Americans Search Internet For Cold, Flu Home Remedies

Vol. 17 •Issue 27 • Page 7A
Americans Search Internet For Cold, Flu Home Remedies

Growing concerns about the upcoming cold season and the latest news about shortages of the flu vaccine may be behind the sudden surge in Internet searches for information about free and natural home remedies, according to staff at one health care Web site.

The search for home remedies might also be triggered by people looking to minimize their health care costs either because they lack health insurance or do not believe they are sick enough to seek medical attention.

One search engine received more than 36,000 hits in October alone, after Internet users typed in the term “home remedy.”

That search linked many users to at ( Officials at the Web site said are filling the need for many seekers by offering a large and growing collection of traditional home remedies for many common ailments.

According to a Web site staff spokeswoman, people come to the Internet to find a home remedy for any number of reasons.

“Some are not near a doctor’s office, some aren’t comfortable taking medications and others don’t have insurance,” said Jaime Escalante. “Many can’t afford the cost of a doctor’s visit and prescription medication,” she explained.

Internet users may likewise believe that researching home remedies is a good way to find a private, cheaper and what they often think will be a safer alternative than the medicines that are often prescribed by doctors, Escalante suggested.

Currently, Internet searchers are looking for relief from popular seasonal ailments. “Especially this time of year, many people are looking for home cold remedies,” said Escalante. Suggestions on the HomeRemedy site include old standards. “On our site they would find that eating raw garlic comes highly recommended by many,” said Escalante. Other suggestions include zinc cough drops and tea made with apple cider vinegar and honey.

Further listings popular during the cold and flu season include a home remedy for canker sores, sinus infections and cold sores.

Escalante stressed that potential patients should not attempt a home treatment without consulting a health provider first.

“The information provided at our site is there so you can have information at hand to discuss with a professional,” she said. “Check with doctors to see if any of these traditional remedies might be safer, cheaper and possibly as effective as a prescribed medicine or an over-the-counter solution.”

Asked what the most unique remedy offered on the Web site is so far, Escalante noted: “That would have to be a home remedy for ring worm that one visitor suggested. According to that individual, the best way to treat ringworm is to soak a penny in vinegar for a few minutes, and then bandage the coin on to the infected spot. They claim it cleared up their tinea in no time.”

The Web site also contains old-time home remedy favorites for curing everything from fleas and nail fungus to head lice and boils.

For readers looking for an older chicken soup recipe printed in ADVANCE several years ago, check our Web site at The recipe is not guaranteed to cure whatever might be ailing the user, but it is a good comfort food for those who are down and out because of any sniffling, sneezing, wheezing cold or flu malady.