Updated: Nov 6, 2021
The cold and flu season is upon us, and while prevention is key (e.g. flu vaccine, safe hygiene practices and maintaining overall healthy lifestyle), some of us will still become infected with the flu or some other type of respiratory illness, no matter how careful we are. According to the CDC, “seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons varies, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October.” So we are clearly at prime flu/cold season at the moment and need to take extra precaution to avoid becoming ill. Practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands, especially after coughing or sneezing can help prevent you and others from getting and spreading colds/flu — or COVID-19. However, even if you are vaccinated and take all these precautionary measures, you can still become victim to cold/flus and seasonal infections. Many of the common seasonal infections saw a decline last year due to social distancing, enhanced personal hygiene and reduced travel put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with relaxed social distancing rules and mask requirements, more people traveling for business and leisure, mass-transit commuting returning to normal as most employers are requiring employees back in the office (all of a sudden remote work no longer works---the hypocrisy I tell you), more social events happening live rather than virtually— all combined can heighten our risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus, the flu and other respiratory illnesses. As I have spent the past few days recovering from a severe cold, I wanted to remind everyone to stay safe and follow safety protocols to protect yourself and loved ones from the flu and colds. I also wanted to share some common Creole/Kreyol home-remedies that can help you recover, get-well and back on your feet a lot faster. These suggestions are not meant to substitute medical care and treatment from a licensed medical professional. Below are some of the things that I have done to get well faster when recovering from a cold or flu, in combination with expert medical advice.
1. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Also, drinking warm herbal teas can help to manage some of your symptoms such as helping to soothe inflammation and clear nasal congestion. For example, ginger tea, orange peel, lemon and honey, mint tea or the go-to cure-all medicinal plant that Haitians swears by asosi tea also called cerasee tea in some parts of the Caribbean are all great options. Asosi has a very bitter taste and is not fun to drink but some people enjoys it with a pinch of salt and it’s known to help alleviate fever symptoms. In Haiti, some people drink asosi tea every day as a preventive remedy for many ailments.
2. Homemade onion syrup recipe: Slice two red onions into a glass jar, add a cinnamon stick and sprinkle a teaspoon of white sugar or honey. Close the jar and leave for a day at room temperature. The resulting liquid can be used as syrup. Onion syrup is known to help breakdown mucus, helps you cough up phlegm, clear chest congestion and help reduce coughs. I will admit the smell and taste is not pleasant so do keep that in mind.
3. Your appetite may not be great while recovering from a cold or flu but stay nourished with warm soups and healthy foods. Any food that is warm, easy to digest, and makes you feel cozy will do the trick!
4. Castor Oil Massage. Massage chest and neck with Haitian black castor oil a/k/a lwil maskreti. Haitians swears by lwil maskreti as a remedy and cure for so many ailments and it's not only used as the beauty staple it is most commonly known for throughout the world. Rub the oil in your hands to get it warm and massage over your neck and chest and keep the area covered. The massage is especially great to do right before bed so you can cover-up under warm blanket in order to sweat-off the fever while you sleep. You may need to change your shirt at some point in the night from the perspiration you will experience.
5. Rest and try to get as much sleep as possible. Go easy on yourself, slow-down and let your immune system do its job.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.