Flu season is here!!! What are YOU doing to protect yourself and your family from catching the Flu? Maybe you vaccinate? Maybe you prefer a more natural approach? Maybe you do both? Regardless of how you protect yourself and your family, one thing is for certain… we are ALL at risk of getting the Flu.
Last Flu season, my whole family and I got the Flu. That nasty virus took us down, one person at a time… debilitating us for almost 2 months! Let’s just say it was a very long and brutal winter for us. It gave us plenty of opportunities to test out multiple treatment remedies and allowed us to narrow our top 10 Flu fighting tips.
Before we get to my Top 10 Flu Fighting Tips, let’s talk about a few facts about the Flu. The Flu virus is highly contagious. But did you know the Flu can last about 2 weeks if left untreated? And did you know you have a 48 HOUR WINDOW to begin treatment with antiviral medications (not antibiotics)? I learned this the hard way.
As a pediatric nurse, I have a rule-of-thumb when it comes to my family and I being sick. We tough it out and treat it with home remedies or over-the-counter medications for 3 days. If our symptoms are still there by day 4, we give our doctor a visit. Well, this rule-of-thumb should not be applied to Flu-like symptoms! My rule made us miss our most effective treatment window by 2 days! I’m still blaming myself for this!
So what do you do if/when you get the Flu? There is no cure for it, but there are plenty of ways to ease your symptoms and shorten its lifespan. I had about 2 months to try whatever was doable. I implemented everything I knew from my work experience plus my extensive research… (on Pinterest and Dr. Google – Ha!). I’ve listed my Top 10 Flu Fighting Tips below. They worked really well for me and my family. I know they will work for you too… if/when the Flu virus knocks at your family’s door.
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Top 10 Flu Fighting Tips
Sleep is so important for your immune system. The more you sleep, the more you allow your body to reserve its energy towards healing. Sleep will help increase your immune system’s ability to fight off the Flu virus. It will help you reset your body. So how do you get more sleep if you’re a busy mom? Simple. Let go of your reservations and let your kids watch a little more (supervised/censored) television, YouTube, or whatever. Let them play in the yard. Order Take-Out. Let the laundry and dishes pile up. The vacuuming can wait. All those things you think you need to get done will most likely still be there when you get better. If you have a laundry service in your area, now would be the time to utilize this service if you REALLY need to get the laundry done. (Jump to Tip #7 to find out why.)
2. Treat the fever and aches
Your body naturally heats up to fight the Flu virus, so a low-grade fever is to be expected. But when your fever starts to spike into the 100’s and your body begins to ache, it’s time to break out your medications! You can use either acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to help decrease the fever and aches. A quick phone call to your doctor or advice nurse is highly recommended when your child is sick. All medication dosages for children depends on their weight. So make sure you know your child’s weight when you speak to your doctor or advice nurse. PLEASE NOTE – DO NOT give aspirin to anyone younger than 19 years old. It’s been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a serious illness that can damage the brain and liver.
Imagine you’re a dirty sponge. How do you remove the dirt? You dip the sponge in water and squeeze it out. Repeat until the water runs clear. Same idea with your body. It’s full of nasty microbes. You need to keep hydrating yourself to help flush out the Flu virus. But be careful not to over-hydrate. You’ll risk depleting your electrolytes. What are electrolytes? Keep reading to find out!
4. Replenish Your Electrolytes
In order for your organs to function properly, you need electrolytes in your system — sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. There are many ways to replenish your electrolytes: soups, broths, porridge, herbal teas, etc. You can also try making your own electrolyte drink. My family prefers my homemade version over the store-bought version. (Mix 1 liter of drinking water with 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.) Drink this in place of plain water and watch your energy and strength multiply at a much faster rate. (PARENT TIP – If your kids are like mine and do not care for the flavor, add a splash of juice.)
