My entire household is now riddled with the flu. It appeared quickly, out of the blue, along with another cold-front from the Cape. I should, by now, be able to predict the cold due to the fact that during the course of last weekend, I packed away most of my winter wardrobe and made an attempt at organising most of my “spring” outfits for work.

The various members of my household react and have vastly different opinions as to what works when it comes to flu remedies. Hubby, who arrived home last night with a less then chirpy demeanour, announced bravely that his ears were sore. My 8 year old started coughing late last night and managed to pass it on to his two year old sister by this evening.

Oy…. So I am a firm believer that by the time that the symptoms hit it’s almost too late to do anything about the flu. Luckily, with the help of friends, family and amazing clients we have some of the best tricks of the trade for coping with the symptoms in a much more efficient way and utilising measures that are not nearly as harsh as common over the counter medication (though I must admit that when it gets to THAT point, I have been known to hand over some black-belt sinus medication).

I need to state here that the items listed below are remedies used by my family and does not substitute medical advice from a registered professional. Also, certain remedies could also cause allergic reactions and should not be taken without the guidance of a trained professional.

Echinecia

Also called Purple Coneflower. There are a variety of products available that contain Echinecia as an active ingredient. Now, although no scientific evidence has substantiated that echinecia reduces the duration of flu once it has already struck, it does however assist in elevating the symptoms. Echinecia is widely used to combat infections and is also effective in treating mild skin irritations or burns. According to WebMD, echinacea seems to activate chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation, which might reduce cold and flu symptoms. Echinacea also seems to contain some chemicals that can attack yeast and other kinds of fungi directly.

Oscillococcinum

So I should advise you upfront not to Google what the active ingredient in this product is. Oscillococcinum reduces the duration of flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headaches, fever, and chills. It does not cause drowsiness. Oscillococcinum is available in a box of 6, 12 or 30 doses and can be given to infants and kids.

Pentagen

An awesome cold-fighter from Natura (I’m a big fan and have to admit that my medicine cabinet looks like a Natura resale outlet). Pentagen effectively targets 5 main areas affected by upper respiratory tract infections:

1. blocked & runny nose
2. painful & inflamed sinuses
3. sore throat & tonsillitis
4. loose or tight cough & associated pain in chest
5. general mild fever, headache & fatigue

For best results, use at the first signs of cold or flu and take Pentagen for at least 5 days. Continue to take for at least 2- 3 days after symptoms have abated to prevent recurrence.

Olbas Oil

This has been a go-to for me since I was very young. I have suffered from sinusitis my entire life and vividly remember my first interaction with Olbas Oil. A good saline spray and Olbas Oil provides instant relief for family members struggling with congestion. Olbas can also be utilised in an oil burner or even a few drops in a steamy shower. A good friend of mine rubs Olbas on the soles of her feet just before slipping on some socks.

Olbas Oil

And then…

Other than that I can highly recommend making sure that the shared surfaces (think remote controls, door handles, telephone handsets or even kitchen/dining-room tables are properly cleaned with a good disinfectant surface spray or Dettol. Liquid hand-sanitiser is also a great addition along with soft tissues are a good investment at this time. Make sure family members are well hydrated (I usually add some Rehidrat to this mix) along with chicken soup… Hopefully the household flu will dissipate before the cld-front leaves.

Let me know if you have anything else to add to this list!