People are afraid of the flu...and rightfully so. You get the "flu shot" is to avoid losing a week of your life stuck in bed, feeling horrible. Not to mention, there's the following week of recovery when you're exhausted, and you think you'll never feel "right" again. (We won't even GO into why parents have their children get the flu shot...being a sick adult is bad enough...don't mess with my kids!)
Unfortunately, the flu shot doesn't always prevent you from getting the flu, as the vaccine doesn't protect from ALL flu strains, just the ones the labs believe will be the most prevalent this year. (Thank you medical lab people for doing your best...)
Your BEST bet is flu prevention. Our family chooses to do everything we can in order to build strong immune systems to combat the flu virus.
1. Wash your hands.
Your momma knew what she was talking about. No need for antimicrobial soaps here (those dry out your skin and lead to more resistant infections), just plain soap & water works great!
This is especially important before eating (wash up for dinner) and after spending time in public (ie church, the Wal-mart, school, anyplace with lots and people/germs!)
Alcohol based hand sanitizer will do if there's no sink available, but good ol' soap and water are your best bets!
2. Eat your medicine.
Good nutrition is crucical to a strong immune system. Focus on eating lots (and lots) of veggies and fruits! The best are fresh, then comes frozen, and if all else fails, go for low-sodium canned veggies and no sugar added (in fruit juice NOT syrup) fruits. Berries (either fresh or frozen), especially, can help reduce inflammation and keep your immune system rockin'.
Your plate should consist of 75-80% veggies/fruits and 20-25% good quality lean protein with 1 serving of healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts/seeds, etc.
Some specific foods to include in your flu-fighting diet include carrots, raw almonds, yogurt, herbal or green tea, pink grapefuit, and black-eyed peas (source). Avoid sugar, sugar-substitutes, alcohol, and processed foods as they supress the immune system.
3. Use Elderberry Syrup
NATURAL COLD & FLU RELIEF/PREVENTION :: Elder has been used for centuries. Elderberry syrup is an immune system support helping your body to resist colds/flu. Studies have shown that elderberry syrup reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion, and some even suggest that it can help lessen swelling of mucous membranes, improve sinus drainage, and decrease nasal congestion. Elderberries are high in bioflavonoids and antioxidants.
Our kids love elderberry syrup...and remind us to take our daily dose just before bedtime every night during cold/flu season.
According to herbalist Paul Bergner, elderberry disables an enzyme present in the flu virus that prevents it from being able to enter a cell. In other words, it stops the flu from getting into your body, thus preventing the spread of the virus. In clinical trials, taking elderberry has removed all flu symptoms within 2 days in 90% of participants. Patients who took the placebo took, on average, 6 days to recover*.
According to the a 2002 study in the Journal of International Medical Research. "It's likely that antioxidants called flavonoids -- which are contained in the extract -- stimulate the immune system, writes Thom. Also, other compounds in elderberry, called anthocyanins, have an anti-inflammatory effect; this could explain the effect on aches, pains, and fever. " (source)
Russell Greenfield, MD, a leading practitioner of integrative medicine and medical director of Carolinas Integrative Health, advocates treating flu with black elderberry, he says in a news release. 'It can be given to children and adults, and with no known side effects or negative interactions,' he says. " (source)
You can find organic Elderberry Syrup, ALL NATURAL, handcrafted and made to order, in our shop or purchase Sambucol from your local pharmacy. (During cold and flu season, many pharmacies find it difficult to keep in stock.)
* Paul Bergner. The Healing Power of Echinacea and Goldenseal, 1997.