Last week Monday I sat at my desk at work and looked around. The office was practically empty. Where was everyone? Was the building evacuated and I didn’t know?? I found out that they were all taken by the season. No, not the season that just ended, the flu season. Yes, flu season is here again: bigger, badder and boundless! This post will discuss how the flu is contracted, how to treat it and how to naturally prevent you from getting the influenza virus.
Influenza a.k.a. The Flu
Personally, I’ve had the flu twice in my life and both times occurred last year. To be honest, before I caught the flu the first time, I didn’t understand it. I thought the flu was like catching a cold but a little more severe. Boy was I wrong, it was SO much worse! But what is the flu? How do you know if you have the flu and not the common cold?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses types A and B. These viruses spread in people and are the reason for the seasonal flu epidemics we have each year. The flu can be mild to severe and has resulted in hospitalization and even death, yes that’s right, death. This is not something to be taken lightly especially by people who have certain health issues (asthma, heart disease, blood disorders etc) that increase their risk of flu complications including pneumonia, bronchitis or sinus infections.
How do you know you have the flu? Unlike a cold, the flu usually comes on suddenly. You may experience symptoms such as:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
Recovery times range from a few days to less than two weeks, but it can be much longer if you develop complications. The flu can also make chronic health problems worse. For example, asthmatics (like myself) may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu. I was fortunate that the flu did not trigger any attacks for me but this can be a major issue, especially for young children or older ones. These, including women who are pregnant (in my previous article, I discuss natural remedies for pregnant women,) are at high risk for complications from the flu. Due to their physical/medical restrictions, they would highly benefit from the following more natural ways for preventing and treating the flu.
Natural Ways To Prevent The Flu
I am always looking for natural alternatives to help people and have come across the following tips to prevent being infected by the flu:
- Drinking black or green tea with lemon and honey stimulates the hair follicles in the nose causing germs to move more efficiently. The lemon thins mucus and honey is antibacterial.
- Include protein in your diet to boost the immune system. Fish, eggs, nuts and yogurt have plenty of protein.
- Drink plenty of water to flush toxins out through the lymph system.
- Exercise also strengthens your immune system.
- Sweating using a dry sauna also helps get rid of toxins and germs.
- Juicing is a healthy and delicious way to boost your immune system as well. You can include a variety of fruits and vegetables to help you including kale, broccoli, apple, arugula, parsley, cucumber, carrots, garlic and mint.
- There is a delicious Cold and Flu Turmeric Tonic by Meghan Telpner that I was to share with you. It combines vitamin C-rich citrus with immune modulating herbs to really boost your immune system and includes turmeric root, ginger, orange and lemon. Check out the free recipe and directions.
Influenza Viruses Hang Out Spots
Another tip is to be aware of places that may have influenza viruses in abundance and use other natural ways to protect yourself:
- So yes, I encouraged you earlier to exercise. Now I am telling you to be cautious of gyms. That is because gyms are saturated with germs from sweaty towels, dirty sneakers and other things that you don’t want to think of. Instead of sitting directly on the gym’s mat or bench, place a clean towel on it. Wipe down (before and after) any equipment that you will touch such as weights or handle bars on cycles and treadmills with antibacterial wipes.
- Remember the case of the missing coworkers I started this article with? The workplace (university, school, clubs, other places you congregate regularly) is filled with viruses from the constant flow of people in and out. Do you work someplace where you are constantly meeting new people and have to shake their hands? Your chances of obtaining the flu has drastically risen.
- You can use hand sanitizer (store bought or a few drops of lavender essential oil) to clean your hands periodically throughout the day.
There are many things that we can do to prevent ourselves from catching the flu but sometimes we still succumb to the virus. What are some natural ways to treat the flu once you have it?
Natural Virus, Natural Remedies
Natural remedies to help you relieve flu symptoms and overcome the virus include:
Vitamin C (1,000 mg 3–4x daily) – helps with immune system function and boosts white blood cells. You can find vitamin C in whole fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D (2,000 IU daily) – is produced in the body by the sun. It can also be found in fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils. Low vitamin D levels in your body leads to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections.
Echinacea (1,000 mg 2–3x daily) – helps your body fight off infections. This herb effectively treats respiratory tract infections in the short- and long-term, acts as an anti-inflammatory, which reduces bronchial symptoms of cold and flu.
Elderberry (10 mL daily) – this herb can deactivate the flu virus, relieve sinus pain and naturally boost immunity.
Oregano Oil (500 mg 2x daily) – has an antiviral effect.
Zinc (50–100 mg daily) – supports immune function and has an antiviral effect.
Brewer’s Yeast – contains B vitamins and protein and is used for cold, flu and other respiratory tract infections. It works by stimulating intestinal enzymes and improves immune response to viruses that infect the lungs.
Peppermint and frankincense essential oil – can naturally support the immune system.
Clove oil – protects the body against infection and can speed recovery from the flu virus.
Tea tree oil – has an antiviral effect and eases congestion.
Lemon oil – has an antiviral effect, boosts the immune system and clears mucus and phlegm.
Thyme oil – acts as a congestion drainer.
These restore the beneficial bacteria in your body which can help boost your immune system.
Remember, if you have the flu, eat foods that are easy to digest (broths and soups,) stay hydrated, and make herbal teas with lemon, honey, cinnamon or honey and ginger.
