system along and quicken your healing time. Hot Epsom salt baths are recommended, as well.
7. Eat only warming, cooked foods and drinks. Never eat or drink anything cold; an occasional room temperature fruit or fruit juice is alright. Hot foods help keep your meridians unblocked and your Chi flowing smoothly. Cold causes blockage and constriction, resulting in a buildup of mucus or muscle pains.
8. Go easy on yourself! It’s normal to get sick and there is nothing wrong with you. It’s also common to feel blue when sick, especially if healing isn’t quick. For such cases, a full regimen of anti-depressant herbs and supplements, such as Glutamine, Glycine, Tyrosine, P5P,
9. Be certain to change your homeopathic treatment as your symptoms change. Often patients will be on one specific remedy for the cold or flu and then stay on it for the recovery period, or worse yet, discontinue it after they feel better. But you need to consult with your Classical Homeopath, so that he may track your symptoms and adjust your homeopathic remedy as the symptoms are changing. You often have to change homeopathic remedies every day or every other day to keep up matching the symptoms.
10. Even if you must resort to antibiotics or over the counter cold and flu medications, continue your herbal and homeopathic regime. This is very important. Using Western and homeopathics simultaneously is beneficial, not conflicting, but there is an art to mixing the two. Your Homeopath can teach you how to use both optimally. Often you can maximize the use of a prescription drug when you know which herbs or homeopathics to use, which may also enable you to heal quicker with fewer prescribed drugs. Many such drugs can cause toxicity and sluggishness in the liver, making it that much harder to fight the virus or bacteria. But never hesitate to take a Western medication when indicated!
11. Receive an acupuncture treatment as quickly as possible during the recovery phase. Acupuncture has been shown to lesson recovery time by improving the overall function of the immune system and helping the body detoxify. Follow these suggestions and I assure you a speedy, full recovery in as quick of time as is humanly possible.
Tips for Recovery from a Cold or Flu