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26 Feb

Top 10 Ways to Make it Through the Flu Season

Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance (CDC) released a report suggesting that cases of flu had peaked in recent weeks.

But rather than go crazy and hole up in your house until the flu season passes, we suggest you follow these tried and true tips for avoiding – and recovering from – the flu.

Up the Antioxidant Ante:

Just like in football, when it comes to staving off the flu, a good defense is the best offense. In this case, you’re immune system is the defense, so you’ll want to shore up your supplies of immune strengthening antioxidants including vitamins A, C, and B-complex vitamins and minerals. Studies also show that vitamin E may provide a protective benefit against the flu, so be sure to increase your intake of vitamin E-rich foods including nuts and leafy green vegetables.

Phyto Fighter:

Is there nothing a good diet can’t fix? When heading into flu season, you should also up your intake of phytochemicals, the beneficial chemicals found in plants. To make sure you’re getting your daily dose, add more dark leafy green and red and yellow vegetables to your diet.

Relaaaaaaaaaaax:

Again, when facing the flu, you need to make sure your immune response is as strong as possible. And what does stress do? Quite simply, it stifles your immune response. The solution? Relax (we know, easier said than done) and do everything that you can to minimize the stressors in your life.

Catch Some Zzzzs:

Sleep deprivation severely impedes the immune response, so make it your job year round – but particularly during flu season – to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night or try to schedule in some extra nap time to give you – and your body – a chance to recharge the batteries!

Hands off:

Your face that is! Unfortunately for us, the easiest way to contract the cold and flu virus is through the membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth. To avoid passing around your germs, keep your hands to yourself (and off yourself too!)

Air Fair:

Depending on where you reside in the country, chances are it’s pretty darn cold out there! However, as much as the weather permits, it is important to get plenty of fresh air during the season. Not only will it give you a break from the stuffy, drying environment of central heating (where bacteria and viruses love to linger), it will also give you a prime opportunity to get some immune-boosting exercise in!

Too late for the prevention advice? Try these tried and true all-natural remedies:

Blow Up:

When suffering from a cold it is important to blow your nose regularly (rather than keep sniffling the mucus back into the nasal canal). However, it should be noted that blowing incorrectly -blowing your nose so loudly that you make elephants jealous, for instance – can cause an earache and increase sinus pressure. To correctly blow your nose, cover one nostril at a time and blow gently.

Good Gargle:

Is there nothing a good gargle can’t do? Not only will it moisten a sore throat, it can also stamp out a tickle and might even speed healing. One tried and true remedy that holistic practitioners swear by is a mixture of steeped raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of water to help sooth inflamed tissues.

Hey Hottie:

When you’re in the throws of a cold, you aren’t going to feel much like eating or drinking. However, the liquid streaming out of your nose does count as fluid and definitely needs to be replaced in order to speed recovery. Kill two birds with one stone by opting for hot broth-based soups which provide liquids to stave off dehydration as well as sooth inflamed membranes in the nose and throat, and vegetables and some protein to give you the energy you need to fight the good fight!

The Nose Knows:

A cold is miserable enough, but the flaking, peeling nose you get after is perhaps even worse! Soothe a sore nose – and help open breathing passages – by dabbing a little mentholated salve under the nostrils. Specifically, look for salves that contain either menthol, eucalyptus or camphor, which all have a mild numbing effect that can help relieve sore noses!

What are your home remedies for fighting and dealing with the icky influenza? Hit us up with a comment!

kiki the cat, WTL Photos, boxercab, dhammza, Sara Cowmuff, nicora, The Pack, A Schultz, rutty Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Antioxidants: Fighting the Good Fight

Good Night and Good Health

SlashFood: How to Treat a Cold Naturally

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  1. Nice pics! It seems that everyone I know right now is catching the flu. I’m proud to say that I haven’t caught it yet … hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself.

    Dan wrote on February 26th, 2008
  2. I’ve had a headache for three days – not a migraine, just a faint low-level throb. This is very unlike me – aside from migraines, which are under control, I never get headaches. I’m worried I’ve been exposed to the flu. I’m doing everything I can to fight it off.

    Do you know if there’s any truth to the idea of probiotics boosting the immune system? I don’t down the capsules, but I did come home last night with kombucha and several kinds of fermented raw vegetables, and I’m about to go make a nice kefir smoothie. I don’t know if it will help, but I really can’t see how it could hurt.

