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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???

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16 thoughts on “10 Natural Ways to Fight the Flu

  1. Most honest healthcare professionals will tell you when it’s a bad year and when it isn’t. If you read the main reports they all agree there hasn’t been much flu activity at all for the last two years. Last year I had ONE flu positive case. We had more West Nile than we had flu! No one said last year was a bad flu year or the year before that.

    I’m all for natural ways to beat the flu. Please dont rely on that if you have asthma or any other chronic illnesses.

  2. I think its important to ask your doctor’s advice-with my immune system I have to get the flu shot. We get it each year but with consideration-research and info can change each year . I think its important to reevaluate each year.

  3. I had no idea until this pregnancy that raw apple cider vinegar is SO incredible it can even help my insane pregnancy heartburn. WTG natural foods!! I use it to fight off colds, too, and throughout the pregnancy have tried to do ALL these things so hopefully I’ll avoid the flu!

  4. Great post. I’m 18 weeks pregnant and opted not to get the flu shot…some people think that is irresponsible, but I don’t feel comfortable putting it into my body if it may or may not help. If it was effective against every strain of the flu, I would definitely get one. My OBGYN neither encouraged nor discouraged me from getting one. Another thing that I feel is super important during flu season is to stay out of crowded, germy public places unless you HAVE to be there. I did all of my Christmas shopping early or online and have only been inside of the mall once in the past few months. I wash my hands every chance I get after coming into contact with germs (grocery store, out to lunch, etc) and use hand sanitizer when it’s not possible to wash them immediately.

  5. I would also include regular intake of good probiotics. Healthy gut=healthy immune system. I love these products as well: http://www.beeyoutiful.com/ultra-immune.html and http://www.beeyoutiful.com/berry-well.html (which includes elderberry, raw honey, and ACV) Theses are ones I take/give at the first signs of illness.

    I’m reading more about homeopathic treatments and slowly building an arsenal. I’m already a huge fan of Arnica Montana and the teething/colic relief for babies.

  6. My hubby used to get the flu all the time when he was a salesman meeting a ton of people every day. He does not get the flu shot anymore but takes zinc. He has not been sick since he started to take zinc. And he’s a “get my rest” nazi too.

  7. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)! Wow, huh? It is an amazing thing! We take 2 tsp in water with a few drops of Vanilla Liquid Stevia 3 X a day–the taste is actually growing on me!
    Also, I just watched a video on how a simple warm water enema will usually cure a cold in a VERY short time–hours or less! I haven’t needed to try it yet–ACV has kept us well! However, one thing I would mention is the flu shot will do you more harm than good. All the junk (including Thimerasol) they put into that shot breaks down your immune system more than helps you build up immunity to flu! Funny how my elderly parents go to the doc with the flu and the doc tells them year after year, “Well this year’s shot didn’t include this strain of flu”!
    Sure, ask you doc, listen to what he/she has to say, and then do your own research! God gave us brains to do that! Many times, their advice is not what’s best for you or your family……

  8. We don’t get the flu shot either for all of the reasons that you mentioned. We rarely get sick here and when we do it’s much more mild than everyone around us. We use almost all of your ideas too! One that I would add for young families is to breastfeed those babies. All of my kids were breastfed and we are sure that it was a huge help in building their strong immune systems!

  9. I got a flu shot this year because the Dr. I had at the time pushed it. I changed Dr.’s though for a different reason. That was the first flu shot I have had ever. I didn’t get them when I was a kid because I had an egg allergy. My kids used to get them but they haven’t had one in 2 or 3 years and I don’t know the last time my husband gotten one. My kids have never had the flu and it’s been year since either me or my husband has. I didn’t do any research on it just decided I don’t think it’s a HAVE TO HAVE thing.

  10. I use elderberry syrup – elderberry provides a protective protein shell around your cells to keep virus from invading. It tastes good, safe for all in the family and keeps our immune system strong and we double up when we start getting that ‘ugh’ feeling.

    The flu shot if you are to read on the manufacturer website does not keep you from getting the flu, it may help you get over it sooner. I don’t feel that putting a bunch of synthetic garbage in my or my kids’ bodies makes much sense for the ‘may’ it promises.

  11. Great, post. So glad my sweets love raw garlic, bc it gets added to almost everything!!

    My sweet sister-in-law is currently in the hospital for a multitude of issues due to the fact she got the flu and she actually received her shot in late Fall. Makes me so weary as the medical community says its not 100% and this year the last report I heard was 60% (CNN) this year. We have been healthy with just a couple of head colds this season, so I am anxious for flu season to end and spring to begin!

  12. I love these tips! I do not like the flu shot either. I don’t care if other people want to take it, but I do not like that some places make it mandatory for people.

    I do follow many of the tips you listed and had to laugh at the “Don’t Touch Your Face” because I just gave my kids a nice little lecture a week ago before we went into the library. 🙂

  13. Awesome post!!
    The flu shot promo’s annoy me every year.
    At my obgyn’s office this year they were promoting the flu shot saying that it would help to prevent autism in your unborn child (if you were pregnant) because the flu can cause autism. I thought to myself, really!? They stoop lower and lower each year. Injecting my child with toxic heavy metals and chemicals while still in utero will protect it from the flu and autism!? Way to go marketing… take every parents worst fear and manipulate them into buying your product. The flu shot has never been proven safe for pregnant women…
    Ugh! I could go on and on…

  14. These are all great tips. I never get a flu shot and (knock on wood) don’t get the flu. I think there’s a couple of reasons for this – I try to live a balanced lifestyle, get rest, eat well and exercise. I think the key is to build a healthy immune system and white blood cells to combat any incoming flu bugs. Things like ginger and garlic are certainly helpful so I make more stirfries and warming food this time of year, too.

    The other bonus is being allergic to so many things – your immune system is kind of in overdrive already, so if you managing your allergies you’re less likely to be susceptible to cold and flu bugs 😉

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