10 Natural Ways to Fight the Flu

Everyone’s talking about the flu. Oh, the hype. It drives me bananas. How can “this be the worst year yet for the flu” every. single. year??? 

Don’t get me wrong. I know the flu is a horrible experience at best, and at its worst, yes… It’s deadly. I know of someone who just lost a loved one to the flu, and I am not cavalier about it. In fact, every year I think, surely this will be my year. I’m due.

But we don’t *gasp* get the flu shot. I am just not convinced it is a) safe or b) effective. And c) the way it is advertised so dogmatically is a huge turnoff to me.

And yes, there is a d) I have a think about needles. I don’t like them.

(I am not telling YOU not to get the flu shot. I am not a doctor, or a medical professional of any type. I’m just sharing that we don’t bother with it.)

I don’t, however, take the flu lightly so I asked my doctor at my last appointment for her advice. She  is not a big advocate of the flu shot and never pushes it on me, and she said that there are a lot of ways to fight the flu naturally — most of which I already knew, but it was a good refresher. And really, flu shot aside, we should ALL be doing our best to keep our immune systems strong and healthy. These tips are helpful for everyone, especially those with weaker immune systems who tend to catch everything that comes down the pike.

First I’ll give you her tips and then I’ll finish up with some of the other things we try to do to stay healthy in the sick season.

Natural Flu-Fighting Tips

1) Limit your sugar intake. Sugar depletes the immune system.

2) Take Vitamin D supplements. It’s best to get tested to make sure you’re taking the right amount, but almost everyone is Vitamin D deficient in the wintertime. I’m taking 2000 IU a day and I give the kids 1000 IU. Ask your doctor about the right amount for you.

3) Pump the Vitamin C when you think you might be coming down with something. My doc said she’s a huge fan of Vitamin C. I have heard that it hasn’t been proven effective… but I’m not convinced. I usually take Emergen-C when I think I’m coming down with something, even though I know it’s full of fructose and other junk. It might be the placebo effect, but whatever it is, it seems to work so I’ll stick by it.

4) Keep Oscillococcinum on hand for when you think you’re getting sick. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bought some. I also like Zarbees for coughs. It was really helpful when my littlest had a cold a few weeks ago.

5) Get plenty of rest. I’m a nazi about getting my sleep. I think that’s why I manage to stay well as much as I do. When you allow yourself to get run-down, you’re begging for all kinds of trouble.

6) Wash your hands. We wash our hands before we eat, but I try not to go overboard (you can actually wash your hands too much – go figure.) Also, we avoid anti-bacterial soaps when we can. Keeper of the Home has a great post on why it’s best to stick to plain old soap and water.

7) Don’t touch your face. I’m trying to be better about this. I’m always lecturing the kids too. They love that, of course. Cuz what kid doesn’t love a mommy-lecture?

8) Eat wholesome foods. It should go without saying, but it’s so important — especially at this time of year. I’m  trying to incorporate more soups with homemade chicken stock into our diet, and I keep a lot of fruit around the house. An apple a day really is a good motto to live by.

9) Education yourself about natural remedies. I’ve heard that raw garlic may help prevent colds and flu as well as treat their symptoms. I slip raw garlic into my homemade salad dressings. It’s probably not enough to matter, but it can’t hurt. Another one? Apple Cider Vinegar. I swear, that stuff cures everything. I use it for my digestive issues, but this article in Parenting Squad explains how the author used it to fight a cold. Green tea is good too.

10) Exercise. I often wonder what part my regular exercise regimen plays in keeping me well. I rarely get sick, and when I do, it’s usually a bad head cold. I haven’t ever had the flu as far I know, but I used to get bronchitis a lot when I had a cat that aggravated my allergies. Being sick is no fun.

What would you add to this list???