UK and Spain

UK and Spain

Providing information for the UK and Spain

UK and Spain

Colds and flu

Colds, coughs and flu - As far as the medical profession is concerned, the problem with colds is that there is a minimum of 80 varying strains of the virus. one of these infects the mucous membranes of the nose and pharynx, causing the familiar runny nose and watery eyes with sneezes. Each of these propels millions of infectious droplets into the air only to be picked up by some unwitting passer-by - and so the virus is passed on.
It is well known that some 'colds' are psychosomatic in origin, expressing an unconscious need to cry. These are best treated with counselling or at least a heart-to-heart with a dose friend.
As with all infectious diseases, healthy nutrition that keeps the immune system in top working order will prevent them from taking hold. A diet that is rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, with a good percentage of it eaten raw, and low in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, will ensure that the cold virus will be an unwelcome visitor.
If you are unlucky enough to develop a sore throat or catch a cold, then as soon as you feel it coming on, take at least 500mg of vitamin C four times- a day until the symptoms ease, after which you can gradually reduce the amount. This, together with 5mg of chelated zinc three times daily or zinc lozenges, will curtail its duration. You can also make yourself a herbal gargle which will relieve a sore throat (see the Healthy Diet on one of the links below). Cold germs dislike warmth, so wrap your head up in a woollen scarf at night and put on plenty of clothes during the day.  If you are troubled by catarrh, avoid dairy produce and take one garlic oil capsule three times a day. These will also alleviate coughs, as will the soothing herbal remedy called the Vegetable Cough Remover available at health food shops. Or perhaps a home-made cold remedy of delicious hot lemon and honey drink and blackcurrant tea, both classic remedies that will aid recovery (see the Healthy Diet on one of the links below for information on healing beverages).

Bronchitis and emphysema - An ordinary cold can sometimes turn nasty and spread into the windpipe and bronchi. This secondary infection may be generated by bacteria and is generally accompanied by a sore throat and cough with raised temperature. There may also be chest pain. Smokers are especially susceptible to bronchitis, as are the elderly, mostly during the winter months.

While antibiotics may have to be taken to control serious bacterial infections, high doses of vitamin C (3g daily divided into frequent small amounts), together with chelated zinc (30mg), will help to fight off the invaders. Vitamin A is particularly important for the health of the mucous membranes and for the production of the white cells of the immune system, so take 10,000IU daily as beta carotene. Make sure your intake of B vitamins is adequate by adding wheatgerm to your diet. This will also supply you with vitamin E, another nutrient involved in the production of antibodies. If you have to take antibiotics, then eat plenty of live yoghurt to correct any damage to your intestinal flora.

Avoid all refined carbohydrates, which deplete you of essential nutrients, and as with all infections, have plenty of fresh fruit, salads and vegetables, preferably raw, or juiced if you have little appetite. Keep well away from saturated fats. Drink lots of fluid, especially rose hip and blackcurrant teas (see the Healthy Diet on one of the links below and look for the 'Beverages and Herbal Remedies').

There is another sort of bronchitis which is not instigated by infection but rather by cigarettes or polluted air which irritate and ultimately damage the bronchi and lungs. Before the Clean Air Act in the UK, the London 'smogs' used to be notorious, with 4,000 people per week dying from chronic bronchitis in 1952. It is very common among cigarette smokers. The fragile cilia cease to beat, so that they cannot dean the airways of mucus and unwanted particles. If the pollution continues to enter the lungs, the delicate walls of the alveoli (the tiny air spaces) will burst and the overall surface area will be greatly reduced. This means that the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the blood can no longer operate efficiently and the patient will become constantly breathless, even when inactive.

A typical case, is someone in their 50's or 60's who have been an addicted smoker since the age of their teens when they first took up smoking in a misguided effort to prove to their schoolmates how 'grown-up' they were!!  At a time in their life when they should still be full of energy, they're forced to retire early from 'life', with some smokers constantly and frequently having to stop to catch their breath.  Giving up smoking was, of course, vital. Most nutritional experts would recommend vitamin E and iron supplements (4001U and 20mg daily respectively), also a diet high in complex carbohydrates, which require less oxygen than fatty foods to be metabolized, with the emphasis on whole grains, peas, beans and lentils, vegetables and fruit. The B vitamins, especially niacin, are needed for the burning of these, it's also recommended that 500mg daily of a B-complex supplement be taken. Since the remaining connective tissue in the lungs would need to be strengthened, the vitamins C and A would sustain this process, so also include 1 g daily of the first and 10,000IU of beta-carotene.

Flu, (or officially called influenza) and pneumonia - We're all familiar with the symptoms of 'flu', a temperature, but also feeling shivery, usually a headache and pains in the bones and muscles, together with a cough. It takes about 10 years to develop immunity to a particular strain of 'flu' virus, by which time any epidemic has died out and a new variety is on the attack. It can be dangerous if secondary bacterial infection develops because it may turn into pneumonia. Antibiotics were able to limit mortality rates from the 1957 pandemic, which spread from China via Hong Kong, but in 1917-19, before their invention, an equally extensive and vicious onslaught resulted in more deaths than those due to the fighting during the entire First World War.

As with colds, people seem to imagine that they should not give in to flu but rather stagger into work as long as it is possible to walk and thereby spread the infection. Naturally, the best way to limit it is through isolation, however, the only other way to avoid catching it.- or at any rate markedly reduce its effects - is to boost your immunity with excellent nutrition.

Meanwhile, if you have the misfortune to fall victim to a passing flu virus, there is much that you can do nutritionally to get rid of it soon. Any fever quickly depletes the body of vitamins, so these must be replaced as follows: 2g vitamin C, 200mg pantothenic acid and 10mg each of vitamins B2 and B6, all to be taken immediately, then half quantities every three hours for the first day, gradually reducing the amounts as the symptoms ease. You will also require plenty of fluid to prevent dehydration: Lemon Barley Water is excellent for calming a fever, Ginger Brew is based on a traditional folk remedy and Lime-Blossom Herb Tea is very soothing (see the Healthy Diet on one of the links below for recipes). If you do not feel like eating, then take the Fortified Soya Drink, which will supply you with protein and other important nutrients, and Miso and Onion Soup (also described in the Healthy Diet). As you return to solids, keep to fresh fruit, vegetables and pulses, and avoid refined carbohydrates and saturated fats (including dairy products), both of which reduce your immunity. See also the section on colds and coughs for other helpful suggestions.

It is important to rest, especially if you are old, to give the body maximum chance to fight the infection, and to keep warm.

If you treat yourself nutritionally as described, then it is unlikely that the flu will progress to pneumonia. Should this type of bacterial infection occur, then your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to reduce the inflammation of the lungs. Take plenty of live yoghurt to reinstate healthy intestinal flora which the drugs will deplete and keep up the anti-fever nutrients.

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