Updated: Dec 31, 2020
There are so many ways to stay well during flu season that it will be impossible to cover all the possibilities, so I will cover the ones I have experience with. The flu vaccine is rarely effective (a few years ago it was 19% effective) and I will post about that in another blog, so we need to focus on more natural ways of staying well.
First and foremost is your diet. Sugar lowers your immune system and simple carbs like bread, cookies, crackers, etc turns into sugar so cleaning up your diet will go a long way. Eat a majority plant based diet and include good protein sources like beans, lentils, fish, chicken, lean meats and eggs (organic and free range when possible). Add in a cup or two of daily bone broth as it helps with gut function and immune system. That gelatinous stuff on top when it cools is really good stuff for you so don't scoop that off. Eat plenty of garlic and oregano as they have natural infection fighting properties. Get plenty of sleep, manage your stress better, and practice gratitude. Good hand washing and not being too close to sick people will go a long way. If you are sick, cough into the inside of your elbow. If you try to eat from the rainbow daily and follow these tips, that should be adequate for most to stay well and get better faster when you are sick.
Supplement wise, there is so much to consider. One of the most important would be probiotics in my opinion. Due to pasteurization of foods and exposure to antibiotics not only through prescription but due to animal meat being treated, we run in a deficit in our gut. We need good gut flora for a strong immune system. Imagine in the olden days how things were different. We drank raw milk which had natural bacteria, we ate more fermented foods because they didn't have refrigeration, and they nothing was pasteurized. Now we have more frequent exposure to antibiotics, everything is pasteurized, and we are afraid of germs so we sanitize everything. Germ are not all bad. Thank goodness for antibiotics because they are lifesaving but most antibiotics are used in animals that we eat so we have a continual low grade exposure to those as well as in plants. So you can buy probiotics or get them naturally in yogurt (the kind with the least ingredients, preferably organic), kefir, kombucha (fermented tea), sauerkraut, and much more. You can actually make these at home for much cheaper and likely much healthier.
For others, you can do vitamin C 1000 mg daily (potent anti-oxidant), vitamin D3 (target blood levels are 50-80 and is so important for so many processes in your health), and omega 3's like fish oil(quality does matter). Astralgus has been shown to be helpful for flu prevention as it is an antiviral remedy. Echinacea is an immune booster. I would rotate those every two weeks as soon as your area starts reporting flu outbreaks. If you have an autoimmune condition though, I would avoid echinacea as that may cause other issues for your condition. I have also seen patients develop high blood pressure after taking echinacea for months so I would do two weeks on and two weeks off. I think rotating supplements in general is more helpful than taking them daily. I also happen to love essential oils and use Theives to the feet regularly or diffuse when someone is sick in the house.
Elderberry syrup is a growing favorite with increasing NIH studies to back it up for prevention and treatment. One of my favorites is a locally made preparation but I know many holistic moms making their own and sharing with loved ones. Here is a site for those of you not ready to make your own. Again, first focus on diet and lifestyle for prevention. God really gave us everything in nature that we need to give good health. Many prescription medicines even come from natural substances. Just know that the odds of dying from the flu are low in spite of what the media tells you. Per the CDC National Vital Statistics, only an average of 1000-3000 die that have a flu positive test out of over 300 million people. They combine all cause of pneumonia death year round with the flu deaths to reach that 50,000 mortality number. A little misleading I must say. If you come down with the flu, there are a lot of things that will help you manage and stay tuned for that!