Influenza, commonly known as "the flu," is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. Symptoms shows prostration, fever, chills, sore throat, headache, aching behind the eyes with the sensitivity to light, abdominal pain, hoarseness, cough, enlarged lymph nodes, aching of the back and limbs, and frequent vomiting and diarrhea. The person feels cold and shaky, but is sweating. Serious complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, and ear infections, can develop.

Its earliest signs are similar to those for the common cold: weakness, headache, and aching in the arms, legs, and back. He may feel feverish, and then chilly. It also brings on a dry throath, cough, and extreme weariness.

The flu is easily spread by sneezing and coughing. Individual strains continually change, so vaccines are not very successful.

There are three main types of flu: Type A, Type B, and Type C. Type A the most common known type of flu. All are airborne and most frequently spread by droplets (coughing, sneezing, kissing, and sharing drinking glasses and towels)

Because it is a viral infection, influenza may appear suddenly after an incubation of only 1 to 3 days (most frequently 48 hours after exposure). So begin treating it as soon as you can. The quicker you start treating a physical problem the easier and more quickly it can be eliminated. After 2-3 days, the fever usually subsides; and, if cared for properly, the other acute symptoms rapidly diminish. But the cough, weakness, and fatigue may persist for several days or weeks.

There are natural remedies available for treating flu:

  • Take an enema at the first symptom. For fever, take catnip tea enemas, plus a ¼ to ½ teaspoon of lobelia tincture every 3-4 hours until the fever drops.
  • Give fluids (fruit juices, vegetable soups) to replace fuild and electrolytes lost through sweating, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Dink at least 10 glasses of water a day, to keep lung secretions thin. Give vitamin c, to bowel tolerance (3,000 mg or more, spaced throughout the day). Also vitamin A (25,000 IU for 1 week) and B complex. Vitamin A protects the lining of the throat (best to take it in the form of carotenes: carrot juice and green and yellow vegetables.) zinc (15 mg, three times daily).
  • Do not take anti biotics, for they have no effect on the flu virus. Do not smoke, drink liquor use coffee, or eat junk food.
  • Take echinacea and goldenseal, because flu can lead to secondary bacterial pneumonia.
  • Eucalyptus oil vapors are also good.
  • A useful herb is slippery elm bark powder (1 tablespoon) mixed with boiling water (1 quart) and honey (half cup). Put in a jar and give one teaspoon every 3-4 hours for cough and sore throat.
  • Gargle with salt water, to help relieve the sore throat (1 teaspoon salt in 1 pint of warm water). Soak the feet in hot water, to ease a headache or nasal congestion. Occasionally breathe deeply in and out, to refresh and stregthen the lungs and remove wastes.
  • Humidify the air in the room. Make sure the air is warm, but also has a current of air to keep it oxygenated. But it should not be drafty. (A draft on the patient is defined as occurring when the skin becomes cooler than the forehead or the patient is not comftable.) Keep warm, close-fitted bed clothes. Back rubs may be given, to increase comfort.
  • Helpful herbs include cinchona bark, ginger, eucalyptus, slippery elm, sea buckthorn, yarrow, white willow, and wormwood.
  • Another flu remedy is to place 1 oz. each of peppermint leaves and elder flowers in a pan. Pour ½ pint boiling water over these herbs, cover tightly, and keep warm on stove for 15 minutes; strain and cover immediately to keep warm. Take 1 teacupful every 30-45 minutes until there is perspiration; then 2 Tbsp. every 1-2 hours. (For children, give smaller doses and sweeten.) This tea taken how will break down congestions and equalize circulation. (Or substitute pennyroyal and elder flowers instead of the above two herbs.)
  • Pour boiling water over a handful each of wormwood, sage, alpine speedwell, and licorice root. Steep for 30 minutes; then take a spoonful every half hour or sip it morning and evening. Recovery time is usually 2 days.
  • Boil a 5-inch piece of fresh ginger (from the health-food store) in 2 cups water for 5-10 minutes. Drink a cup every 2-3 hours until the flu is gone. It will relieve nasal congestion, improve blood flow, help eliminate chills and aches, and reduce sore throat pain.
  • When it's time to make the transition from liquids to food, emphasize bland, starchy foods. This would include dry toast (so it will be chewed better), bananas, applesauce, boiled rice, cooked cereal, and baked potatoes. Eat lightly and carefully.
  • Water therapy: Take a 5-minute hot shower. Quickly dry. Then place a large towel in cold water, wring it out, and wrap it around your body from your armpits to your groin. Put plastic around that. Crawl into bed under a wool blanket and stay there for 20 minutes or until warmed. Do this 102 times daily.
Be careful; influenza is sometimes fatal, especially for children and the elderly. Those who are not hardy and are poorly nourished are especially susceptible. If you have respiratory ailments like asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, etc. , solve it as soon as possible. One thing can lead to another till you are prostrated with sickness. The flu can often lead to ear infections, pneumonia, and sinus infection.

Children who frequently come down with the flu should be checked for hypothyroidism. Check his temperature under the arm with thermometer.

A case of flu is becoming more serious if the voice becomes hoarse, he develops pains in his chest, he has difficulty breathing, or he starts bringing up yellow- or green-colored phlegm. It may be best to see a phycician, if this has not already been done.