5. Eat more fruits and vegetable and decrease dairy intake
When you get the Flu, your appetite decreases. A lot. But you have to eat to help boost up your immune system and break down that awful mucous build-up! Dairy makes you produce more mucous, so avoid this when you’re sick. When my family and I are under the weather, I like to whip up a huge pot of soup. I literally clean out my fridge and toss all the veggies and protein in the pot. For more flavor, I suggest sauteing the vegetables with onion and garlic first, then add hot water, choice of protein, seasoning, and about an inch cut of grated ginger. Once it comes to a boil, I turn down the heat and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice and fresh cracked black pepper.
6. Increase your ZINC and VITAMIN C intake!
Vitamin C will boost up our immune system. Zinc is another mineral that helps regulate our bodies. Many believe they help reduce the Flu virus’s lifespan. Especially when it is taken early on, at the start of Flu season. So the moment you feel any Flu-like symptoms, boost up on food high in Vitamin C and Zinc. You can also try sucking on a zinc lozenge or boosting up your Zinc and Vitamin C supplement intake.
7. Laundry… E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y!
Most people make the mistake of not washing their linens, towels, or cloths until they get better. We were one of them. Our pediatrician advised us to wash our linens/clothes everyday to help shorten the Flu virus’s lifespan. It makes total sense right?! So when you wash your clothes and linens, make sure you use bleach (when you can). Otherwise, it’s very important to dry all your clothes and linens in the dryer. If hot water from the washer did not kill the microbe, your dryer’s high heat will. If you must hang dry, do so outside in the sun. Its ultraviolet rays will act as a sanitizer.
8. Wipe down all surfaces and wash hands often!
Especially surfaces that have high traffic (door handles, hand rails, light switches, refrigerator handles, microwaves, stoves, kitchen counter, tables, chairs, etc.). Hand washing is the easiest way to help prevent spreading the Flu virus. Got a baby in the house? Try my DIY natural multi-surface cleanser mix. [Combine equal parts distilled water and vinegar (I usually do 1 cup of each) and about 20 drops of lemon and tea tree essential oil. Now SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE! Spray, wipe, and air dry.] If you and/or your family have sensitive skin, try using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. Make sure you dilute it properly before using it. It’s been a game-changer for my eczema-prone family members.
9. Take a hot bath or use your humidifier!
Taking a bath will calm your system down and decrease its stress level. This will allow your body to focus its energy on fighting off the Flu. Baths and humidifiers also help keep your respiratory system moist. Which will help break down your mucous build-up and decrease the Flu virus’s lifespan. If you don’t have a humidifier, use your bathroom! Turn on your hot water from your tub/shower and let the bathroom build up steam. Make sure all your windows, doors, and vents are shut or turned off. The steam will do the same job as a humidifier (but better, in my opinion). This is especially useful if you have small children. BONUS – Steam does wonders for your face and skin!
10. Keep the nasal passageway clear with nasal spray, saline drops, or make your own!
When I’m able to, I like to sit in the bathroom with my kids while the bathroom builds up steam. I form a cup with my hands and firmly pat their backs and chest to help break down the mucous. After about 5 minutes, I spray some saline spray into their noses and suction all the gunk out of their noses, then pat/cup their chests and backs again. I repeat this process for about half an hour, or until someone starts to lose their cool in the bathroom, whichever comes first. If I’m short on time, I just squirt some saline spray into their nose, then suction all the gunk from their nose, and follow-up with another spray into their nostrils. This can also help prevent sinus and ear infections! You can buy the nasal spray or saline drops ready-made, or make your own by diluting a little bit of sea salt into lukewarm distilled or sterile water.
So there you have it! My TOP 10 FLU FIGHTING TIPS! I hope you found my tips useful. If you have any tips you would like to share, I’d love to read them in the comments below.
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Stay healthy. Stay Warm. Stay Safe.
Peace & Blessings to you all!
Bahry & The Boys
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Dennis Golding says
Good post. Do you have any other ones you can stick? I love this. 🙂
Thank you! I took a hiatus for personal reasons. But I am working on getting things back up and running.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about flu. Regards
The Social Nubian says
Great tips to prepare people for the upcoming winter weather.
Thank you! We just stocked up on wipes, vinegar, bleach, and hand soaps!