The flu is a viral infection that causes a variety of symptoms from mild to severe, sometimes affecting your life for days or even weeks. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, chills, headache, fever, pains, aches, etc. These symptoms can make you feel miserable and for some may lead to complications such as ear and sinus infections, pneumonia. In pregnant women high fever can become a problem for the baby. There are multiple simple and natural steps you can take to prevent the flu and possible complications
Historically, pandemics of flu killed millions of people which have led to big business for the pharmaceutical industry, billions of dollars in stockpiled medications, and widespread promotion of the flu vaccination – which, unfortunately, only works from 24-60% of the time. Prevention is the key, but how exactly do you protect your family?
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is especially important if you’ve shaken hands with someone, have been in a public place where you’ve touched a lot of things (i.e., an elevator, shopping cart), or you've been working on a shared computer keyboard (at work, the library), or have exchanged money with someone.
Please wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t get to soap and water. By doing this your risk of getting sick or bringing the flu home to your family significantly reduces. Keep in mind that antibacterial hand sanitizers can breed scary resistant germs and some also contain chemicals (like triclosan) that act as endocrine disruptors.
Also, try to avoid touching eyes, mouth, and nose - a common way to spread germs to our kids and us! This task is not always easy because an average person touches their face several hundred times a day!
High quality protein and vegetables can have many benefits for our bodies. It keeps your immune system functioning properly, maintains heart health, respiratory system, and speeds recovery after exercise. It's especially important to cut down on alcohol, sugar, processed foods, dairy and packaged fruit juice. Whole foods diet is a great protection against getting sick.
Get Extra Rest
If you've been pushing yourself too hard this is a really good time to give yourself a pause. Tired body means that your immune system is weaker and you’re more susceptible to getting sick. Make a commitment to get 7 hours of sleep every night, preferably 8. Try to infuse herbal tea before bed (Lavender, Chamomile. Take epsom salt bath with Quality sleep before bed. Start diffusing essential oils 30 minutes before going to bed. Best choices for relaxation are: Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Sacred Frankincense, Clary Sage, Quality Sleep, Wild Orange.
It is much easier said than done, but keeping yourself chill during cold and flu season can make a huge difference in your immune response. Remember to set limits and have enough time to relax. Try using Peace roll-on to promote relaxation during the day.
Sometimes as simple as taking a warm bath with Lavender with Epsom salts or indulging in your favorite new book can give you a break that you need from your stressful day at work, school, or even home chores. Keeping a lid on stress is important to both your physical and mental health.
The following supplements are recommended to prevent cold and flu, during travel, or when there’s a lot of illness going around.
Kids: multivitamin/mineral is a good way to cover the basics and ensure that your child has optimal nutrient intake and immune health, especially for picky eaters.
Probiotics: Healthy gut flora supports a healthy gut, immune major barrier and taken daily, has also been shown to prevent colds and flu. Use a product that contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. We love SilverFern as they promise that their probiotics survive beyond the stomach and actually get into intestines. Our family is taking these probiotic and we are satisfied with how well they work.
Vitamin D3: Adequate amounts of vitamin D is critical for optimal immune function and is hard to get enough of from food alone, especially in the winter. It's also been shown that adequate vitamin D levels reduces the likelihood of getting the cold and flu substantially. A large systematic review suggests that supplementation may help prevent upper respiratory infections. The dose for adults is 2000-5000 units daily; for kids its 400-2000 units/day depending on age.
Vitamin C: Daily intake of Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the likelihood of colds and flu and reduce antibiotic use. People who take vitamin C regularly can expect shorter period of time being sick (by 8% in adults and 14% in children) with less severe symptoms. Multiple studies support the idea that vitamin C can shorten colds and lessen symptoms. (Pubmed). The dose is 500-1,000mg/day for kids, and 1000-2000 mg/day for adults.
Zinc citrate: Daily supplementation with zinc reduces the chances of getting cold and flu. The dose depends on age. For adults it's 30-60 mg/day total, For kids over 6 months the daily dose is: 6–12 months 2-3 mg, 1–3 years 3 mg, 4–8 years 5 mg; 9–13 years 8 mg.
Cod Liver Oil: High in vitamin A, cod liver oil is strongly supportive of the immune system and particularly the respiratory passages. Cod Liver oil is another daily support you can use for your family.
Pregnant women should take vitamin A, C, and D only 2,000 units daily.
Cook with onions, garlic, turmeric, and ginger. These herbs have been used historically to prevent and treat infection. Modern science validates onions, garlic, turmeric and ginger for antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects. Honest & Pure herbs can be used for tea as a prevention and support during cold/flu: Ginger, Cloves and Cinnamon.
Elderberry Syrup: traditional immune-supporting herbal supplement, (see our Elderberry syrup for recommended dosage here). Safe for pregnant women for a limited time of 5 to 7 days, though if you're pregnant and get the flu, it's important to also seek appropriate medical care; elderberry is safe for nursing moms).
Wild Oregano oil: has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Throughout history, Oregano was used primarily as a culinary spice in gardens and used to preserve meat in times before refrigeration was available, as were other spices that contain high amounts of volatile oils like Thyme. Our Wild Oregano provides antioxidant support and is traditionally used to sustain overall well-being, making it a great choice during cold/flu season. Read more about our Wild Oregano here.
Germ Free blend: A 2017 studyTrusted Source found that low concentrations of cinnamon and clove oil had high antimicrobial activity against persistent cultures of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Both oils are part of our Germ free blend. A 2018 studyTrusted Source found that vapors of cinnamon oil inhibited the growth of respiratory pathogens like Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae in a petri dish. Two Lemon essential studies in 2019 showed that it has some antimicrobial properties. Read more about cinnamon and clove here.
Pine and Sacred Frankincense are very soothing during cold/flu and provide an amazing anti-inflammatory support.
Written by Lena Isayev, B.A., C.A.
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