It’s that time of year again – flu season. With the fever, cough, chills, body aches, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, all for 1 -2 weeks, and having to avoid people for that first week when you’re still contagious – nobody wants to get the flu. Flu season tends to pick between December and January, but can start as early as October, so now is the time to start taking precautions. It’s impossible to predict how bad the flu season will be every year, since the flu viruses are constantly changing. The best thing to do is be ready for it! Don’t wait until you get sick before trying to fight it off, but try and beat it before it hits.
Even if you get the flu shot, this isn’t a 100% guarantee, so it’s good to know that there are a few extra things you can do to ensure that you keep your immune system as strong as possible.
The more common flu prevention strategies include things such as washing your hands regularly, avoiding people who are sick, staying away from crowded rooms and not touching your face or mouth if you haven’t washed your hands, as well as managing your stress and getting enough sleep, as these factors are known to depress the immune system. However, there are natural options, in the form of natural supplements.
This is one of the most important parts of your flu-prevention and treatment strategy. If you’re a supplement skeptic, then I implore you to do a quick search, and read over a few of the thousands of research articles that you’ll find supporting the effectiveness of natural supplements, and not only just for immune support.
Natural Cold & Flu Prevention.
When it comes to flu prevention, I have a few go-to favourites that are always stocked in my cupboard as soon as October rolls around.
Flu Prevention Supplements
Echinacea (Echinacea Premium by MediHerb)
Works best preventatively when taken as a blend of the correct forms of Echinacea. Also safe during pregnancy
1 tablet 2-3 times daily
Astragalus & Mushroom Blend (M/R/S Mushroom Formula by Pure Encapsulations)
Helps to activate immune cells (natural killer cells), and can help to kill off an infection before it takes root. It is also quite helpful when chronic immune support is needed, or when recovering from an illness or infection or where stress is one of the primary cause
1-2 capsules per day, in divided doses, with meals
Astragalus (Astragalus Complex by MediHerb)
Acts as an immune enhancing agent, but also as an adaptogen, which means it increases the body’s resistance and response to stress. Best used as prevention, not cold or flu treatment.
1 tablet 3 times daily
Vitamin C and Vitamin D
Both effectively support the immune system. Vitamin C has anti-viral properties, effective for prevention and treatment.
Vitamin C: 1000mg-2000mg daily
Vitamin D: 3000IU daily
Natural Cold & Flu Treatment:
Flu shot or not, sometimes, despite our best efforts, we still get sick. So it’s best to have some natural options on hand, just in case.
Flu Treatment Supplements
Goldenseal (Goldenseal by St. Francis)
Is used to treat colds and upper respiratory tract infections as well as nasal congestion. Excellent for alleviating sore throats.
½ teaspoon 3 times daily in water on an empty stomach. Gargle then swallow for sore throats.
Oscillococcinum by Boiron
Take at the first sign of flu-like symptoms (whether you have the flu or not). This can help temper some of the worst symptoms, including fever and body aches.
Dissolve entire contests of tube in the mouth, and repeat 2 more doses at 6-hour intervals
For full-blown flu symptoms: Take 1 tube morning and night for 3 days.
Infants under 2 years of age: Follow the same protocol; just dissolve the contents in water.
Virafect by St. Francis
A blend of various botanicals, including Andrographis, which is key for its immune benefits and ability to fight infection. Supported by 4 other antimicrobial botanicals that enhance immune health to combat infection.
Adults & adolescents (15 & over): 2 ml (60 drops or 1/2 teasppoon)
Adolescents (10-14 years): 1 ml (30 drops);
Children (5-9 years): 0.5 ml (15 drops);
Children (2-4 years): 0.3 ml (10 drops)
The best option is to enter flu season prepared, so start early! Don’t forget, if you are considering any of the above treatments, it is a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider, to ensure they are safe for you.
Stay healthy this flu season!
Dr. Andra Campitelli, ND
*Please Note: The information presented in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure and medical concerns. Before beginning any nutraceutical interventions, it is always best to consult with your health care provider to ensure that it is safe and right for you.