Top Tips for Flu Season

Feb 19, 2018

Girl washing her hands

Flu season is in full swing, so we’re going to lay out some preventative measures and tips to help your immune system once the flu has taken hold of you. The CDC recommends getting your flu shot. It will help prevent the flu and lessen your symptoms should you get it. So, what else can you do to protect yourself and others from spreading this nasty virus? Read on!

Stay Home & Avoid Close Contact

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the spread of the flu can start up to one day before symptoms appear and last five to seven days after. Children can be contagious for more than seven days. Some people never have symptoms but are infected and contagious. If you are within six feet of someone with influenza, you are at risk of infection via airborne droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking. It’s also possible (but less likely) to get it after touching something housing the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes.

For all of these reasons, it is recommended you stay home to contain the virus, which is very hard to do when out in public. If you live with others, keep your surfaces disinfected and contain all sick family member(s) to a separate bathroom if possible.

Wash Your Hands Often & Cover Your Mouth

If you do have to go out, it’s recommended to wear a mask, cough into your sleeve (to avoid the airborne pathogens) and keep your distance from others. Wash your hands often, whether at home or in public. Nurses often learn to wash their hands for the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice; 20 seconds is the minimum recommended. Hand sanitizer can be helpful but be sure not to overdo it with that or antibacterial soap or your body will lose its ability to produce its own antibodies.

Antiviral & Other Helpful Defenses

The flu is a virus which means antibiotics are rendered useless. There are, however, a few recommended prescriptions used to help shorten the cycle and lessen the symptoms (the popular brand is Tamiflu®). The full list of CDC recommendations can be found here. But if you’re less apt to fill a prescription or rely on just a single measure, there are a few natural remedies that can be useful in aiding your immune system to fight off (and sometimes just ease the symptoms) the nasty flu virus. As always it is best to consult your doctor before trying home remedies.

Raw garlic - Eating garlic in its raw state might sound intense (and it definitely can be) but you’ll reap antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic benefits (making it good for the cold, flu and many other illnesses, some sources even name garlic a toxin to cancer). But, it must be eaten raw to get the full benefit.

Face Steam - Steam your face at home to get nasal passages cleared. Thyme, oregano and rosemary - or your favorite essential oils - in boiling water (removed from heat) with a towel over your head can be used. Be careful not to touch the pot or put your face in hot or boiling water. Breath in the steam for up to 15 minutes.

Neti Pot - Rinse nasal passages and remove toxins with a neti pot and non-iodized salt, which usually comes with the neti pot. Be sure to use warm distilled, sterile or previously boiled to avoid infection.

Herbal Teas, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), Bone Broth & Water - Drinking fluids is important but drinking the right fluids is key. Add lemon and ginger for extra healing properties. To make the ACV more palatable, add honey and cinnamon (also healing) and dilute with water.

Epsom Salt Baths - Often referred to as detox baths, pouring salts into warm bath water and soaking for at least 12 minutes (more if possible) can flush out toxins and have healing effects for sore muscles, aches and pains and cold and flu. For those who don’t enjoy drinking water, this is another way in which to get those fluids into your system! Recommended measurements are below:

  • ½ cup for children under 60 lbs
  • 1 cup for children 60 lbs to 100 lbs
  • 2 cups for people more than 100 lbs

Elderberry, Echinacea & Goldenseal - These are all natural remedies that help your body fight off infections.

Lastly, increasing your intake of zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D could help. Hospitalization and even death are possible outcomes for those infected with influenza, especially those who are immunocompromised, elderly or very young. Everyone working together can help prevent the spreading of the flu virus. What are some remedies that have worked for you and your family?

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