Disclaimer: This is my own personal research and conclusion. Do not use this as a replacement for your own research and conclusion, but as part of it.
First, there are two types of infection. Viral and bacterial. Both look relatively similar based on symptoms, and you will need a microscope to see or a blood or urine test to identify which one. Bacteria are extremely adaptable and easily build a rresistance to antibiotics. Virus' have also created a way to survive, and we now have many drug resistant microbes. Antibiotics are useless in the treatment of a virus. It is recommended to avoid pharmaceutical antibiotics, unless you are 100% sure, it is a bacterial infection.
Its often hard to distinguish between a allergies and a cold. Likewise, a cold and flu often look the same. There is no reason to see a doctor for any of these unless, there is a change in symptoms that is concerning, such as if symptoms last longer than 7-12 days, trouble breathing, etc. Ear aches are also common symptom, and is not necessarily a sign of infection. Sore throat is common with cold, flu and allergies, but can also be a sign of strep, which will generally go away on its own in 7-10 days with out without antibiotics. While antibiotics, will reduce the risk of spreading the infection, most people are no longer contagious after 24 hrs with or without them.
We highly recommend against the Flu vaccine. The following is how we combat Cold and Flu season.
Garlic. We love garlic. My children often eat garlic toast for snack, and eat garlic cloves. Garlic is a wonderful natural antibiotic, antioxidant and can aid in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Bacteria in the body have not shown to become resistant to garlic, as they do with pharmaceuticals. Crushed garlic has shown to be the best way to consume it. Cooked garlic will work, but fresh works better. You can take it a few times a week or as needed. Also putting crushed garlic in a tbsp or two of olive oil and strain it. Use a drop of warm -not hot or cold- garlic oil in and ear to sooth an earache. Garlic is also a coagulant, so if you are needing surgery or have a blood disorder, such as HIV, use caution when using garlic.
Apple Cider Vinegar. ACV. In addition to lowering glucose levels for diabetics, cholesterol and blood pressure, ACV also balances the body's Ph level, therefore aiding in your body's ability to fight off cold and flu symptoms. ACV slows down mucus production. It can also be used as a gargle for a sore throat. We either drink a tbsp straight 2-3 times daily when sick, or as needed. It can be diluted, and should be mixed half and half with water for a gargle.
Eucalyptus. This is great for cough and congestion. A few drops of eucalyptus oil on the chest and or back a few times a day will relieve you of these symptoms. The Vicks VapoRub has eucalyptus, but not in a pure form. It can still be used, but I recommend you put a small amount on the bottoms of the feet and cover with a sock to keep from stuff sticking to the bottoms of them. Using it on the chest over stimulates the lungs to create mucus and can make your cough worse.
Hydration, nutrition and rest. Fevers are good and are your body's way of fighting off bacteria and virus'. Take a hot shower or bath to relax muscles Boost your immune system. Chicken noodle soup, water, hot lemon water.. Whatever you prefer, these will all aid in soothing symptoms, and getting you on the fast track to being healthy again. Avoid sugar and grains as much as possible and increase your vitamin C, vitamin D (sunshine!), and protein. I think the perfect get well food is an omelet with fresh tomatoes, onions and green peppers.
Here's to staying healthy this cold and flu season!