Cold or Flu Season
Some Natural Remedies

Flu Influenza

Flu season is coming upon us and it is always important to remind ourselves to focus on prevention. For those of you who do not realize it, the flu is a virus and is a contagious respiratory infection that is usually minor yet can be very serious for many individuals, especially those who struggle with other respiratory conditions such as asthma or emphysema or those with heart conditions and diabetes. According to the CDC, deaths associated with the flu or complications resulting from the flu have varied since 1996. Estimates per year run as low as 3,000 and as high as 49,000. It is always important to be conscious of prevention and how your actions can affect someone else. To me it seems to be the best way to avoid the flu. Below are a few things you can do to avoid spreading or catching the flu.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When I am sick, I sleep in the guest room so my husband will be less likely to get sick.
  • Please STAY HOME when you are sick. I don't know about you, but I certainly do not want to sit next to a sick person all day.
  • Make sure to use your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Do not forget to use warm water and soap them up good! If you can't wash your hands, carry a hand sanitizer with you.
  • Do not touch your face, which includes your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Make sure you do not run yourself down. Get enough sleep, manage your stress and make sure to eat lots of fruits and veggies.
  • My favorite is to make sure all the members of your family have their own face and hand towel. If one person gets sick, you do not want to be drying your hands or face in their damp towel. Color code your hand towels for you, your spouse and the kids.

You may also want to try some of the following supplements to support your immune system this fall and winter season. It is justOctober, yet I have heard of many people and school kids that are already sick. Nature's Sunshine offers many supplements to support the body's immune system, my favorite is VS-C.

Vitamin D

Studies have been done on vitamin D and show that it may help boost your immune system. School aged children who took supplemental vitamin D were able to avoid developing the flu. Also, if you suffer from asthma, you may be able to avoid attacks triggered by flu or colds.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which help to boost your body's immune response which helpsreduce the severity of your illness. Natural vitamin C is found in fresh fruits and vegetables so eat lots of these. You can also take mega-doses of vitamin C, they seem to reduce the severity of your illness according to several studies. In one study they took 8,000 mg of Vitamin C at the onset of a cold or flu every 3 - 4 hours to bowel tolerance, then followed up with 2,000 to 4,000 mg a couple times a day for up to 10 days.

Elderberry

Elderberry is great at helping you treat the congestion associated with your flu or cold symptoms. One study used a standardized extract such as Sambucol which shortened the flu illness by about three days. This particular extract also contains vitamin C and other herbs, so it's hard to know just how effective elderberry by itself would be. I use Elderberry D3Fense by NSP, when I think I am coming down with something and it works great for me. However, Elderberry does contain flavonoids which may stimulate your immune system. Other elderberry compounds, called anthocyanins, act as anti-inflammatory agent that can help to reduce your fever and achy-body symptoms.

Olive Leaf

Olive Leaf has both anti-viral and antibacterial properties, making it a possible effective flu remedy. Olive leaf has been used to boost the immune system when taken as a tincture, tea or in tablet/capsule form. Olive leaf works in helping to kill viruses by stopping their replication process long enough for your immune system to rid your body of the virus.

Eucalyptus

The oil of the eucalyptus might kill some viruses, such as the flu virus. When it's used as a medicine to treat coughs, it can help to relieve congestion and loosen the phlegm common with an attack of flu. Eucalyptus ointments rubbed on the chest and below your nose can help reduce your congestion. I make a salve with eucalyptus in it and I rub it on my feet and wear socks to bed when I am super congested and have found that helpful. Throat lozenges with eucalyptus can also open your airways, making it easier for you to breathe. Eucalyptus gargles and teas can help reduce your sore throat.

Echinacea

Use this herb to shorten the length of your illness and to reduce your symptoms. Echinacea may boost your immune system, helping you to fight infection. It may also have anti-viral and antioxidant effects. Drinking echinacea tea daily may help you feel better sooner as well.

Garlic

This remedy, when taken as a tea, can help your body fight the flu virus, helping you to feel better. Garlic has long been known for its anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiseptic abilities, making it a very popular choice. Mix garlic water with honey and lemon juice and drink three times daily.

It is always good to remember to talk to your doctor if you have any questions. Some supplements may not be right for you depending on your medications and current health conditions. Supporting your immune system is an important step in prevention, with antibiotic resistance and various strains of viruses it is important to get plenty of sleep, manage your stress and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Regardless of what you do, if you get the flu, stay home so others can stay well!

Written by Mara Gerke, CA, CNHP, All Rights Reserved.