Cold and flu symptoms like a stuffy nose, headache and scratchy throat often overlap. If you’re not sure whether it’s a cold or the flu, here are some basic guidelines to help you figure out the difference between the two.
Viruses cause both colds and flu, and both are respiratory infections. The best way to tell the difference is by checking your symptoms.
Cold symptoms may include:
- Headache or body aches
- Mild tiredness
- A runny or stuffy nose
- A sore throat
Flu symptoms may include:
- A dry, hacking cough
- A headache
- Moderate to high fever (Not everyone with flu will develop a fever.)
- Nausea and vomiting, along with diarrhea (More common in children.)
- Severe fatigue that may last up to two weeks
- Severe muscle or body aches
- Shaking chills
- Sore throat
- Stuffy and runny nose
Colds may come on gradually within several days and are often milder than flu. If you have a cold, you may recover within seven to 10 days. However, cold symptoms may last for at least two weeks.
Flu symptoms come on quickly and can be severe. If you have flu, symptoms tend to last from one to two weeks.
Food and drink remedies
You can naturally treat a cold or flu by eating or drinking these healing superfoods.
Apple cider vinegar
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar boosts your intake of “good” bacteria and probiotics when you’re sick. The antioxidants in apple cider vinegar can help reduce inflammation and reset your digestive system.
Don’t take a shot of apple cider vinegar on its own, especially if you’re not used to it. Instead, combine the sour liquid with something else, like honey or water, to create a better-tasting home remedy.
Echinacea or purple coneflower can be used to make a soothing tea if you have a cold or flu.
If you have cornflowers in your home garden, harvest the leaves, flowers and roots to make the tea below.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
- 8 oz. of water
- 1/2 cup fresh or dried leaves, flowers and roots (1/4 cup if using dried echinacea)
- 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey
- Simmer the water in a small pot over medium heat.
- Add the fresh or dried echinacea to the water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain the tea into a mug and add honey before drinking.
Elderberry is a superfood that can help relieve the symptoms of a cold and flu. You can either buy organic elderberry gummies or make a warm elderberry cordial at home.
It’s best to use fresh elderberries but if you don’t have some at home, you can use dried berries instead.
To make elderberry cordial, simmer two cups of dried elderberries in three cups of water and one cup of honey. Let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes, then let it sit for one hour to cool.
Strain the mixture and take one tablespoon of the cordial to relieve any cold or flu symptoms.
Garlic is another superfood that can help reduce your flu and cold symptoms. Add garlic to soups and stews if you’re sick, or try making a soothing garlic soup at home.
Lemon, ginger and honey tea
Lemon, ginger and honey are often used in over-the-counter cold remedies because they are effective.
But if you prefer a natural remedy without any harmful additives, make a warm cup of tea at home using a sliced lemon, grated fresh ginger and honey. Combine all ingredients in a mug, then add hot water. Stir before drinking. (Related: 5 Natural remedies to treat the common cold.)
You need to stay hydrated for your overall health, especially if you’re feeling sick.
The human body needs fluid to help fight the germs that cause colds and flu, but it can be hard to get your normal daily water intake when you’re unwell. If you don’t feel like drinking plain water when you have a cold, stay hydrated by consuming chicken noodle soup or soothing herbal teas.
Turmeric milk may sound unusual, but this Indian home remedy offers many amazing health benefits. This spice has various health benefits, such as fighting the aches and pains caused by a cold or flu.
To make turmeric milk, combine two cups of whole milk, one teaspoon of turmeric powder, two black peppercorns, two cracked cardamom pods and a half-inch of roughly chopped ginger in a pot.
Heat the mixture on the stove for several minutes. You can also add a sweetener like honey. Let the mixture cool down and strain before drinking.
It’s crucial to get your daily dose of vitamin C through supplements, orange juice or whole foods. After all, vitamin C helps prevent the symptoms of a cold or flu.
To maintain healthy vitamin C levels, take tablets or consume vitamin C-rich fruits like guavas, kiwis, bell peppers, oranges or strawberries.
Rest and relaxation tips
These techniques can also help your recover faster if you have a cold or flu.
Get enough bed rest
While technically not a remedy, bed rest is important if you’re sick. When you’re unwell, your body needs to spend energy fighting the germs that have infected you.
Resting helps your body recover so don’t feel bad about having to stay in bed. Rest and take naps if you’re feeling weak so you can heal faster.
Create a peaceful atmosphere
It can be hard to rest and relax when your surroundings are noisy and chaotic.
While resting in your room, create a peaceful atmosphere so you can relax and get enough rest. Close the blinds to keep your room dark and turn on some soothing music.
Ask family members to stay quiet so you can take a nap.
Use a humidifier
A humid atmosphere is essential when you have a cold or flu because it will help break out phlegm and congestion.
Keep a humidifier near your bed while you rest. Add several drops of soothing essential oils like lavender to the water so aromatherapy and humidity can help relieve your stuffy nose.
Make a healing salve
A DIY salve made with healing ingredients can also help relieve aches and pains when you’re sick. Making your own salve also ensures that the final product doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients.
You will need a carrier oil, such as olive oil, to help create the salve and carnauba or beeswax. You can also add cocoa or shea butter to the salve, but these ingredients are optional.
Use some of these essential oils to make a soothing salve:
Once you have decided on the ingredients, mix well and store in an air-tight container. Rub a bit of the salve onto your temples, neck and chest to help clear nasal congestion and respiratory problems. Apply the salve to the bottom of your feet and wear socks to help your body absorb the natural oils.
If you have a cold or flu, stay at home and get enough rest. Try natural home remedies like elderberry cordial or turmeric milk so you can recover faster.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this article has help you to find some natural remedies!
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