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This year has been one of the worst years for the flu since the swine flu outbreak almost a decade ago. According to the The New York Times, the number of people falling ill with the flu is increasing nationally and hospitalizations have soared predicting a higher than average death rate.
Conventional medical doctors can only provide symptom relief since antibiotics won’t kill a virus. They will usually recommend that you get a flu shot at the beginning of the season in order to prevent the flu, but are flu shots effective?
Are Flu Shots Effective?
According to the CDC and WebMD, flu shots are between 40% and 60% effective. However, this article from CBSNEWS.com says that this year’s flu vaccine may only be 10% effective.
“The way that vaccines work is that they’re a deactivated or disabled version of the virus that we present to our immune system,” Dr. Pardis Sabeti, a Harvard professor and infectious disease expert, explained on “CBS This Morning.” “Our immune system then gets to see it, to recognize it, and learn it so that if we ever get a natural virus infection, we’re ready to respond.”
However, the problem with flu is that the virus constantly changes. “It’s very diverse. Lots of different strains, and it’s changing all the time,” Sabeti said. “So by the time we pick a version of the virus to make into a vaccine and put it into production, it might take six to eight months and in that time the virus might change.”
Tamiflu, an anti-viral, can be effective in preventing or shortening the duration and severity of the flu if you catch it within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. You will need a prescription in order to get it. The problem we had was that all of the pharmacies were out of it, so there was no way to get it within the time frame for it to be effective.
So, how are we supposed to protect ourselves from the flu? And, are we relegated to trying to control symptoms once it strikes?
We recently had the flu visit our house, and I was determined to do everything in my power to keep from getting it. I can tell you that this was one of the scariest flu viruses that I’ve ever seen.
The amount of mucus in the head and chest was colossal along with the rapid speed in which it developed. I can see why people are developing pneumonia easily from this flu.
It’s been ten days, and I still haven’t gotten it yet… knock on wood.
Update! Ironically, while I was writing this post, I started coming down with flu symptoms. I upped my game and added some new interventions and was able to hold it at bay. I don’t think it ever turned into the full-blown flu. I had one day that was really rough but started pulling out of it rather quickly.
Here Are My Go-To Natural Flu Remedies
Homemade Bone Broth
When the body is fighting the flu, it needs to put all of it’s energy toward healing not digesting food. That’s why one of my favorite flu remedies is sipping bone broth.
Bone broth provides all of the building blocks that the gut lining needs in order to regenerate (amino acids, gelatin, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc.). Bone broth has a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut and supports the body’s healing mechanisms.
This is one of my go-to flu remedies or remedy for any time I want to boost my immune system. The bioflavanoids in elderberries protect the cells and keep viruses from infecting them!
Adults can take 1 Tablespoon every 3-4 hours when fighting the flu, children over 2 can take 1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours. You can also take some everyday for maintenance during flu season. Here’s how to make it at home!
Garlic has been used throughout history to treat infections of all kinds. It’s known for its anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It has high amounts of Vitamin C which makes it an amazing immune booster! You can read more about garlic’s healing powers here!
I minced 1 large clove of fresh garlic and swallowed with water (chased with grapefruit juice) three times a day while fighting the flu. It must be FRESH garlic, not the already minced kind in the jar. It burns a little going down, but it is oh so worth it!
Oregano Essential Oil
One of the most powerful flu remedies in my first aid kit is Oil of Oregano! With many bacterial strains becoming resistant to the most powerful antibiotics, scientists are looking to Oil of Oregano as a possible solution.
As a matter of fact, Oil of Oregano has been the focus of over 800 studies! It’s antibiotic properties have been found to equal or exceed many modern day antibiotics. Here’s more information on Oregano Oil!
This oil is powerful, so it should never be put directly on the skin or taken internally without diluting it. To use topically, use 3 drops into a teaspoon of coconut oil and rub over the affected area.
To use it internally, put 3 drops into an empty gel cap and fill the rest of the cap with olive oil or coconut oil. Can take 3 times a day when fighting the flu. Do not use longer than 2 weeks at a time.
Herbal Tea With Honey And Lemon
One of the most soothing natural flu remedies that I use is drinking an immune-boosting herbal tea with raw, local honey and lemon. The lemon provides extra Vitamin C and the honey provides anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as a host of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Throw in some cinnamon if you’re having digestive distress. I usually make a quart of herbal tea at a time and sip on it throughout the day. Each serving being a cup of tea with the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of honey.
Diffuse Thieves Essential Oil
The flu is famous for being airborne and infiltrating every inch of your house. Now, we have a weapon to fight it’s stealth presence. Diffuse Thieves essential oil in which has been shown to kill the flu virus on contact greatly reducing your chances of spreading it to everyone in the household.
I just diffuse 6 drops and let the diffuser run all day. I wasn’t able to find any studies on Thieves killing viruses, but Here is an article explaining how diffusing Thieves reduced air-borne bacteria.
Salt Water Gargle
This is something I remember my mom having us do whenever we had the first sign of a sore throat coming on. As it turns out, salt water gargling is a powerful flu remedy! According to Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, gargling with warm salt water provides symptomatic relief as well as preventative benefits as well.
