Influenza strikes millions of people around the world each year. It is a miserable experience that can be extremely difficult to shake. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and many healthful steps and natural remedies can help to protect one from succumbing to this season’s influenza virus. These steps cannot guarantee 100 percent protection from the flu, but are still extremely useful in recovering from illness that has already set in.
The number one way of preventing illness is maximizing wellness. Without chasing after supplements and home remedies, people can still protect themselves year round by exercising, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress.
Regular exercise has been shown to help prevent illness and to manage stress. The benefits of exercise does not require a strict regimen, expensive equipment or a gym membership. One of the safest and simplest forms of exercise is walking. Walking outside is also wonderful because the sun provides vitamin D which helps to prevent illness. Some other forms of exercise which do not require overexertion are swimming, bicycling, gardening and yoga. Yoga is a low impact exercise that can increase flexibility as well.
If someone comes down with the flu, strenuous exercise should be avoided. Getting adequate rest is more important.
Eating a balanced diet will help to ward off illness as well as maximize the benefits of exercise. It is important to remain hydrated by increasing fluid intake. Foods that have protective effects on the body will also help to fight illness.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables might be the best natural prevention of illness including influenza. They contain a lot of important vitamins and minerals and it is better to get them naturally than to just take supplements. Vitamin D is a particularly important component in the prevention of illness. In addition to boosting the body’s natural defenses against the flu, vitamin D has proven useful in lowering the risk of other infectious diseases.
A deficiency in vitamin D has been associated with a higher risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and some cancers. Vitamin D can be obtained from fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, dairy products and fortified cereals. Supplements can help maximize vitamin D levels.
Garlic has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can help prevent secondary illnesses which can complicate influenza. Steeping raw crushed garlic in hot water and drinking it is a great way to get some extra fluids into the body when trying to combat illness.
Ginger also has properties that can help to lower fever. Using fresh ginger root steeped in boiling water creates a tea which reduces congestion. Fever is one of the body’s natural defenses against illness. It makes the body an inhospitable environment to invaders. Fever should ideally be kept below 102 degrees. If the fever is higher or not controlled adequately with over the counter medications, medical treatment may be necessary.
Lemons have a high vitamin C concentration which helps boost the immune system. Vitamin C increases natural resistance to viruses and can help reduce phlegm. Adding it to tea or consuming it in lemonade can speed recovery.
Honey can help to soothe a sore throat and fight off bacteria. It can be eaten by itself or added to tea. However, honey is never safe for children under one year of age.
Lemon and honey can be easily added to several beneficial teas. Peppermint tea is relaxing and works as an expectorant. If someone has already come down with the flu or a cold, chamomile tea can help reduce fever. Green tea can aid in illness prevention and healing. Extra green tea is suggested if cold or flu symptoms have already begun.
Some remedies that are more likely to require a trip to a natural health store may include zinc lozenges and monolaurin. Zinc can help to improve the immune response and monolaurin works by breaking down the envelope that surrounds the flu virus.
Some people believe that homeopathic remedies such as oscillococcinum may be helpful in combating the flu. However, these assertions have not gained support from the mainstream medical community and require further study.
In addition to the tips above, saltwater gargles and nasal sprays can help protect mucous membranes by keeping them moist and loosening mucous that is already present. Inhaling warm steam can also help loosen mucous.
Many natural remedies are available to keep everyone protected from the flu this year. Prevention measures are best, but when those fail plenty of natural influenza treatment options are also available. Always check with a licensed medical doctor before using any alternative remedy. The Guardian Liberty Voice does not endorse any specific treatment. All treatment decisions should be made between the consumer and their personal physician.
By Lara Stielow