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 Integrative Medicine: Influenza  
 

All fluids, including soups, help alleviate a respiratory illness. Fluids help to thin secretions, making it easier for the body to clear them. If secretions are thick and dry, they are more difficult to expel. Offer your child diluted juices, homemade lemonade (hot or cold), and lots of nourishing broth and homemade soups. Miso and chicken soup are good choices.

Avoid giving your child dairy products, which have a tendency to increase and thicken mucus.

A child with a cold and fever may get dehydrated and constipated. Flush your child's body with as much fluid as she can take. The constipation will probably resolve once your child starts feeling better and resumes eating a normal diet.


Nutritional Supplements
For age-appropriate dosages of nutritional supplements, see Dosage Guidelines for Herbs and Nutritional Supplements.

Bioflavonoids have potent antiviral properties, and can be useful at any stage of an infection. Give your child one-half dose, five times a day, for five days to one week.

Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to ease the course of a respiratory illness. Choose a supplement made without sugar, and avoid chewable forms, as these can erode tooth enamel. Give your child one-half dose, five to six times a day, for five days to one week.

To help boost your child's immune system, give her a 5-milligram chewable zinc tablet or lozenge, twice daily, for five days to one week.
Note: Excessive amounts of zinc can result in nausea and vomiting. Be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage.


Herbal Treatment
For age-appropriate dosages of nutritional supplements, see Dosage Guidelines for Herbs and Nutritional Supplements.

Give your child the Chinese botanical formula yin qiao at the first sign of the flu. This remedy is not helpful after the third day of symptoms. Give your child one dose, every two hours, while the symptoms are acute.
Note: The liquid extract is the preferred form because it contains no aspirin. The tablet form should not be given to a child under four years of age.

To help your child rest and relax, give her one dose of chamomile tea, twice daily.

The antiviral echinacea and antibacterial goldenseal both stimulate the immune system. Goldenseal also helps to soothe mucous membranes. Give your child one dose of an echinacea and goldenseal combination remedy, three times daily, for five days.

Garlic helps to detoxify the body. Give your child one capsule or one fresh clove of garlic, three times a day, until she is better.

Ginger tea is excellent if your child's stomach is affected. Give your child one dose as needed.


Homeopathy
At the very first sign of influenza, give your child 1/3 tube of Anas barbariae (marketed under various brand names, including Oscillococcinum) every hour, for a total of three doses.

(Excerpted from Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, ISBN: 1583331395)
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 About The Author
Janet Zand LAc, OMDJANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
 
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