Winter is well and truly in and the dreaded cold and flu season has begun. The best treatment in my opinion for colds and flu is prevention as there is no cure. Vitamin C 1000mg and zinc is one of the better remedies to prevent cold and flu episodes and they should be taken daily for the winter period. These supplements are also good during a flu in combination with Echinacea to help shorten the duration of the flu and decrease the severity of symptoms.
The symptoms of cold and flu can be treated with over the counter medicines such as antihistamines for runny nose, decongestants or saline drops for blocked stuffy noses and ibuprofen or paracetamol for temperature and pains.
Coughs associated with colds and flu can also be treated over the counter. For chesty coughs, products containing guaifenesin, cabocistine and levomenthol are usefull for extracting phlegm in conjunction with adequate hydration or steam inhalation to help liquefy phlegm making it easier to loosen. Discoloured green/brown phlegm may be the first sign of a bacterial infection and an antibiotic may be required from your GP.
For dry coughs, a cough bottle containing diphenhydramine or dextromethorphan can be used to relieve the tickle of dry cough and the cough reflex. If the cough changes from dry to chesty stop talking the dry cough remedy as it can supress phlegm which may lead to a bacterial chest infection. Most of the time dry coughs are caused by nasal drip from a blocked nose were nasal mucus drops on to the back of the throat. Keeping the nasal passage clear using decongestans and saline drops can help to minimise the tickle of dry cough associated with nasal drip.
The last symptom of colds and flu is sore throats. Dispersable analgesics like asprin and solpadeine can be gargled to relieve pain and take down inflammation. Diflam or other anaesthetics can be used to ease the pain of swallowing in a harsh sore throat and lozengers or natural glycerine and honey can be used to lubricate the throat.