I found a lot of these natural remedies here by Dr. Axe. He also includes different natural recipes to help you if you are suffering with the flu. Besides the natural remedies listed above, there are other tips to help counter the flu.
Influenza Prevention – Avoid Catching And Spreading
There are popular alternatives to prevent the flu. Doctors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting vaccinated every year. The flu vaccination may reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, hospitalization, and missed work (I can attest to that!) and school due to the flu.
Those high risk persons discussed earlier that get flu symptoms should be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible. These can make illness less severe, reduce flu complications and lessen the time you are sick. As soon as you begin to feel flu symptoms, start taking lozenges with zinc or the other healthy aids listed to build up your immune system.
The CDC also made some recommendations for avoiding spreading the virus once you have it:
- Stay at home when you’re sick.
- Stay at home if you’ve been exposed to a sick family or household member.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Cover your nose or mouth with a mask or cloth if you are sick and have to be around others at a community gathering of people.
Influenza viruses spread mainly through small droplets which are expelled into the air when people infected with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These infectious droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, attaching to the cells in their nasal passages and throat. They are now infected and can infect others.
Following these procedures can help prevent and stop the spread of flu.
Be Flu-ent In Flu Prevention!
I initially planned to write on another topic for this article. However, as I continue to lose my family, friends and coworkers to this influenza, I wanted to give practical suggestions to help anyone battle this virus; how to get well sooner and how to prevent you from infecting others. For those who do not have the flu but are surrounded by persons that do, safeguard yourselves. Please let us be diligent about protecting ourselves and others. The flu is serious and have already taken too many lives in this new year. Let’s educate and support each other through this flu season. Any other flu prevention and treatment tips you want to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Remember, quitting isn’t always a bad thing!
12 thoughts on “15 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of The Flu”
I absolutely LOVE this website!! It applies to basically EVERYONE in the world. All of us have habits or whatever that we want to quit. Your topics are great and you cover everything. The content with in your articles is spot on and I learned a lot already.
I am sharing your site with all friends and family and following you on social media looking forward to what you post next. Very helpful Posts you have. Thanks! – matt
Hi Matt, I am so happy that you are enjoying the articles on the site! We all can use encouragement sometimes, especially when we are battling a habit and are surrounded constantly by temptations. I am glad that you find them beneficial and certainly appreciate you sharing my article with others and on social media. I have just posted my latest article on ways to stop procrastinating if you are in school, but of course anyone can gain from the information. Let me know your thoughts!
I think these tips are vital with so many sick this flu season. Thanks!
With so many affected this flu season, these tips are so helpful. I really appreciate the hand washing tip. It is vital to remain healthy.
Hi Tami. I agree, we do not want to underestimate a tip as simple as washing our hands. Have you tried using any of the essential oils to cleanse your hands? The one I recommended kills germs, leaves hands soft and smells great!
This info is very helpful. So many people are battling the flu. These tips could help to cut down on sickness.
Wow this information has opened my eyes a whole lot, I never realized you can do more than just take cold medicines, drink lots of fluid and rest to treat the flu. I now know how to take preventative measures to avoid the flu in the first instance especially a person like myself with a weak immune system. So now that we are in the full blown flu season I will now incorporate in my regement the natrual remedies along with the herbal supplements, thanks for sharing.
Hi Lilly, I agree that keeping hydrated and resting up are important ways to treat the flu. I am glad to share with you the other numerous ways you can not only treat yourself, but also prevent yourself from catching the flu. Please feel free to share which natural remedies you are trying and if they work for you. If you have any other questions on the remedies listed here, let me know and I will help in any way I am able! Thanks for reading!
Awesome post full of lots of useful tips. Honestly, after reading this I’m not sure that I’ve ever had the full-on flu. That being said I have had bronchitis, strep throat, sinus infections etc. so I can only imagine how awful the flu can be.
But thanks to you, I (along with anyone else who reads your article) now have a variety of strategies to help prevent the flu and alleviate symptoms if we do still get it. Things like drinking black/green tea, drinking water, and exercising regularly are things that are easy to fit into my routine already. I may also now need to get my hands on some essential oils.
Thanks for the great post about something that affects so many of us!
Hi Brittaney, you are most welcome. I am glad that some of the suggestions mentioned in my article are already incorporated in your daily routine but trying to get a coffee addict to switch from coffee to green/black tea is harder than it sounds! (Can you tell I was a former coffee addict? lol) It is also gratifying to hear that you haven’t experienced a full-on-flu, though I’m sorry about all the other ailments you have experienced. Hopefully your healthy routine results in continued influenza prevention. I hope you continue to enjoy the posts!
Nicely done! As an asthmatic myself, I am always a bit paranoid about being in group at this time of year. Pneumonia a few years back got me to finally take the flu shot each year, but I prefer trying to remain healthy organically in addition to medical science. This article was just the ticket! Enjoyably framed, lots of helpful suggestions and links. Great job! I also like the ‘How to Quit’ theme — very versatile.
Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Being asthmatic is tough enough without adding pneumonia to the list. I am hopeful that persons reading this will protect themselves before their illness becomes that dire. The flu shot works wonders but I am realizing that a lot more persons are trying to limit the amount of manufactured medicines they take and are switching to natural alternatives wherever possible. Of course, like you, persons can always combine medical and natural, flu shot and juicing. I am happy to hear you have benefitted from the article and links! (I’m also glad the “How to Quit” theme is catchy and not annoying, lol.)