How to Kick the Flu's Butt
Waiting Out Flu Season
Unless you're a hermit, you will most likely come into contact with someone ready to infect you with some kind of cold, flu or strep. Just remember, it's not their fault. A week or so earlier another kindly person generously shared the bug with them, and now they are simply re-gifting. As much as I want to douse everyone I meet in bleach or hand soap before talking to them, it really just isn't proper. Actually, I think society frowns upon spritzing strangers with Lysol.
Many viruses very easily spread from person to person. Which is why when someone in the office gets it, eventually almost everyone has it. The flu virus is particularly troublesome, and seems quite easy to acquire through simple day to day activities. The website for The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention says that:
"People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose." (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.html)
Determine Your Illness
Before you follow any of the advice on this page, or any other website, you should determine the nature of your illness. If you're like me, you have had a million colds and know your body well enough to know if it is a simple virus. Of course if there is any question regarding your health, I recommend seeing a doctor or other health care professional.
During this article, I will discuss mostly natural remedies that I have found help me and the ones that I care about. I know that there are many people (like me) who would rather heal at home, without the aid of over the counter medications and trips to the doctor. While I am not in any way against taking medication or seeing a health care provider, I prefer to allow my body to become better as naturally as possible. Of course if there were ever a time when these remedies did not seem to help, I would run to the doctor as fast as my feet would carry me!
When I am sick with a cold or the flu, I would rather:
First Thing is First
There are quite a few reasons that some of us choose to use more natural healing means. For me,as long as I maintain a healthy lifestyle, my body is more than capable of fighting off the viruses with which I come into contact. I did not always feel this way, and for the first 10 years of being an adult I went down the cold medicine and doctor's office route. It seemed like I stayed miserable longer, and so I decided to change the way I went about dealing with sickness. Now that I have changed my routine, I generally only stay sick 2- 5 days.
Another reason I decided to change how I go about healing, was financial reasons. Cold medicine is not cheap, and neither are doctor's visits. As a full time student, every dollar I spend impacts my wallet. If any of you have other remedies you would like to share, please feel free to leave it in the comment section below.
Too Long, Didn't Read
- Epsom Salt
- Lavender Oil
- Chicken Soup
- Hydration is Key
- Hot Toddy
- Homeopathic Medicine and Vitamins
- Sunlight and Loads of Rest
1. Magical Minerals
Epsom Salt is one of those 'cure alls' that actually work. I don't know what it is about this stuff, but I swear it is incredible. When I was about 25, I discovered its magical properties and have never looked back. Sure, there is tons of science that backs up the power of this stuff, but in laymen's terms––magic salts.
Like me, a lot of people are finding out about the usefulness of Epsom salts. A quick internet search will bring up almost limitless resources about how it can be used. When I am sick, nothing feels better than a hot bath, and adding salts helps to soothe away the general aching of my body quiet effectively. I also use this remedy to help relieve menstrual cramps.
For a Fever:
- Run a tepid bath, and pour in about 3 cups of Epsom Salts (depending on your tub size).
- Add about 10 drops of lavender oil to the water
- Soak as long as possible, intermittently adding hot and cold water to the bathtub to maintain a comfortable lukewarm temperature. Be sure to stay in at least 20 minutes.
- Add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to help soothe chest congestion.
- Run a hot bath and add 3 cups of Epsom Salt to the bath.
- Add 10 drops of lavender oil to the water
- Soak for 15 minutes, being sure to completely relax.
2. Lavender Love
You may have noticed that I reccommended lavender as an addition to hot baths. I'll go ahead and tell you, lavender has a variety of incredible uses. Here is a list of some of the ways I incorporate it into my flu fighting technique.
- Use lavender oil as a chest rub, to help break up congestion.
- Use as a muscle rub to help alleviate aching muscles
- Use in a bath to help relax body and speed up healing processes
- Use as an ingredient to add to soup or beverages. This helps with nausea associated with many illnesses.
There are so many effective uses for lavender, that I may need to do another article on lavender's healing properties. For now, I'll have to tell you two helpful hints and leave it at that––it helps get rid of zits, and is an amazing pain relief when used as a rub during menstrual cramps, or for back pain. Seriously, it works better than any muscle ache gel I've ever tried.
Chicken or the Egg?
3. Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Of course this home remedy list would be incomplete without the additional recommendation of soup. I don't know what it is about Chicken Noodle soup, but it is just pretty much the most wonderful thing when I'm sick. Here is the recipe that I swear by, although you can choose any you prefer.
- Progresso Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup (my favorite soup, but any soup base will work)
- 1 Tsp of dried Lavender (to help with nausea)
- 1 Tsp of Tumeric (to help with stomach unease)
- 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (to help healing, and add flavor)
- Pieces of rotisserie chicken from local store (because who feels like cooking when they're sick?)
4. Drink it Up
While being sick, I cannot stress how important it is to stay hydrated. Even when I am not thirsty and my throat hurts too much to swallow, I force myself to drink water. The wonderful thing about water is that it's almost tasteless, and won't upset a queasy tummy.
When I'm ill, I also drink a lot of juice. I don't skimp on providing myself with delicious green juices, orange juice or any other fruit and vegetable mixture. Often, I don't feel like eating, but I can always find it in myself to chug a few mouthfuls of juice.
How likely are you to try the remedies on this blog?
5. Hot Toddy
While you're sick is also an excellent opportunity to crack open that old bottle of whiskey...during the middle of the day! How exciting! Who says being sick is all bad?
Perfect Hot Toddy Recipe
- Start out with making the perfect hot tea––spearmint, lavender or some other relaxing tea.
- Add 1/2-1 full shot of whisky. I prefer Woodford's Reserve
- 1-2 tsp of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp of raw honey
6. Medicine and Vitamins
I also take homeopathic medicine along with loads of vitamins. Two over the counter medicines that I have found work well for me, are Sambucol and Chestal. Even though Chestal is for a cough, I have noticed it is also very effective clearing up nasal and chest congestion. Usually both medications can be found at any local drugstore. If all else fails, order online.
- Take a lot of Vitamin C. I usually take about 1000Mg every 8 hours.
- Vitamin D, and D3 are also quite helpful
- Sambucol every three hours
- Chestal every two hours for congestion and coughing
Sleep it Off
7. Sleeping and Sunning
In case you need permission to lay around, consider this your official prescription. On any given day I have several projects going, so I understand how it feels having to stay in bed or on the couch all day. Let me assure you, your body needs lots of rest right now, and pushing it around won't make you get better.
If it's available, laying around in the sun is a great way to improve your immune system. The sun improves your body's virus fighting power. It will also boost your attitude, which also helps with overall wellness.
When you start feeling a little better, don't forget to:
- Throw away your old toothbrush, and replace with a new one.
- Scrub every surface in your home with trusted cleaner
- Wash all bedclothes and dirty laundry.
- Place your pillows in the sunlight, if possible
- Continue on a regimen of sunlight, rest, proper diet, and vitamins. Don't stop just because you feel a little better!
- Take it easy for just a little bit longer:)