Achy body, stuffy head, runny nose, and fever can all be symptoms of flu. They come on hard and leave you drained and miserable. How can you combat them naturally and safely?
The Influenza Virus
The airborne virus travels easily and spreads quickly. It lives on objects you touch. After you touch an infected object, you need only touch your nose or mouth.
The influenza virus affects your lungs, throat, and sinuses. Yes, it’s similar to the common cold and other common respiratory conditions. Oftentimes, we call different viruses the flu, but the Influenza virus is the true one. This doesn’t mean that stomach symptoms won’t be present.
Each person’s experience with the Influenza virus can vary. This includes actual symptoms, length of sickness, and severity of flu symptoms. Of course, you might not develop the flu from exposure to the virus. It depends on whether you’ve had the virus strain before, if you’ve received a flu shot, and the health of your immune system.
The flu virus can pop up at any time of the year. Don’t rule out the flu because your symptoms occur outside of the normal December to March season.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone can contact the flu. This includes anyone who had a flu shot. However, if you’ve previously had this year’s strain, you’ve developed antibodies. This makes it less likely for you to contract the flu. If you do still come down with the virus, your symptoms and the duration could be lessened.
Some people are more prone to infection, such as babies, children, immune-compromised individuals, and the elderly. This is mostly because of weakened or underdeveloped immune systems. For babies and children, it’s a combination of immune system and environment.
Flu related deaths are rare in healthy children and adults. People over the age of 65, immune-compromised individuals, asthmatics, and babies are at a greater risk for flu complications. While natural remedies might show benefit, people falling into these categories might require special care or emergency treatment.
12 Common Symptoms of Flu for Adults and Children + Natural remedies
Symptoms of Flu Viruses
2. Sinus congestion
3. Body aches
4. Chest congestion
10. Runny nose
11. Sore throat
When to Seek Help for Symptoms of Flu
Infants and Children
• Fever over 100 degrees for infants; 104 degrees for children
• Crying without tears
• Fever with a rash
• Not eating or drinking
• Difficulty urinating
• Skin turns bluish
• Difficulty breathing
• Chest pain
• Loss of conciseness
Natural Flu Remedies
You might be tempted to grab OTC medicines when the flue strikes. Conventional medicines can be helpful to bring down a fever fast, but for other symptoms, your grandma’s favorite remedies will do the trick.
Build Your Immune System
Your best defense against the flu is a healthy immune system. Your immune system begins in your stomach. Make changes in your daily diet and consume more whole foods.
If you’re not taking a probiotic supplement or eating probiotic foods, consider adding them to your diet. These assist your body in balancing the flora, which in turn can strengthen your immune system.
Keep in mind that a healthy immune system isn’t a guarantee that you’ll never fall ill. It can greatly reduce your chances though. In addition, people with strong immune systems generally are sicker for a shorter time and with milder symptoms.
Practice Good Hygiene
You should practice good hygiene year round and teach your children these steps to protect themselves during flu and cold season.
• Wash hands after restroom and frequently throughout the day
• Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, preferably with a tissue
• Don’t touch your face
Chiropractic Care as a Preventative
What could a visit to the chiropractor have to do with the flu? We’re glad you asked. In 1918, during the flu epidemic, patients who’d had adjustments survived more often than those who didn’t. A study in 2011 supports chiropractic care as an immunity booster theory.
After the Flu Hits
Preventing the flu might be your best defense, but how do you naturally tackle your flu symptoms if it’s too late?
1. Stay Hydrated
• Soup and broth: canned or homemade
• Tea: black, green, or white
• Herbal tea: ginger, raspberry, mate, eucalyptus, chamomile, peppermint, and echinacea
• Coconut water
• Fruits and vegetables
Warm beverages comfort the soul while thinning mucus. They also replenish lost water, and in some cases, electrolytes. Coconut water should take the place of sugary sports drinks.
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that your body requires to fight off the flu. Most are gentle on your system too.
Oranges and citrus fruits are good choices if your stomach can tolerate them. They contain vitamin C, which aids your white cells and immune system. The natural sugar can also give you a bit of energy, making you feel more human too.
Black, green, and white tea varieties all contain antioxidants and immune boosting properties. You can continue to build up and power your immune system after symptoms begin. Plus, you’ll soothe sore throats, thin mucus, and alleviate your cough.
