Whether you are pro or anti- flu vaccine, getting the shot doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be free from the flu. Because I believe in our bodies natural ability to fight off sickness, we do not get vaccinated & haven’t been sick (with the flu) for years. In fact, the only times I remember getting the flu was when I was vaccinated, ironically. Instead, we cherish & hold dear to these tried & true tips for natural flu prevention every winter. Throw these tips into your routine so that you can lessen your odds of getting sick or simply speed up your recovery naturally!
Wash your hands
It’s very basic, but it’s one of the best ways to prevent spreading sickness. Wash your hands before you eat, after you use the bathroom, after handling money, after diaper changes, before leaving the library, etc. Help your kids wash their hands well! Most children aren’t capable of doing a decent job, so help them out. I do carry a more natural hand sanitizer with me for emergencies, but prefer to wash with hot water & soap the majority of the time.
Rest & sleep
Sleep is one of the most important things when sick & preventing sickness when you’re starting to feel run down. I really think that sickness is often our body’s way of saying “slow down & rest!” & if we just keep go-go-going, we will just feel miserable longer. Do whatever it takes to get extra sleep when you’re sick. Sometimes taking a hot, steamy shower or epsom salt bath before bed can be helpful. Mist your pillow with a bit of lavender essential oil or try using a humidifier in your room to keep the air moist. Go to bed early. “Unplug” from all electronics at least 30 minutes before attempting sleep.
We don’t use anti-bacterial anything (here’s why) but we make all of our cleaning recipes mostly with white vinegar. Outside of the home, I’m a bit more diligent about disinfecting things like shopping carts, high chairs, & table tops, etc. especially with little ones who touch everything & put their hands in their mouth. At home, I think that some germs can boost an immune system.
Food is fuel for the body, so what do you want to fill it with– junk or food that will nourish? When we are sick is when we need to make every bite we eat pack a nutritional, nourishing punch, & that also means choosing foods & drinks that make us feel good, too. Typically, we eat lots of lean proteins, full-fat dairy products, colorful vegetables, & some fruits. But especially when we are sick, we try to stay away from processed foods, carbs, empty sugary drinks, sugar & limit dairy. We limit sugar because it can reduce the action of leukocytes (or white blood cells) whose job it is to fight infection. We limit dairy products because they can cause more mucus build up (this is definitely an “old wives” tale, but I’ve found it to be true!)
Eating fermented foods that are filled with probiotics
To help prevent sickness, we eat a lot of yogurt, which is filled with probiotics & it’s super easy to make at home in your crockpot! If we were to get sick, we would limit the yogurt (because of the mucus thing), but then I would instead offer probiotic supplements. These are especially important if anyone has had to go on antibiotics for any reason. Probiotics are super beneficial for a healthy gut & healthy body!
Raw garlic is a natural immune booster, so I suck it up & eat a few cloves when I’m feeling crummy. I like it best minced on some eggs so it’s easier to eat. I once tried to swallow a whole clove & almost choked on it. Another time, I literally chewed it up in my mouth by itself & almost died. Since then, if I eat it in my eggs, it’s way more appetizing! I usually aim to eat 1-3 cloves a day when I’m starting to feel sick. Make sure that it is raw, though, because cooked garlic does not have the same benefits.
Drink lots of water (sometimes with lemon &/or honey)
Water is my cure-all for most things. Have a headache? Feel dizzy? Trying to kick a cold? Guzzle some water. When I’m starting to get sick, I aim to drink about a gallon of water a day with some fresh lemon to flush my system. If it’s hard for you to drink straight up water, try one of these refreshing recipes (I like sticking cucumber spears in my water). I also drink lots of herbal teas in the winter because drinking cold water is sometimes more of a challenge. You can also just heat up water & add a bit of honey & lemon for a soothing hot beverage. When Ruby is sick, this is the time when she gets to drink apple juice (I dilute it with water) because I want her to be drinking her fluids & she can suck down a bottle of juice faster than anyone I know.
Getting fresh air & sunshine every day
I’m a big believer of outdoor therapy. There have been many days where Ruby was having a challenging day for whatever reason & just a 30-minute walk would alleviate her symptoms (or at least help me from not going too crazy because we were out of the house for a bit). Fresh air & sunshine are restorative for your body! If you live in a place that gets little sunlight in the winter, consider taking a vitamin D supplement. I think it’s important for everyone to get fresh air, but especially children (here are 10 reasons kids need fresh air).
We love our Chiropractor! Both Ruby & I go every 6 weeks or as needed (especially if Ruby has a bad fall or has a cold). For me, it helps prevent migraines & headaches & was especially helpful while I was pregnant. For kids it’s very important since their little bodies are going through so much growth & trauma all the time (it’s especially helpful for newborns since being born is kind of an event for them). I bring Ruby in at the beginning of every cold, too, to help prevent against ear infections, strep throat, & other sicknesses. Since bringing her to the Chiro, she has only had 1 ear infection (that’s what brought me to the Chiro in the first place) & hardly any other sicknesses. I have heard countless first-hand stories of Chiro care curing colic, hearing problems, allergies, sinus infections, & many other issues, often times within the first few adjustment.
Elderberry syrup is a proven remedy for preventing & recovering from the flu, colds, excessive mucus, sore throats, & contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, & vitamin C. Several natural elderberry syrups are available at health stores or online, but usually for around $15 or more for 4-8 ounces (yikes!). But you can make your own for just a few dollars. You can take a tablespoon daily to ward off illness & a teaspoon every 2-3 hours while sick. You can even drizzle the delicious syrup over pancakes, yogurt, or ice cream! Check out my super simple Elderberry syrup recipe!
Do you have any natural flu prevention tips? Do you have any questions about some of the methods we use? Please leave them in the comments below!
Disclaimer: You should not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before embarking on a new treatment. Any remedy can affect your body depending on your overall health, what other supplements or medications you are taking, & your diet, so just be sure to check with your doc before you try anything new.
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