Health and Wellness

Alternative Treatments for Cold and Flu Don't Work

Do you ask patients about use of herbal supplements, alternative therapies, and other complementary medicine treatments?

Despite robust marketing campaigns, anecdotal boasts from friends, family, and celebrities, and years of research, at great expense, the efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments can be summed up in this recurring statement from a recent report of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

“There is no conclusive scientific evidence that any CAM therapy prevents colds or substantially reduces their duration or severity in adults or children.”

“There is no conclusive scientific evidence that any CAM therapy is useful against the flu.”

Read the full NIH NCCAM report.

For EMS professionals the best treatment is prevention with hand and cough hygiene and maintaining good overall health and fitness. Stay well.


By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.