We eat healthy in my house, take vitamins and probiotics and even take detox baths but my lack of consistency in giving supplements cost us two miserable weeks of sick kids!
Luckily I have some amazing natural remedies that cut the length of time everyone was sick and kept three out of my four kids from having the actual flu including my six-month-old unvaccinated daughter!
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE FLU
The flu, more properly known as good ol’ influenza, is an acute viral infection of the upper respiratory system. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, but I assure you, they’re quite different.
A cold tends to come on much more gradually and have symptoms that are localized to the chest and head.
The flu, on the other hand, takes hold and spreads swiftly throughout the body producing in its wake a number of body-wide symptoms like fever, aches, and general fatigue.
While most people get over a cold in a few days, the flu can take a few weeks before its last symptoms disappear.
There are actually 3 different classifications of flu virus known as A, B, and C. The most common is flu type A (the Swine Flu and Bird Flu are in this category). This type of flu often occurs as epidemic outbreaks during the fall and winter season especially in school children and in the workplace. It only takes about 48 hours after initial exposure for you to feel chills, fever, headache, muscular aches, and later a severe cough. The worst symptoms usually lessen after 2-3 days but may last much longer in those with asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions.
The flu virus can be very difficult to track in regards to its strain. The virus is constantly mutating making it difficult to build immunity. This is why flu immunizations are often completely useless because the virus only has to change ever so slightly for the flu vaccine to be ineffective.
The flu is also very contagious and can be spread via coughing, sneezing, or even touching infected surfaces.
As with the common cold, there is no cure for the flu, however, there are many natural alternatives at your disposal that have the potential to eradicate the virus as quickly as possible, especially in its early stages.
Natural Ways to Protect Against Cold and Flu
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure … you’ve heard it a million times, but how does it practically relate to illness prevention? In short, giving the body what it needs and keeping a constant supply of nutrients will help ensure that the body can resist any pathogen it encounters.
Changes to lifestyle will go a long way toward preventing illness, as you support the body to function optimally.
There are four areas so foundational to our immune systems that no natural remedy can replace them. They are, in no particular order:
- Prioritizing a nutrient-dense diet – Avoiding grains, sugars, and other highly starchy foods ensure that the body is functioning at peak immunity should it encounter a virus or bacteria.
- Optimizing vitamin D levels – Studies show that optimizing vitamin D goes a long way to preventing and shortening the duration of illness.
- Getting enough sleep – Getting enough sleep is also crucial to preventing illness, and even a couple nights of interrupted or not enough sleep can leave the body worn down and unable to resist illness.
- Probiotics! – Everything starts in the gut…if you are chronically ill chances are its because your gut health is not very good. Daily probiotics not only help with your immune system but they also help with ADHD symptoms, focus, and general mental health. We swear by Gutpro Probiotics everyone in my family takes it! The bottle last you forever and is easy to take.
- Immune boosting supplements- The second the kids start telling me that kids are going home sick from school I start to implement extra immune boosting supplements. The two most important for viral infections are Elderberry and Cod Liver Oil (omegas)
How to Treat the Flu Naturally
- Vitamin D3 – A hormone precursor, this vitamin is finally getting recognition as a necessary nutrient for health. Optimizing vitamin D levels can help prevent illness in the first place, and taking several thousand IUs a day while sick can help speed recovery. Blood tests can help determine any underlying deficiency. This is what I take.
- Vitamin C – Perhaps the best vitamin for cold and flu, vitamin C in large amounts can greatly speed recovery
- Zinc – Healthy levels of zinc can reduce the severity of a cold or flu virus and can help shorten the duration of illness.
- L-Lysine-L-Lysine taken regularly during flu season can prevent you catching it. If you do contract any flu strain, L-Lysine can stop it within six to eight hours.
- Natural cough Syrup- We haven’t used traditional over the counter cough medicines in years due to the harmful chemicals that are in most of them. However, we do have a few brands that we recommend that are all natural and can be very helpful to loosen up mucus and give some relief at night time so your little one can sleep!
Note: I am not a doctor and make no claims or guarantees with these remedies. I am simply sharing what I use with my children. If you have any questions or concerns, you should speak to your doctor first.