Well, it's that time of year again..."flu season"!
While there are many ways to prevent and treat the flu, I wanted to take a moment and touch on the natural remedies our family uses.
Once back to school time hits, it seems to be almost immediately afterwards that people start coming down with the flu. Rightfully so, kids are exposed to new environments and everyone's exchanging germs like it's Christmas morning.
There are many preventative measures you can take to protect your family from the flu and even treat it.
First, let's look at some conventional or mainstream ways.
Everyone knows there's a flu shot and this year they brought back the flu mist. I'm not going to go into detail about either of these because I don't particularly like putting my vaccination opinion out there for the world to know but please do your research on these two before blindly going into your doctor's office and getting either. There's plenty of research out there so do a little Google search. I just know that in the past three years since we've been up here in North Texas, we've had three separate doctors tell us that the flu shot is pointless and not to get it.
Some light reading:
Then, let's say you do get the flu. Your doctor prescribes you Tamiflu. That's another drug you should do your research on before taking.
OK, enough on that! Let's discuss what you can do naturally to prevent or treat the flu.
Last year, at the beginning of December, our then 15 month old had the flu and RSV. The flu made its round through our small family a few times and finally left in January. Little man had it a total of three separate times within 6 weeks! I think I worked a total of 5 days in the month of December.
Prior to then, we had been seeing a pediatrician who was not very conventional, to say the least. She had prescribed him antibiotics and steroids at least 5 times within his short 12 month life. One of those times being some pretty hardcore cough syrup. Not knowing any better and trusting our doctor, we blindly followed her advice. A few months later, after taking him to Urgent Care ran by the same physician group she was a part of, we were told by the NP on duty that it's their policy to NOT prescribe cough syrup to children under two, ever. WHAT?! Let's just say we switched doctors real fast (there were other reasons as well).
Anyways, I ended up finding one of the few holistic pediatricians in DFW and quickly changed his PCP over to her. It was about a 45 minute drive to her office but definitely worth it. So, once he got sick in December, we made our first appointment with her. It was at that appointment that he tested positive for the flu and RSV. Now, I'm not all tin-hat-hippy-anti-modern-medicine so please don't think I'm crazy. She actually prescribed him Albuterol for the RSV and we willingly gave that to him. I do believe there's a time and a place for conventional medicine and that was absolutely one of them. However, I'm always open to trying natural remedies before going straight to antibiotics or steroids for things that aren't necessarily serious and can be managed naturally. She gave us a regimen of things to try to get rid of the flu and boost his (and our) immune system and each time we had the flu, this worked and it worked quickly.
While healthy during cold and flu season:
This is just what she suggests but there are plenty of other options out there as well.
For example, "nature's flu shot" which consists of:
You can also incorporate the following if you feel necessary:
You can find almost all of the items listed above at your local health food store, except for Thieves, RC, and Purification which can be found here for 24% off.
Research on elderberry effectiveness here.
Research on oscillococcinum here.
Now, you may be asking "if this worked so spectacularly, then why did he get the flu three times?" That's because his immune system had been seriously compromised from all of the unnecessary antibiotics he had been prescribed in his first year of life. His gut health was shot. Once we started him on a good probiotic and got his gut health in check, he was a ton healthier and hasn't been sick since (knock on wood). But antibiotics and probiotics are another topic for another day and so are household toxins which wreak havoc on your body and immune system as well. Stay tuned for these blog posts coming soon!
Moral of the story, know what you're putting in your body and know the long-term lasting effects of repeating that exposure. Modern medicine is great and saves lives every day but for illness that may not be life-threatening, there are plenty of found-in-nature remedies just as, if not more, effective that won't wreak havoc on your body. Yes, more natural/holistic remedies can sometimes take a lot of effort but they've been shown to work more effectively and are more gentler on your gut so it's totally your call.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Allesanda received her Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in December 2013. She now lives in North Texas with her husband and children. As a doula and educator of infant sleep and eco-friendly living, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.