This time of the year everyone you meet has a cold or the H1N1 flu, which is circulating.  There are a number of things you can do before, during and after illness.

The common guideline of washing your hands frequently and don’t touch your mouth and nose are all important in trying to prevent infection.  Been to the gym?  Used the supermarket trolley? Or just been into a large building with lots of people – always wash your hands.  At this time of year using a hand sanitiser frequently may also be a good option.

Of course, many colds and flu are spread via a cough, so if you feel something coming on what can you do?


  1. Firstly, support your immune system. For a cold, this means at the first feeling of slight throat irritation or post-nasal drip – gargle on echinacea.  Echinacea may not stop you getting a cold, but has been shown to reduce the duration.[1]  A mix of Echinacea purpurea and angustifolia is the best
  2. That being said my personal experience is that gargling can hold the cold off for a period of time.
  3. If you think you may have been exposed to the flu virus, consider the herb Sambucus Nigra (Note, not the drink sambuca!). Sambucus Nigra has been shown to be effective with some flu strains.[2]
  4. Make sure you get adequate sleep and eat plenty of protein (important for immunity). This is particularly important if you are training hard.


  1. If you have got a cold or flu, drink plenty of liquids. You can quickly become dehydrated if your nose is running.  If it is the flu you will be sweating.
  2. Stay warm.
  3. In the case of a cold, drink/eat chicken soup. Chicken soup has been shown to be beneficial for upper respiratory tract infections.[3]
  4. If you are unfortunate to have contracted the flu, as noted above the herb Sambucus nigra has proven effective against a number of strains of the virus with reduction in symptoms in two days.[4]
  5. Thyme and sage are great anti-microbials. Sage is particularly good for any kind of throat infection.  Adding sage to your soups, stews and other foods can be very beneficial.
  6. Alternatively buy thyme or sage fresh and make a very strong tea out of them.
  7. Again, similar to before you get the cold, It is important to get sleep and if you can to eat protein.
  8. Vitamin C and zinc have also been shown to help the immune system.


Whilst people often bounce back from a cold, bouncing back from the flu is another matter.  It can take weeks and, in some cases, months to feel better.

This is where it is good to visit your naturopath.  They can provide you with nutritional advice and an immune and energy supporting formula to help with your recovery.

The flu is a tough illness and should not be underestimated.  Looking after your recovery once it is over is very important.

As always, if your symptoms persist or if your temperature gets very high, you should consult your general practitioner.

For more information or for your immune/energy boosting formula, please contact us at info@freshperceptions or 087 813 8500.


[1] Volk et al, 2014, Echinacea for treating the common cold, Cochrane Database of Systematic review, 2014, CD000530

[2] Shahsavandi et al,2017,  Interfering with Lipid Raft Association: A Mechanism to Control Influenza Virus Infection By Sambucus Nigra, Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 2017 Summer 16(3): 1147 – 1154

[3] Rennard et al, 2000, Chicken Soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro, Chest, Volume 118, Issue 4, October 2000, Pages 1150-1157

[4] Zakay-Rones et al, 1995, Inhibition of Several Strains of Influenza Virus in Vitro and Reduction of Symptoms by an Elderberry Extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an Outbreak of Influenza B Panama, Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 1, No. 4

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