Monday, November 7, 2011

Natural Prevention for Flu Season

Flu season. Seems like everyone I know is sick or feeling lousy. We do not have anyone in school or daycare, for the most part I attribute being healthy to that. But still we are constantly in contact with sick relatives, friends, and co-workers at my husband's job. Thankfully we have a little flu season routine that really seems to work for prevention. Why wait until you're sick? Whether you're just starting to feel the symptoms or you don't want to get sick in the first place, here are some strategies that work great for us and may work for you. 
  • Honey, garlic, lemon: This is our family staple for winter. Two cloves of garlic (lightly boiled for 60 seconds for kids or if you don't want to smell too bad), two tablespoons good quality honey, one table spoon fresh lemon juice. Taken before visiting people or being in public or at the first onset of flu/cold symptoms. 
  • Echinacea: I love the tea, but we also have it in whole herb capsule form for convenience. Take as directed on the package. 
  • Vitamin D: Tanning in the sun in my bathing suit for twenty minutes is unfortunately no longer an option in November, of course. That's why it is so important to get vitamin D some other way. Considering nearly 90% of the North American population is vitamin D deficient, this is a big deal. Your immune system simply will not function properly without enough vitamin D. Your best bet is a high quality, minimally processed, fermented cod liver oil. The next best thing is a vitamin D3 supplement in the form of cholecalciferol.  
  • Oscillococcinum: This homeopathic remedy has worked great for us. We all take it after we know we've been exposed to a sick person or at the first onset of symptoms, does the trick. It isn't very effective if you have already been sick for a couple of days though. 
  • Goldenseal: Not recommended for pregnant women, but otherwise a great immune system boost when you need it. This isn't something we take everyday as a supplement, only when needed. 
  • Probiotics: Your immune system also largely depends a proper gut balance. High quality probiotics help achieve that. You may just need some organic yogurt, or you may want a supplement. Just make sure to avoid anything synthetic, there are a lot of impostors on the market.
  • A healthy everyday diet: Don't expect not to get sick if your diet consists of the typical processed foods. High amounts of grains, sugars, corn, soy, additives, preservatives, and coloring will not only make you chronically ill, but a lot more susceptible to the seasonal flu. Instead opt for small amounts of whole grains, large amounts of healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, cod liver oil, full fat grass fed butter, raw milk cheese), and lots of colorful veggies. The vitamins and minerals in such a diet will go a long way in supporting your immune system.
  • Skip the sugar: With the exception of honey and maple syrup, we try to avoid as much processed sugars as possible. Sugar suppresses the immune system, it will not help you fight sickness, period. In fact, it will make you highly susceptible to getting sick. All. Winter. Long.
All of the above is of course great to be taken if you are already sick, but even better as preventative medicine or at the onset of symptoms. If it's a little too late, we do have two great products at Thanks Mama that can ease your care of an infant or toddler when they are sick. Try the Nose Frida aspirator and the Mother Earth Rosemary Petroleum Free Respiratory Rub to ease your little one's discomfort. 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended as medical advice, always consult your doctor. 

Image: graur razvan ionut /

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