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How to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

This year, I have noticed a much higher number of cancellations due to the flu than any other recent season.  It's been brutal this year.  My heart aches to hear the stories of people affected by the flu.  Around 5 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.  
  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.  
  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. 
  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.  It's not meant to taste good (although the pineapple juice tastes sweet) 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.  
  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 we are inside and out of the sun.  Again, research your vitamins for bioavailability and purity. 
  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 is always important to keep your immune system strong.  
  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. 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. 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!  
by Gretchen Flores