Herbal teas can offer benefits too, especially those immune system boosting ingredients. Ginger, raspberry, Echinacea, mate, eucalyptus, and peppermint teas might help upper respiratory conditions, like the flu and common cold. These herbs contain anti-viral properties. Chamomile teas can aid stomach issues, such as diarrhea, as well as relax you.
2. Get Rest
If possible, stay home and stay in bed. Avoid strenuous activities, and let your body heal. This includes putting off your normal workout. If you have the energy for it, taking a short walk outside can provide uplifting benefits. Just be sure to bundle up if it’s cold.
3. Use Essential Oils
Many essential oils contain healing properties. Whether you need to calm a cough, clear nasal or chest congestion, or you need to relax, you will find oils to soothe your flu symptoms.
How you use your essential oils can depend on your ailment, and the tools you have on hand. You shouldn’t ingest your oils unless it’s under the direction of a doctor.
If applying topically, dilute your essential oil with a carrier. Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, vitamin E oil, and jojoba oil make good choices. For every tablespoon of oil, add three drops of essential oil. This ratio works well for adults. Children and anyone with sensitive skin should use three drops of essential oil to two tablespoons of carrier.
Essential Oils for Flu Symptoms
• Eucalyptus: might reduce fever and fight virus
• Tea tree: might fight infections
• Peppermint: might lessen cough and soothe sore throat
• Thyme: antibacterial
• Lavender: relives stress and fatigue
• Lemon: might decongest nasal passages
Essential oils to Disinfect Your Home
• Tea tree
Diffuse these oils or add them to homemade cleaning products to keep the flu at bay.
4. Homemade Throat Gargle
Countless timeless gargle recipes exist. These time tested home remedies might soothe a sore throat and kill any viruses or bacteria present.
Gargle Flu Remedies :
Do not ingest. Swish and spit as needed.
• Lemon: combine 1c lemon juice and hot water.
• Acid Cider Vinegar and salt: dilute 1tbls of apple cider vinegar and 1tsp of salt in 1c of hot water
• Salt: Add one cup of hot water
• Ginger, honey, and lemon: Steep 1tsp freshly grated ginger in 1c hot water. Add 2tsp of honey.
• Hot Sauce: Mix 10 drops of hot sauce in 1c of water. Bonus? It might clear your nasal passages too.
• Turmeric: mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric and salt. Add to 1c of hot water.
• Wheatgrass juice: simply juice wheatgrass as usual
• Clove tea: steep 3tblsp of ground or whole cloves. Strain.
• Tomato juice and hot sauce: combine ½ c juice with 1/2c hot water; add 10 shakes of hot sauce.
• Green tea: prepare as you would to drink, but use as a gargle
Why a gargle? First, you can use them alongside other treatments. It’s important that you don’t ingest these though, so they might not be suitable for small children.
5. Vitamin and Herbal Flu Remedies
Vitamins and Minerals
• Vitamin C: boosts your white blood cells to fight the virus
• Zinc: take at the onset of symptoms
• Stinging Nettle: natural antihistamine
• Echinacea: might treat respiratory tract infections and flu. Take at the onset of symptoms.
• Brewer’s Yeast: might lessens symptom severity and flu duration
6. Natural Cough Remedy
Licorice Root Syrups, Teas, and Lozenges
More than an old wives tale, Licorice Root has science backing up its ability to act as a natural expectorant.
Adults and children over two can use honey to coat their throat and calm coughing. You can give it plain or mix with tea or water.
A favorite among kids and adults is pineapple juice remedies. Whether it’s 500 times more effective than other treatments is undetermined. However, pineapple juice contains bromelain. This enzyme can help with flu related inflammatory respiratory problems. Pineapple juice is also a source of vitamin C.
Final Thoughts on Symptoms of Flu and Flu Remedies
Symptoms of flu can hit hard and fast. Luckily, most remedies use common ingredients to treat you ailments as they arise. Remedies might not cure your flu, but they can certainly make your symptoms bearable.
Your best defense against the flu virus is to maintain a healthy immune system. It’s never too late to start. Look at your diet to see areas you can improve. Consider adding supplements, such as daily vitamin and herbs. The flu can strike at any time during the year, so you can’t rely on boosting immunity before the season starts.
Remember to get plenty of rest, and let the virus run its course. One upside is your body is building antibodies, so you’ll be less likely to contract this flu strain again.