5 Natural Ways to Prevent the Flu +Top Holistic Treatments

flu season

Have you ever had the flu? If you have, you know how miserable it can be. Every year, flu affects 5-8% of adults. Flu is not a bacteria but a virus. Therefore, antibiotics are not effective for treatment. While most adults will have mild symptoms, they can be miserable. So let’s talk about how we can prevent and treat the flu.

What are the symptoms? These are the common symptoms associated with the flu. 

  1. Body aches or chills
  2. Fever
  3. Headache
  4. Mild cough
  5. Fatigue
  6. Kids commonly have loose stools

5 Natural Ways To Prevent The Flu

Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds each time. Use plain soap and water, not antibacterial soaps or fancy soaps. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective than simple soap and can potentially contribute to antibiotic resistance. They also tend to contain lots of excess chemicals we do not need. 

Take Vitamins 

Vitamin D3: Adequate vitamin D status is critical for optimal immune function and is hard to get enough of from food alone, especially in the winter. It’s has been shown that adequate vitamin D levels reduce your likelihood of getting the cold and flu substantially. An extensive systematic review suggests that supplementation may help prevent upper respiratory infections. The dose for adults is 2000-5000 units daily.

Buffered Vitamin C: Daily use of Vitamin C reduces the likelihood of colds and flu, reduces antibiotic use, and school absences in children. People who take vitamin C regularly can expect shorter colds (by 8% in adults) with slightly less severe symptoms. A 2018 meta-analysis also supports the idea that vitamin C can shorten colds and lessen symptoms. The dose is 1000-2000 mg/day for adults.

Zinc citrate: Daily supplementation with Zinc reduces colds and flu. The daily dose is 30-60 mg/day total. For more information about Zinc and hormone health, check out this post

Probiotics: A healthy gut flora supports a healthy gut. Since 70% of our immune system is in our gut, we need to keep our gut healthy. A probiotic taken daily is essential. Use a product that contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. There is even evidence that states Bacillus bacteria has anti-influenza activity. This probiotic is the brand I love. 

Fish Oil: High in vitamin A, which is strongly supportive of the immune system and particularly the respiratory passages, is another daily support you can use for your family’s or personal flu prevention plan. It also decreases inflammation. The daily dose should be 1000mg DHA+EPA.

Take Herbs

 Herbal remedies can be very effective for prevention. 

1. Echinacea Liquid Extract: 1 tsp. Twice daily. This herb can help the body fight infection as well as act as an anti-inflammatory. It can reduce symptoms of the flu as well as combat yeast. *safe for pregnant/nursing women

2. Medicinal Mushrooms: I recommend a combination of medicinal mushrooms, including cordyceps, turkey tail, reishi, and maitake, for example, as a part of a daily immune-boosting herbal protocol. I use Mudwtr for my regimen. 

3. Cook with onions, garlic, turmeric, and ginger, all of which have immune-boosting qualities to prevent and treat the infection.

Get Rest

Adequate sleep is essential for the prevention of the flu. Good sleep is 7 to 9 hours a night. If you are under extra stress, you may need additional time for rest. 

Decrease Your Stress

Stress is so bad for your immune system. Bad for your health overall. So make sure to you can a stress-reduction plan that includes adequate sleep, meditation, and exercise. 

5 ways for detox

Treatment For The Flu

Conventional Treatment: Tamiflu

Tamiflu is a neuraminidase inhibitor. It is to be taken at the onset of symptoms within 72 hours to reduce symptom duration. It does not prevent the flu. The date behind Tamiflu is muddy. Over the last few years, many people have been suggesting that the companies’ claims of preventing hospital-associated illness and minimally side effects are inaccurate. Unfortunately, the company has not been transparent about the data. If you want more about this topic, check out this article

You need a doctor to prescribe this medication. So seek medical attention if you feel this is the right choice for you.  

Natural Treatments For The Flu

Natural treatments for the flu include herbal remedies, diet, lifestyle, and essential oils.

Diet

  1. Bone Broth is nutrient-dense. It contains essential minerals and vitamins. It also helps with staying hydrated. 
  2. Electrolytes. Make sure you are getting support for your immune system. There are several companies that make electrolyte supplements. 
  3. Green Tea. Green tea is an anti-oxidant and reduces inflammation. Catechins and polyphenols help interfere with viral replication so that they can decrease the duration of the symptoms. 
  4. Medicinal mushrooms combat the stress to your body as well as boost your immunity. 

Lifestyle

  1. Get rest, more than your usual 7 to 9 hours. 
  2. Don’t Go to work so you will not infect others. 
  3. Essential oils like peppermint and frankincense rubbed into your feet and neck have been shown to improve flu symptoms, as indicated in this study

Supplements:

  1. Elderberry, one tablespoon three times a day for 5 to 7 days. Data indicate that it can reduce symptoms of the flu. But limit it to no more than two weeks at a time. 
  2. Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the immune system. It has also been shown to decrease cold and flu symptom durations. Take 1000mg a day to prevent the flu and up to 4000mg daily when symptoms. 
  3. Zinc 30 to 40mg daily. Zinc improves immunity which will help you fight the infection. It has natural anti-viral effects. 

Stay Healthy This Flu Season!

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Hey, it's Dr. Jen.

I am so glad you are here! OB/GYN. Mamma of 4. Self-proclaimed foodie. Avid outdoor enthusiast. I am a hormone guru who healed my own PCOS and hypothyroidism through diet and lifestyle shifts.

My natural medicine blog contains tips about health, natural living, and some of my favorite hormone-friendly recipes.

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Dr. Jennifer Roelands

I’m an Integrative Medicine trained OB/GYN and expert in PCOS who healed my own PCOS and hypothyroidism.

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