Always use Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt. I use 1 Tablespoon of salt per 8 ounces of water. Gargle at the first sign of a sore throat, and you may be able to cut it short.
Colloidal silver has been proven to kill over 650 disease-causing pathogens within minutes of contact! It’s great for wound care, pink eye, sinus infections, ear infections, cold/flu… even pneumonia!
I like to use two different forms. The liquid silver to put drops in my ears, take internally, and use in the nebulizer, and the silver gel to swab inside my nose. To use for ear infections, put 3 drops in the ear and hold for 6 minutes. Drain and repeat with the other ear. Do this twice a day.
For chest infections, fill nebulizer 1/2 full with liquid silver. Do one breathing treatment a day for 1 week.
To try to keep from catching the flu from family members, swab inside of nostrils with silver gel several times a day. Can also do this to shorten flu virus.
White Distilled Vinegar
A fellow Lymie told me about this flu remedy! She said that this is the first thing that she does when someone in her family starts to come down with the flu. A study from the UK validated that malt vinegar killed the flu virus as effectively as bleach.
Just put a cup of white vinegar in a pot on the stove on medium-low heat and simmer throughout the day. Breath it in your nostrils and lungs and let it do its magic.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is another really powerful flu remedy for opening up congested sinuses and lungs. Just put a drop on the chest, throat, feet, and sinuses being super careful around the eyes. I would even say just a little under the nose would be sufficient.
This stuff travels and gets in your eyes before you even know what happened. Caution! Be careful not to rub your eyes after you apply it. You may even want to use a cotton swab when you apply it to keep from getting it on your hands.
Extra Vitamin C
Vitamin C has so many benefits that it’s usually the first thing we grab when we feel a cold coming on. It is vital in the production of collagen and has anti-aging benefits, helps the body absorb minerals, fights free radicals, and many other benefits.
Our bodies don’t make it or store it, so it’s important that we get it through diet or supplements. Some of the best sources are fresh and raw guava, red peppers, oranges, kale, kiwi, and green pepper. The RDA’s (recommended daily allowance) for Vitamin C seem really low at only 90mg for adult males and 75mg for adult females.
It’s impossible to over dose on Vitamin C; however, it can give you diarrhea if you take too much and that threshold is different for everyone. The body will get rid of any excess that it doesn’t need.
It’s important to take a supplement with bioflavanoids for better absorption. I take 3000mg of this one three times a day with food when I’m fighting a cold or the flu,
Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, hypothesized that the flu could actually be the result of a Vitamin D3 deficiency. His hypothesis was supported by evidence from one of the largest national studies of it’s kind which discovered that people with the lowest blood serum levels of Vitamin D3 had significantly more colds and flu.
High dose Vitamin D3 can also be used to treat the flu! Dr. Elle Campbell, Integrative MD in Atlanta, GA, will have her patients who’ve tested positive for the flu take 50,000 units of D3 twice a day for 3-5 days in order to shorten it’s effects.
It’s important to supplement Vitamin D3 in the winter months when we’re stuck indoors and can’t get out in the sun like we should.
According to WebMD, several studies have shown that taking zinc at the first sign of a cold or flu can lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. So, it might be a good idea to keep zinc lozenges stocked in the pantry during cold and flu season.
Magnesium is important for over 300 enzymatic actions in the body. According to Dr. Mark Sircus, “A magnesium saturated body will have a tougher immune system that will fight more easily against infections and influenza.” You can read more about magnesium’s role in fighting cold and flu here.
A transdermal application of magnesium chloride (applying it directly to the skin) is actually the best way to fight the flu, but epsom salt baths are a good alternative.
Potatoes On The Feet
Ok, this one sounded weird to me, too, but hang in there with me. Potatoes have been used as a folk remedy to pull toxins out of the body through the feet for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s not so crazy when you consider that many people buy foot detox pads in order to do the same thing. Instead of buying the pads, you can use potatoes.
Just cut two thin slices of potatoes, put on bottoms of feet and wrap in plastic wrap, then put on tight fitting socks. Do this before you go to bed and see what the potatoes look like in the morning.
I’ve also done this with onions and garlic, but had an allergic reaction, so proceed with caution.
Important Note About This Flu Season
Let me just say that these are the flu remedies that I try first. However, this flu season is nothing to mess around with. If you or your loved ones have mucus filling your chest and lungs, then it’s time to head to the ER or doctor’s office for a chest x-ray. DO NOT WAIT!!! This flu is turning into pneumonia fast and people are dying.
However, in years past of flu season we’ve been able to avoid the doctor’s office and ER by incorporating these powerful and natural flu remedies.
NOTE! I am also not opposed to over-the-counter symptom relief short term while building the immune system and fighting the flu naturally. We had Mucinex and Sudafed on hand for the worst days. Everything is a trade. I know that I’m putting synthetic chemicals in my body, but it’s worth the trade for me to get a good night’s sleep, because that’s when our bodies do their best healing.
What are your favorite natural flu remedies? What have I left off the list? Let me know in the comments!
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