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How to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Last year, I noticed a much higher number of cancellations due to the flu than other recent seasons.  My heart aches to hear the stories of people affected by the flu.  Around 6 years ago I started on a quest for natural health and have learned a lot on the way.  So far my family has been able to enjoy flu-free winters for several seasons now.  Here are some ideas on how to combat the flu from my personal health quest.  This is not medical advice, you are free to accept or reject any ideas that you see in this blog post.  

  1. Essential Oils- Many essential oils have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.  Put them in a diffuser and breathe in the mist.  It's best if you purchase your oils through a quality brand because oils that say they are 100 % pure often still have fillers or impurities.  Eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, Thieves blend (YoungLiving Oils), clove oil, and oil of oregano are all good oils to diffuse for flu season.  Some Oils are considered "hot" oils so try not to touch your eyes.
  2. Garlic- Garlic is known to have natural antibiotic properties.  It is important to use fresh chopped garlic not just powdered garlic.  Some of the medicinal properties, such as allicin, stay active for only a short time after being chopped.  One easy way to quickly get chopped garlic into your system is to chop part of a clove, place the chopped parts onto a spoon, cover with honey and lick the honey off of the spoon.  Swallow the freshly cut garlic without chewing so that you don't get "garlic breath."  A little bit of honey helps the garlic go down!  
  3. Vitamin C- Most of us use vitamin C to recover when sick.  I think it is important to take it as a daily supplement to keep your immune system strong, especially during flu season.  Don't wait until you are sick to load up on vitamin C, take it as a daily supplement so you are less susceptible to getting sick in the first place. 
  4. The "Flu Shot" recipe- There are many variations of this recipe online.  Our favorite recipe uses pineapple juice.  Mix 3 or 4 cups of organic pineapple juice with the juice of 2 lemons and 1 orange, add 1 to 2 garlic cloves chopped, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 to 2 tsp turmeric, 1 to 2 tsp ginger, and a tablespoon of honey.  Of course, you can play around with the recipe to suit your preferences.   The pineapple juice helps it to taste sweet although it doesn't taste amazing because it's meant to support your body when sick.  Drink it in small portions throughout the day until you feel better.  
  5. Good sleep- Often we get sick when we are worn down.  Our fast-paced lifestyles keep us in an exhausted state much of the time.  Our immune system can be doing its job while you sleep which is why it is important to rest a lot when you are sick, or are starting to feel sick.  If you start to feel more sleepy than usual your body might be telling you it needs to fight off an oncoming illness.  So go ahead and take a nap!  
  6. Elderberry Extract-  Elderberries have been researched, and have shown positive results that they boost immunity.  You can buy Elderberry syrup at your local grocery store in the natural supplements section.  If you can't find it in your store or natural grocers, then it is very easy to order online, or you can make it at home.  The other good thing about this remedy is that it does not have the toxic side effects of over the counter drugs.  I wish I had known this when my kids were younger!  
  7. Vitamin D-  This vitamin is also a powerful source of immune support.  Add this to your daily vitamin regimen during the winter months when most of us are inside and out of the sun.  Always research your vitamins for bioavailability and purity.  Synthetic supplements rarely have the same benefits as the real ones.  
  8. Echinacea tea- This herb has been shown to support the immune system and possibly shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms.  Echinacea is a supplement that you can enjoy as a hot tea even when you are not sick.  It can be warming and comforting to sip hot tea to support your immune system.  Echinacea tea can irritate an ulcer or a sensitive esophagus so don't drink too much in one day. Use raw honey instead of sugar to sweeten it. 
  9. Probiotics-  In my health research, I have learned that a large portion of your immune system resides in your gut.  There are many things that can destroy the healthy gut bacteria balance that keeps your body strong.  Antibiotics destroy both the bad and good bacteria in your gut which can help you get over whatever ails you at the moment.  However, it then leaves you vulnerable to illness again later since you lost a lot of the "good guys."  Replenish the good guys with a multi-strain probiotic supplement from your health food store.  
  10. Zinc- This is an important mineral that supports many of the body's systems including the immune system.  Many of us don't get the nutrients we need from the food we eat, so a good supplement can help.  If you get a zinc lozenge, avoid ones that are high in sugar.  

Things to avoid: 

  1. Avoid Running yourself ragged with busy work.  If you start to feel sick, rest.  Cancel things that you had on your schedule so you aren't as stressed.  Let the dishes sit in the sink for an extra day so your body can do it's work.  
  2. Avoid Processed foods have no nutritional value and may even wear down your system. 
  3. Avoid sugar that doesn't come from fruits and vegetables.  Sugar can suppress your immune system and work against you if you are trying to get well.  If you are going to buy throat lozenges, try to find ones that have less sugar or are sweetened with honey.  
  4. Avoid too much medicine.  If you need some medicine try not to overdo it.  Many medicines are hard on your body.  If you support your immune system well it will do it's job for you.  
  5. Avoid guilt for taking care of yourself (or your kiddos)!  You are worth it!  
  6. Avoid the flu shot.  It's always your choice on this but our personal experience that we don't get sick when we don't get the flu shot.  As of this year (2018), it has been 6 years since we have gotten the flu shot, and subsequently it has also been 6 years since any of us have gotten the flu.  Again, it's your choice.  

To your health this upcoming season!  Stay strong a vibrant!  

by Gretchen Flores