INFLUENZA is an infectious and contagious disease, marked by depression, distressing fever, acute catarrhal inflammation of the nose, larnyx and bronchi, neuralgic and muscular pains, gastro-intestinal disorder and nervous disturbances. It is caused by a filterable virus that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs and often that virus occurs in epidemic form. The flu can come on suddenly. It usually occurs during seasonal change.
Early symptoms can include fatigue, body aches and chills, cough, sore throat, and fever. For most people, influenza resolves on its own, but sometimes, the flu, and its complications, can be deadly.
Common flu symptoms
The most common symptoms of the flu are:
- fever over 100.4˚F (38˚C)
- body and muscle aches
- loss of appetite
- dry cough
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes, or talks. You can inhale the droplets directly, or you can pick up the germs from an object and then transfer them to your eyes, nose, or mouth. People with flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away.
In Ayurveda it is called vata-slaismika jwara. In a normal individual, during the period of seasonal change, the equilibrium of doshas, viz., vata, pitta and kapha gets slightly disturbed due to the change in temperature, rains etc. But, if there is abnormality in the change of temperature and rainfall, then the equilibrium of doshas gets exceedingly disturbed which results in this disease. Persons with a constipation tendency, and morbidity of the nasal mucus membrane or throat are more prone to get this disease.
Since the disease is generally associated with gastric disorder, pippali (long pepper) is considered to be a useful drug for this condition. It should be powdered and half teaspoonful of this powder should be given to the patient mixed with honey (about two teaspoonfuls) and ginger juice (half teaspoon). This may be given three times a day. If this drug is administered on the first onset of fever, further rise of temperature is checked. This also promotes the resistance of the patient against the attacks of bronchitis and throat congestion.
Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum) is the other drug of choice for this condition. Leaves of this plant. mixed with an equal quantity of dried ginger powder form an excellent substitute for tea in this condition. This may be given by adding milk and jaggery three to four times a day. A simple but very effective remedy for this condition is haridra (turmeric). One teaspoonful of the powder or paste of this drug should be added to a cup of milk (to which palm sugar may also be added) and given to the patient three times a day. This brings about an early recovery. It cures malaise and removes constipation, if any. It keeps the lungs clear of phlegm and activates the liver.
Tribhuvana kirti-rasa is commonly used by physicians for the treatment of influenza. It is available in tablet forms. Two grains (two tablets) of this medicine should be given to the patient mixed with honey (teaspoonful). It can be given three to four times a day depending upon the condition of the fever. If the fever is associated with cough also, then one teaspoonful of ginger juice may be added to this mixture and given to the patient.
After the onset of fever it is better to keep the patient without food or with light food for at least two meal times. He should be given barley water or sago boiled with milk and jaggery. Bread, biscuits, meat soup and vegetable soup can also be given to the patient. Garlic, either raw or fried with ghee or butter, is very useful. About ten cloves of garlic can be given to the patient. Fresh ginger may be added to the soup or vegetables.
- herbal tea (Tulasi , pepper, dryGinger, Jaggery etc..)
- brothy soups
- natural fruit juices
Heavy food like meat, chicken, fish and egg, rice, wheat chapati, fried things like parotha and sour things including curds are strictly prohibited during fever. The patient should be given banana, guava and other sour fruits. Tea is not good in this condition. Coffee in small quantities can be given.
Bed rest is very important.
Exposure to cold wind, bath, exercise, sleepless night, oil massage and mental strain should be avoided.
- avoiding contact with others who are sick
- staying away from crowds, especially at peak flu season
- washing your hands frequently
- avoid touching your mouth and face, or eating foods before washing your hands
- covering your nose and mouth with your sleeve or a tissue if you need to sneeze or cough