We’ve all heard the best defense is a good offense. This is true in eliminating the flu. It’s better to prevent it than need to cure it and end up with a bill from a medical billing services company. Sound, natural remedies you can use both to avoid, and then to lessen the severity of the flu should you come down with it do exist.
Wash Your Hands
We’re not talking about a quick flick beneath the tap. The Centers for Disease Control recommends you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds—that’s about the time it takes to sing or hum the happy birthday song two times. When should you wash? Before, during, and after preparing food, before eating, before and after caring for someone who is sick or treating a wound. You should wash after handling animals, animal feed, garbage, human or animal waste or fluids—that includes blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Keeping your gut in good shape can help you fight off the flu. You can do this with probiotics found in foods like yogurt and even pickles, or take a probiotic supplement.
This helps in not only boosting your immune system but in helping you feel better if you do get the flu. If you’re experiencing nausea, doctors recommend you take frequent small sips of liquid. It’s easier on your stomach.
Sleep and Exercise
Keeping your immune system in good shape to prevent flu means getting enough sleep and exercise. In general, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Kids need more. Exercise boosts your immune system in two ways. It increases circulation and also reduces stress.
Lower Sugar and Alcohol Intake
Experts say overconsumption of sugar reduces your immune system and opens you up to infection. How much is too much? According to the American Heart Association, men should have no more than nine added teaspoons per day. For women, the number is six. Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system and consequently also lowers immunity.
Some herbal remedies can help. Oregano extract has been used for centuries to treat respiratory problems. Oregano oil is also useful in calming an upset stomach. It promotes sweating, which may help treat flu. Ginger is also helpful to help handle nausea that often accompanies flu. However, ginger should not be used if you take medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or blood thinners without asking a doctor.
Olive Leaf Extract can also be used to treat flu. If you use this, make sure the supplement or extract you purchase contains oleuropein, the phytochemical that makes it an immune system booster.
The critical thing to know in preventing and treating flu is to recognize the symptoms that mean you should seek emergency help. Signs of dehydration, particularly in infants and small children, need medical treatment. Changes in mental status, difficulty breathing, no improvement after five days or another serious medical condition are all reasons to seek a doctor’s advice.