It’s flu season, and with the holiday stress, traveling, exhaustion and of course the fact that you can guarantee your kids will bring something home from school, it seems like the cold and the flu are inevitable. The cold and flu viruses are spread mostly through hand to hand contact. But just because you are exposed to the virus doesn’t mean you will actually get sick. Your body is designed to fight off these viruses and can successfully if your immune system is operating in top condition. It’s when our immune systems are compromised that we actually get sick. Most times, you can feel that initial onset of something happening in your body. You wake up sluggish, achy or foggy and just know you are doomed. Stop right there… try these 6 things and stop a cold or flu in its track!
Get MORE Sleep – This could be the number one cold and flu fighting mechanism. I know some of you are laughing due to the fact that you haven’t slept since your children were born. But try! Recruit a friend, parent, babysitter to watch the kids while you get some extra zzz’s. Adults need 6-8 hours of high quality sleep. Newborns need up to 18 hours a day, toddlers require 12 to 13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours. Run a tight ship, be strict on bed times. If possible make sure kids take naps. It will pay off!
Take Zinc – When zinc is taken within the first 24 hours of symptoms, is has shown to reduce symptoms by 24 hours and well as lessen the severity of the symptoms. The New York Times says it will give chicken soup a run for its money. They reported on a study where people took 50-60 milligrams throughout the day in the form of lozenges and saw significant improvement.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D is a super antimicrobial agent that helps kill all kinds of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Supplementing Vitamin D can either help you recover faster or help prevent the flu altogether. You can of course get healthy levels of vitamin D from sun exposure, but I know that is hard for some especially in the winter months. One study done showed that taking vitamin D3 during the winter may reduce the frequency of the flu, especially in school age children. According to an article by Dr. Mercola, “the average adult dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels is 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day, if you’re taking an oral supplement. For children, many experts agree they need about 35 IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight.”
Elderberry – This super immune boosting herb has been used for centuries and has countless benefits, especially when it comes to the flu. Clinical trials show that elderberry can boost immunity as well as reduce symptoms by up to 4 or 5 days!!! That’s huge considering we all know you don’t ‘get a break when you’re sick parent! Elderberry also helps with congestion and brings on the sweats…which is good when you are fighting something. There is herbal syrup for adults and kids called Sambucol which you can take as a preventative option or as a treatment when you are sick.
Drink Up – While I know the holiday drinks are flowing, that’s not what I mean. Stay hydrated, drinking lots of water. This will ensure your immune system and tissues can all function properly. Avoid sodas and sugary drinks and opt for herbal teas, specifically green tea. You know the benefits of green tea are endless but studies show that people who drink between 1-5 cups may prevent the flu. Elderberry, peppermint, ginger teas are all good options too.
The catch all suggestion – Echinacea, garlic, and oregano oil are all good immune boosting, antimicrobial fighting option to take in terms of supplements. Avoid sugar as this is your immune systems mortal enemy and it’s basically fuel for bacteria and all things bad in your system. Emotional stress is something that should NOT be overlooked as well. This will surely run you down making you completely susceptible to getting sick as well as make anything you have worse. Deep breaths everyone, get some exercise and remember your in-laws will only be in town for a short period of time.
Do you have other tips on how to avoid getting sick? Leave a comment below.