Colds and flu

It is very common to resort to conventional medications when we get a cold or the flu. Antibiotics are a common prescription – and although effective at killing-off some bacteria they are of no use against viruses. They also weaken the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to further illnesses.

There is however, a more effective and natural approach to treating colds and flu – strengthening your immune system. Boosting your immunity makes you less likely to catch colds or flu, as well as reducing the severity of symptoms if you do fall ill.

Symptoms of the common cold usually resolve in 7 to 8 days but flu can extend to 2 weeks and beyond.

There are varied symptoms, including:

  • Fever, muscle aches, headache
  • Sneezing, running nose or congestion, watery eyes
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Cough, sore throat
  • Loss of appetite

In Hong Kong, flu can be particularly nasty and symptoms can quickly worsen into more serious conditions.

Flu is not the same as the common cold. Most healthy adults recover within two weeks but high-risk groups like children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses can develop complications. This can result in infections of the upper or lower respiratory tracts, pneumonia and in the worst cases - death. According to the World Health Organisation, flu epidemics result in about three to five million severe cases and about 290,000 to 650,000 deaths globally.

Colds and flu are usually transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and spreads contaminated droplets through the air. Infections can also be spread by direct contact with the infected person.

For the common cold, apart from humid conditions and sudden changes of weather - it is your immune system that dictates your likelihood of getting sick and length of time you're ill.

A common but neglected cause of a weakened immune system especially in children, is low vitamin D levels. In Hong Kong, where air-conditioned environments and shaded windows keep out sunshine, this is no surprise. Research shows that those who have insufficient vitamin D have nearly twice the frequency of colds over the winter months.

We recommend a holistic approach to treating colds and flu, integrating herbal, dietary, complementary, and natural therapies. We can also help reduce your risk of catching a cold or an upper respiratory tract infection by boosting immunity.

Sleep, a balanced diet and stress reduction are very important to long term immunity. However, with imported food and the environmental stress of pollution, it's difficult to get all your nutrition from diet alone. Our supplements maintain a healthy nutritional baseline to strengthen your immune system.

Our naturopaths and homeopaths might blend supplements, herbs and homeopathic remedies to effectively ease symptoms.

If you or your child has a simple cold or cough, gentle osteopathy can support the lymphatic and respiratory system, alleviate symptoms and support recovery.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, cold and flu occurs from an external pathogen, which enters the body. This means that the body may have a weakness or immune deficiency that weakens one’s resistance (overwork, not sleeping, eating poorly, etc.) and allows a pathogen to attack and enter, causing disease. TCM is effective in treating whichever cause has led to vulnerability, for better immune resilience.

What’s next?

If you’d like help alleviating symptoms of colds and flu as well as preventing them, we can help.

Find the support you need with our naturopaths. Connect with us below, and we'll be in touch shortly.

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