Flu season is here! The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. These viruses spread through the air from person to person. Conventional flu prevention and treatment includes antiviral drugs and vaccines.
Like most people, I am sure you are wondering if there is anything you can do to prevent or treat the flu. Are there any options besides Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, Sudafed, and Tamiflu or just waiting and watching?
YES of course, there are many things you can do! Let’s explore the healing tree for flu:
The most important step in prevention of the flu is your lifestyle!!
Hygiene- Ample hand washing is your best defense against the flu. Wash your hands with soap and water or with hand sanitizer when in public places. Try your best not to touch your hands to your eyes or mouth. Try to avoid individuals who are sick and stay out of big crowds as much as possible.
Food – Eat healthy organic foods. Your body needs all the minerals and vitamins it can to help keep infections at bay, so give your body the best chance by fueling up with healthy fats and proteins, fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugar, artificial coloring and processed foods. All of these increase inflammation in the body and take valuable resources away from virus the fighting cells needed to keep you healthy.
Hydration – Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Nourish your body with Bone Broth which is chalk full of minerals. Consider making and drinking some GoldenMilk with fresh turmeric. Drink herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint or ginger which are soothing and have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Add ingredients like honey, ginger, turmeric, lemon, and cayenne for increased effects.
Sleep- Get plenty of rest. Allowing your body to rest so the immune system has the chance to do its job. Studies were done where cold viruses were placed in the nose of normal and sleep deprived humans (who signed up for that study??). It was shown that the sleep deprived humans developed viral illness significantly more frequently than the well-rested individuals.
Exercise- Get ample amounts of weekly exercise. You body needs at least 30-60 minutes of moderate activity every day to function at its best.
Vitamins - take a daily multivitamin. Make sure you get sufficient Vitamin C and D, as many studies have shown that those vitamins help and support your immune system in fighting infection. Consider taking an Echinacea, Oregano Oil, Zinc, Brewer’s Yeast, Prebiotics and Probiotics.
Additionally, consider trying an immune support formulation such as ImmunoBerry or products containing Astragalus, Cordyceps and/or Cherry Bark.
Elderberry Syrup- Elderberry has been found to prevent invasion by viruses and bacteria, and also improve cough and flu symptoms. The typical dosage for kids is 1-2 teaspoons 4x/day depending on their size, and for adults 1 tablespoon 4x/day.
Herbal Medicines - There are a variety of very effective herbal medicines to help your family recovery faster from the flu. One of my favorites is a Chinese herbal formula by Kan Herbs called Windbreaker. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fever and flu are caused by an attack of “wind”. The typical dosage for toddlers is 1-2 droppers 3x/day; for older kids 3 droppers 3x/day, and for teens and adults 4 droppers 3x/day.
Starting homeopathic medicines at the very beginning of flu symptoms can shorten the duration and severity of illness. In Europe, many people take once weekly homeopathics for flu prevention.
The most popular homeopathic flu remedy is Oscillococcinum by Boiron which can be found on the shelves of most health food stores. Oscillo should be started at the ONSET of the flu or flu-like symptoms (cough, cold, body aches, fever, stomach ache, etc). Another popular homeopathic remedy is ColdCalm by Boiron.
Studies have shown that taking Oscillococcinum at the onset of flu significantly reduces symptoms and shortens the duration of illness. The recommended dosage is 1 vial 3 times over a 24-hour period and the dosage is the same for children and adults. Allow the vial of pellets to dissolve in your mouth, ideally away from food or liquid by 10-15 minutes. For an infant, you can dissolve the pellets in water. For privation, consider trying 1 vial weekly.
Essential oils have amazing healing benefits and can be a powerful tool to help alleviate those troublesome symptoms in your child. Lavender is wonderful for colds and flu as it reduces inflammation, helps fight infection and relaxes the body and mind. Essential oils are generally very safe and effective for use in kids. Some essential oils can be applied directly to the skin, while others should be diluted in a “carrier” oil such as coconut oil as direct application can irritate the skin. If you are unsure, please check with a qualified practitioner.
Essential oils can be used topically and massaged into the soles of the feet or acupressure points, such as Large Intestine 4 (LI 4). LI 4 is located on the top of the hand, in the web space between your thumb and index finger. Put your thumb on the point, and your index finger on the palm side of your child’s hand. Squeeze your thumb and index together, make small circular motions with your thumb with firm but gentle pressure.
You can also use a diffuser with a few drops of essential oil to fill the air of your house or put some drops in an Epsom salt bath for added calming benefits.