Across the nation, temperatures are beginning to drop, signaling the beginning of flu season. Back-to-school events, holiday travels and fall festivals all facilitate the spread of viral infections.
Staving off the flu can be borderline impossible during the fall season. Using naturally-occurring preventative and treatment measures, however, you can bolster your immune system and help reduce the flu’s impact on your life, allowing you to make the most out of the fall and winter seasons. Using natural treatment and preventative measures also allows you to bypass the potentially harsh side-effects of conventional medicine.
Defining the flu
The flu is a common illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks near others—the virus is capable of withstanding short periods of time airborne.
Flu symptoms differ depending on the strain involved and the person infected, but the most common symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, muscle pain, coughing, sinus congestion and more. While a flu infection is little more than an inconvenience for most people, it can be potentially deadly in some patients, particularly those at risk of secondary infections, such as the elderly, babies and people with compromised immune systems.
Each year, flu infections result in roughly 20,000 hospitalizations and an average of 100 pediatric deaths in the United States alone.
While conventional medicine prescribes the flu vaccine as the most robust preventative measure available, it’s important to realize that obtaining the flu vaccine alone isn’t enough to stop you from becoming infected. In fact, the flu vaccine typically only addresses one or two of the major strains in transmission each year—there are hundreds of other flu strains that are resistant to the vaccine and could still cause an infection.
Thankfully, there are a number of natural remedies you can use to stave off potential flu infections and ease the discomfort caused by existing flu symptoms.
Fighting the flu
The best safeguards against flu infection are those that are naturally found in the world around us—in the plants we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Looking to nature, we can identify a number of helpful tools that allow us to stave off even the most egregious potential flu infections.
Here are just some of vitamins, supplements, oils and herbs that can help reduce the risk of flu infection and reduce the discomfort of ongoing flu symptoms:
- Vitamin C: Widely regarded as the best immune-supportive tool available, vitamin C is a naturally-occurring substance that’s commonly found in fruits like oranges and other citrus. Consuming roughly 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C on a daily basis can provide your immune system with the support it needs to stave off common infections, including influenza, the common cold and other common fall ailments.
- Echinacea: This anti-inflammatory herb both prevents illness and substantially reduces the negative side-effects of influenza infections. Echinacea is frequently either consumed in a concentrated tablet form or drank as a tea. If you begin experiencing flu-like symptoms, it’s advisable to begin drinking five to six cups of Echinacea tea, or take two seven-milligram tablets thrice daily to stave off the effects of infection.
- Elderberry: Another herb with powerful anti-influenza capabilities, elderberry essential oil is an effective supplement to use for fighting existing flu infections and for keeping potential influenza cases at bay. Elderberry also relieves bronchial swelling, making it particularly well-suited for people suffering from existing lung-related conditions, including allergies and asthma.
- Brewer’s Yeast: Brewer’s Yeast contains a number of powerful vitamins combined into one easily consumed supplement tablet or extract. Brewer’s Yeast contains a number of significant vitamins, including chromium and vitamin B, as well as protein. Additionally, Brewer’s Yeast stimulates activity in your body’s microbiome; this equips the good bacteria that live in your gut (where a majority of your immune system is located) to stave off infections more effectively.
- Oregano: In a concentrated oil form, oregano is a powerful anti-viral actor. Taking two to three concentrated oregano capsules thrice daily is an excellent way to fight viral infections of all kinds, including influenza. Carvacrol, the active ingredient in oregano, is an effective tool to use to stave off potential infections, as well as to fight existing influenza symptoms.
These natural flu preventatives and remedies are great tools to help us reduce the risk of flu infection and enjoy a happy and healthy fall season. It’s important to use these oils, herbs and supplements in coordination with other healthy living practices—including adequate water consumption, eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy sleep routine and more—to maximize their effects.