    Migraineur wrote on February 26th, 2008
  3. Migaineur – I would suggest drinking more water and see if you added anything into your diet lately such as artifical sweetners (diet drinks) or more caffeine that may have lead to the headaches. For me it is usually just dehydration. Probiotics help the overall health of your “gut” and since all health (IMO) starts there, taking them can only help. Once you have a bug I’m not sure they are the magic cure, but it will definitely help to strengthen your immune system for the future.

    My own personal natural remedy that seems to work is good ole ACV (apple cider vinegar, about 1-2 tbsp in hot water first thing in AM and last thing PM). The times I have had the worst flu (years ago) I layed in bed for a day and did nothing but fast and drink AVC/water. I slept for a whole day and was useless…but was 100% in 2-3 days….vs normally I would of been one of the “walking dead” sick people for 2-3 weeks! I prefer to attack head on and just flush it out quick…than have it stick around for a long time.

    Mike OD - IF Life wrote on February 26th, 2008
  4. Not that I don’t eat berries in the winter. I just don’t eat that much. I do eat more veggies than most probably (not most here, most in general), but mainly concentrate on meat (moving towards more and more grass fed and wild caught) and fat. Still I’m sure I don’t load up on veggies as much as other here do, but I havn’t been sick in 7 years. Technically I had a minor sore throat after getting back from backpacking for 4 days in the mountain in the single digit temp range (not to mention lots of booze). Still it was never more than an annoyance for a couple days until lunch time and it was gone. I just upped my D3 to 10,000 IUs a day from 5,000.

    I really only take D3 in the winter or if a ton of people are sick. Since I live in Florida and am in the sun enough the rest of the year to get D3 I really don’t bother the rest of the time. I still take a good multi-vitamin (2/day), krill oil (2/day), magnesium and CoQ10. Really I have only been doing this for six months. While I’m sure it helps in the long run, maybe my not getting sick is a strong constitution and hardly and sugar plus D3 from the sun even though everyone around me is all kinds of sick.

    I also think that I don’t let stress bother me anymore also helps.

    Joe Matasic wrote on February 26th, 2008
  5. The flu is miserable!!! I would also take a good supplement to keep your immune system active. I have seen many good reviews of several over at http://www.nutritionaltree.com

    Luis Mac wrote on February 26th, 2008
  6. or… just get a flu shot.

    bob wrote on February 27th, 2008
  7. Heh, thanks for using on of my photos. I was always quite proud of that one and I love it when they get picked up for use on external sites.

    A big cheer for you for using the CC as it’s intended

    rutty wrote on February 27th, 2008
  8. If you have a snore nose from wiping when you have a cold…..purchase a separate lip balm….and use it on your nose…..it works wonders…also gets into places without putting your fingers in your nose…which contaminates your body with more germs.

    Shirl wrote on February 27th, 2008
  9. Here’s a remedy I discovered just yesterday! I got rid of my sore throat (a really bad one)almost instantaneously! How, you ask? Well, I ate a bag of potato chips! Real salty ones. I don’t think the strep or whatever the bacteria is that causes a sore throat likes the salty environment and bathing my throat for about an hour with all that salt (I ate slowly) killed the germs. I didn’t drink anything, just ate the chips. I haven’t eaten them in years but I had a craving for them for some reason. I think this is more effective than gargling with salt water. It’s a longer lasting assault, not just a quick yucky rinse than the salt water would be! They were really good too! Lays. Potatoes cooked in Sunflower oil and salt. It can’t hoit.

    DJ wrote on February 28th, 2008
  10. The flu shot, especially this year (08) is useless. They didn’t figure on the correct strains being dominant. I got a shot and I still got the flu, something I have not had in years.
    So, yes, all the healthy advice is still valid despite us having a hit or miss vaccine which may or may not inocculate you.

    Ed Teune wrote on March 5th, 2008
  11. Besides drinking lots of green tea, I love to make homemade gumbo or hot-n-sour soup. It seems that a good spicy soup really does wonders to boost an immune system.

    Someone once told me that spicy peppers work too, but I go for soups more than straight peppers.

    Aud wrote on December 9th, 2008

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