Whether or not you should get the flu vaccine is debatable – FYI. I don’t get flu vaccines. Even CDC will tell you that flu vaccines are not 100% effective. The only thing that’s 100% effective is prevention, even if you are vaccinated.
And how do you prevent or minimize flu naturally? Influenza virus is transmitted through infected droplets from person and not from surface contacts. So if you stay away from exposure to infected person, you should be safe. But unfortunately, you won’t know if a person is contagious or not since the contagious period starts before a person experiences any symptoms during the incubation period.
This is how I live through my beloved Northeast winters and survive the flu seasons every year. Yea, my kids will come down with colds here and there, but we haven’t suffered with the flu, ever.
Natural Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu
- Wash your hands often – yeah, yeah, you hear this often but it’s the ONLY way for those viral droplets NOT to go into your orifices. And all you need, really, is soap and warm water. No toxic triclosan or any other fancy antibacterial soaps are needed. Washing your hand thoroughly for 20 seconds – Sing or hum “Happy Birthday” song TWICE – with soap and warm water is sufficient enough to kill the germs.
- Blow Your Nose – if your nose is runny, DO NOT sniffle that yucky viral mucus back into your head. Blow your nose and get that mucus out of your upper respiratory tracts. Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other. And wash your hands after blowing your nose. Better yet, use a Netti Pot (Affiliate Link) or a Sinu Cleanse Nose Spray (Affiliate Link) to flush out any potential germs in your nasal passage.
- Rest – Don’t go into work or send your kids to school if feeling icky. For one thing, you are contaminating everyone else. And the other OBVIOUS thing? You are sick! Resting when you first come down with the symptoms helps your body to recover and allows your immune system to do its fighting. So give your system some help and lay low. Watch that movie you’ve been meaning to watch on Netflix and stay under the blanket.
- Don’t Travel and avoid crowded places – traveling, especially flying in a confined air plane, can increase your chance of being infected since you’re surrounded by people in close proximity. If you must travel, take extra immune boosting remedies and avoid physical contact with people. Try not to shake people’s hands (fist pump, 👊anyone?) and definitely stay away from anyone who coughs or sneezes.
- Wear a mask – unless you are wearing a
- Get Chiropractic Adjustments – I might be biased here but having a full body chiropractic adjustment will re-align your spine properly, improving the spinal nerve flow to your organs, increasing IgA levels to fight stressed to the body, and will help your immune system to respond to any viral or bacterial infections.
- Acupuncture – Eastern medicine has been around for thousands years and long before any antibiotics or antiviral medicine were around. Acupuncture focuses on balancing the chi in your body. And when chi is balanced, it helps to improve your body’s response to external attack on the system so it can fight the viral invasion, preventing you from being infected or reducing the severity and the duration of the flu.
Natural Flu and Cold Prevention Remedies
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C works in preventing or cutting down the duration of flu or cold. We megadose on Vitamin C – about 7000 mg. Once our body starts to reject the doses – you’ll experience flatulence or loose stool – we cut back on the dose little at a time. Your body absorbs more when it’s fighting back so your intake will be higher when you are not feeling well. Listen to your body and it will tell you how much Vitamin C it needs. When my stomach starts to gurgle, then, I know I’ve taken too much so I scale back from the next dose.
- Garlic – garlic is antibacterial. There is a reason why it’s in season from November to February. We NEED garlic in the winter to fight those bacterial infections int he winter. Besides, we LOVE garlic in everything we eat but when one of us is sick, we add extra. If you don’t like the smell, you can take garlic pills but I don’t know if it works as well as the real food. Always go for the whole real food, when you can.
- Ginger – you know ginger is antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It also warms your body. Ginger is a staple in our kitchen, next to garlic. But there is nothing like sipping a hot mug of strong ginger tea when you are sick. My daughter is the Queen of Ginger Tea. She’ll add a cinnamon stick (antiviral) to lessen the spiciness and add honey(expectorant) to mellow it out even more. We drink it, even when we are not sick. Make sure to use fresh ginger, and simmer until the tea turns to caramel like color. It should be strong, almost, stinging, when you drink your first few pots. Then, you can dilute it a bit and continue to drink it as your beverage, throughout the day.
- Echinacea and Zinc – as soon as we feel a bit of ickiness, we pop these dynamic duo for about two weeks. Longer than that doesn’t help. But it definitely shortens the duration of colds and flu. Some folks take them as preventive measure. I’m not sure if it works that way but it sure does nips those suckers in the beginning. And the reason why they work is because Echinacea improves T-Cell production which improves
- Oscillococcinum – Oscillo, for short, is a long name homeopathic remedy that I can never pronounce without stuttering – has been proven to work like magic for flu symptoms. Depending on when you start taking it, the symptoms go away or dramatically lessen by the second or third day. I buy a large pack beginning of the winter, just in case. And as soon as the symptoms start to appear, I take about 6 or 8 doses, even if I feel better. It’s awesome.
- Cough Syrup – I make Asian Pear and Honey Cough Remedy that calms a hacking cough. It’s our “go-to” home remedy for cough. Also check out this awesome Elderberry Cough Syrup recipe by The Soft Landing. It looks yummy enough to use it as a jam. Elderberries are another anti-viral & anti0-oxidant agent. Also, their five ingredient cough remedy really works too. Spicy and sweet. Kinda like spicy Duck Sauce you get from Chinese takeout. Yum!
UPDATE: A reader Lori just reminded me about onion. She is right; onion is amazing since it’s antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. (My grandfather used to eat raw onions and garlic daily. No one wanted to go near him but he never caught colds.) But the latest hoax of leaving cut up onions in the room to attract germs is just that; a hoax. If you are making soups, DO use a plenty of onions. You want to add onion to your green juice? Go right ahead. But a cut up onion absorbing germs in a room has NOT been proven to be effective. You can Google “Onion Myth” or “Onion Absorbs Germs Myth” and you’ll find some interesting articles.
Disclaimer: Flu like symptoms can mimic many serious conditions. And a mild viral or bacterial infection can lead to something more serious than a common cold or flu. If symptoms persist or worsen, see your doctor. These preventive methods are my opinion only and what works for me. This is not a medical advice nor the methods have been proven to prevent flu or cold.