It’s that time of year again where people are looking for natural flu prevention tips to help reduce their risk for catching the flu. If you’re considering getting the flu shot, a recent article in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology news came out stating that last year’s flu vaccine only demonstrated 20%-30% effectiveness. And this year’s vaccine isn’t expected to be any better if the strain H3N2 is the dominant flu strain again this year (See article reference below). So, what options are you left with? In terms of natural flu prevention, there are lots of things that you can do to prevent the flu, and speed up your recovery if you get sick.
NATURAL FLU PREVENTION
The first and best place to start in order to reduce your risk for the flu is prevention. Now most people are aware of the basic tips such as washing your hands, etc. So we want to go a step beyond. There is a lot you can do right now for natural flu prevention.
- Vitamin D is extremely important to help support your immune system during cold and flu season. Vitamin D is our sunshine vitamin, so it’s no coincidence that cold and flu season starts as the weather gets colder and the hours with sun get shorter. Vitamin D is hard to get through diet alone, so you may want to consider picking up a supplement to get you through the winter months.
- Vitamin C has many important functions in the body. However, if we’re talking specifically about natural flu prevention then vitamin C is important for making white blood cells which are part of our immune system. You can get vitamin C from fruits and veggies, and especially berries. Berries are lower in sugar than other fruits, and are loaded with vitamin C and other important nutrients that help keep the immune system strong. By combining Vitamin C & D together you have one powerful natural flu prevention protocol!
- Echinacea can be great for natural flu prevention however there are two important things we want to point out. Some people may get an allergic reaction to it, so you need to make sure the product says Echinacea root. There was some misunderstanding about the effectiveness around Echinacea because there was research done on Echinacea leaves that showed that Echinacea does not have any effect. This is true that Echinacea leaves are not helpful and as continuing research has shown, Echinacea root is very effective at boosting the immune system.
- There are lots of herbal options for natural flu prevention such as medical mushrooms, astragalus, and licorice which is good for those who need immune support and are dealing with high levels of stress in their life. Herbs help to boost the immune system on the first signs of the flu – the real problem here is making a decision that suits your needs. This is where your naturopath can help you figure out which herbal remedy is right for you.
- You can also pick up a herbal supplement by St. Francis Herb Farm in both capsules and liquid. They also have a kids formula too. The deep immune formula is a great tincture, however, please note this is only for prevention and is not the ideal formula for when you’re actually sick.
CATCHING IT AT THE BEGINNING – AT FIRST SIGN OF THE FLU
- Speaking of St Francis, it has a number of good immune products specifically for sore throats, flu, viruses, and all your immune needs. The labels are easy to read, and you should be able to find a herbal remedy for whatever you are sick with.
- For first signs of any type of cold or flu we think the Cold Pro product by CanPrev is one of the best products out there, and is relatively easy to find, and not too expensive. With Cold Pro you can also take vitamin C supplements in combination to help speed up your recovery time.
- Things you can do at home – warming socks, which is also great for kids because it helps to boost their immune system without any side effects. If you do start to have congestion and phlegm, doing a proper steam inhalation with tea tree oil (not just using a shower or bath) can really help, as well as having lots of chamomile tea to help break up phlegm.
- When people get sick oregano oil is really good for sore throats but not as a general immune booster. There is often confusion about oregano oil being a good catch all remedy for everything. However, oregano oil is most effective for sore throats. Like all essential oils it only kills on contact, so you’ll want to gargle with it. So there’s no benefit to capsules unless you have a problem in your digestive tract
- For homeopathic remedies, Boiron has a number of product. The product they have specifically for the flu is called influenzinum, however they have other products for breaking up mucus and sore throats and all your cold needs as well.
If you’re looking for a more customized plan specific to your needs, give us a call today to find out how we can help you on your path to cold and flu prevention.