The flu is a viral illness that can affect your bronchial tubes, lungs, nose and throat. Some people may confuse mild flu symptoms with a cold. While many symptoms of a cold and flu are the same, the suddenness of flu symptoms such as intense body aches and high fever are a key difference between the two.
At some point you or someone you care for will get the flu. While the symptoms can be miserable there are many preventive tips you can follow as well as natural remedies that are effective at relieving the symptoms and expediting the duration of the illness.
Prevention is your best defense
The best defense against illness is to create a body that is so healthy that disease cannot take root. That involves basics such as drinking pure filtered water, eating organic foods whenever possible, avoiding processed foods and sugar, getting plenty of sleep, exercise and eating immune building foods and taking supplements that support your overall health and fill in the gaps of nutritional deficiencies.
Following some basic health habits can help to avoid illness, as well as prevent the spreading of germs.
- Avoid contact with individuals who have the flu.
- If you are in contact with people who have the flu, wear a mask and gloves.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- If you’ve been exposed, rest and boost your immune system.
- Avoid sugar and dairy.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
- Stay well hydrated with water, or coconut water which is high in electrolytes.
- Don’t share bath or hand towels.
Supplements & Homeopathics
Echinacea-While there are many varieties of Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia have shown the most promise for boosting immune system and shortening the duration of colds and flu.
Elderberry– Black elderberry has been used for coughs and colds for centuries. Now science is pointing to its effectiveness as an antiviral in fighting the flu.
Andrographis– This herb is commonly used for colds and flu due to its natural immune boosting abilities. As well as treatment of respiratory infections, influenza with fever, sore throat, acute and chronic cough, sinusitis, etc.
Ginger-While ginger may be best known for nausea relief, it also provides relief for flu symptoms.
Ginseng-Panax quinquefolius or “North American ginseng” is a popular remedy for colds and flu.
Boneset- Also known as eupatorium perfoliatum, boneset is a great immune stimulant that has been used effectively in cases of influenza, fever as well as body aches and pains.
Olive Leaf Extract-Oleuropein found in OLE is a potent antiviral which has the ability to enter viral cells and stop them from replicating.
St. John’s Wort-This amazing herb has amazing anti-viral protection, making it a great option for the flu.
Oscillococcinum-This homeopathic is one of the more popular OTC remedies to help reduce the duration of the flu.
Astragalus-This amazing root activates white blood cells that help fight viruses. This can be taken in supplement form or the root can be chopped and added to soups.
Juicing is a great way to get a lot of nutrients in your body, especially when you are sick. Fresh juice will feel soothing in your throat, is easy to digest and a great way to nourish your body. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Grapefruit Orange Juice
2 oranges, 1 lemon, 1 pink grapefruit, ¼ inch fresh peeled, minced ginger root.
Peel fruit, section and remove seeds. Place in blender with minced ginger root. Blend till smooth
Citrus fruits are a wonderful source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects the body. It also promotes antibody and production to help fight foreign invaders and illness.
Carrot, Apple, Pear Juice
4-5 large carrots, 1 medium apple, 1 pear, ¼ inch fresh peeled, minced ginger.
Quarter apples and pears, remove seeds. Put in high speed blender with quartered carrots and ginger. Blend till smooth
Carrots are a tremendous source of beta-carotene, a substance that converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps the body fight infections and plays a critical role in helping to regulate the immune system. Add water if needed or coconut water for a nourishing boost.
Immune Boosting Juice
3 Carrots, 1 stalk celery, 1 apple, ½ cucumber, 1 -3 tsp. Vital Mineral Green (wheatgrass)
Add all ingredients to high speed blender, add coconut water if needed for an additional electrolyte boost.
While herbal teas won’t completely prevent the flu, they can definitely lessen the symptoms, provide relief and shorten the duration time. There are many wonderful tea options for cough, cold and flu symptoms. Some of my favorites include:
Boneset-This tea is bitter, but provides relief from the aches and pains associated with the flu.
Elderberry Flower- This tea fights a fever and inhibits the flu virus.
Ginger-This is a great option for reducing inflammation and to generally warm your body.
Licorice-My favorite for coughs and bronchitis.
Peppermint-This herb is very helpful for clearing out the sinuses and respiratory passages.
Most healthy individuals will get over the flu within a week. The flu can be a very serious illness, especially for those with a compromised immune system, the elderly and the very young with immature immune systems. Consult with your healthcare provider if you are having a difficult time breathing, are short of breath, you have a severe headache or stiff neck, high fever or any symptoms that is concerning to you. Always monitor your symptoms for signs of bacterial infections and consult your healthcare provider with any concerns.