The flu season is in full swing with all states but Hawaii reporting widespread illness and deaths, and four times as many cases as last year at this time. The California Department of Health on Friday reported the flu contributed to the death of 42 people under the age of 65 (compared with nine last year) and six people over the age of 65.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention says that 13 children have already succumbed to the deadly flu virus so far this season, but added that the season may have reached its peak.
If you haven’t already received your flu vaccine, it’s not too late. But that’s only one way to combat influenza, experts say.
“We don’t know when it’s going to end, but we anticipate several more weeks of flu activity,” says Dr. Christy Sadreameli, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Even if the vaccine takes a couple of weeks to reach its full benefits, it should offer some protection.
Dr. Nikki Arguinzioni-Gil, a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in California and Washington State, tells Newsmax Health that there are tried and true natural supplements and foods that can help boost your immunity against the deadly flu.
Here are her suggestions:
Vitamin C: This is the No. 1 cold and flu fighter. “It’s great for the immune system and it can help with the prevention of getting a cold or virus. It also is a major anti-oxidant,” Arguinzioni-Gil says. Be sure to spread your vitamin C dose throughout the day as it is water-soluble and we urinate it out of our system quite quickly. For example, take 1,000 mg dose, three times throughout the day as opposed to all at once.
Zinc: This essential mineral is huge for boosting the immune system. It does an amazing job on not just preventing colds and flu, but it also speeds up your recovery time when you are in the middle of dealing with a cold or flu.
Vitamin D: A natural immune booster, vitamin D helps fight acute respiratory infections and research suggests taking a weekly or daily supplement can decrease your risk of contracting the flu. Remember to take vitamin D with fatty foods for best absorption as it is a fat soluble vitamin.
Echinacea: Taking this herb at the first sign of a cold or flu can be of huge benefit as it may stop the progression of the viral infection nearly right away. “Echinacea is my favorite herb for dealing with cold and flus and upper respiratory issues,” says Arguinzioni-Gil. “It enhances the immune system’s resistance to infections. It is anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory.”
Eucalyptus oil: This natural oil works well at reducing chest congestion and other cold and flu symptoms. It is a great anti-fungal, anti-spasmodic, anti-septic, and anti-bacterial remedy. It helps with the loosening of phlegm and moving it out of the airways .Eucalyptus oil is also great for muscle pain whether you are recovering from intense exercise or trying to get muscle pain relief from the flu.
Goldenseal: This compound is often described as “nature’s antibiotic.” It’s an excellent immune booster as well as being anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Goldenseal and Echinacea in combination are very effective for treating the cold and flu, but they are especially a fantastic power couple for treating bronchitis.
Oregano oil: This essential oil has many versatile qualities which include anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-oxidant and many more healing properties. It is chock full of vitamins and minerals like A, C, E and zinc. “It is also one of nature’s most powerful antibiotics and immune boosters and fight off infections of all sorts,” says Arguinzioni-Gil. “It is extremely helpful in loosening up phlegm and mucous in the sinuses and the respiratory tract.”
Elderberry: This ancient and well-studied herb is great for preventing cold and flu and is a great immune booster. It has anti-influenza, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties that help to speed up recovery time and decrease the intensity of a cold or flu. Elderberry contains key vitamins like vitamins A, B, and lots of vitamin C, all which help to make it a very powerful remedy for coughs, colds, flus, bacterial, and viral infection. Dr. Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., author of “The Natural Medicine Chest,” tells Newsmax Health that elderberry also interferes with the ability of viruses to replicate.
Chicken soup: “Yes, it really does help as it can help to decongest sinuses and move mucous out and can warm up a real achy body,” says Arguinzioni-Gil. “If you are not a chicken soup fan, soups or broths that contain vegetables like carrots and spices like garlic, turmeric, and oregano can be very effective against the cold and flu as they all contain anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant properties.”
Tea: Adding fresh lemon and grated ginger to a tea can give it an anti-microbial boost and also help settle an upset stomach and ease a sore throat. Other tea options might include peppermint tea for reducing congestion, headaches, and tummy aches, and for relaxation as well.” For those that don’t really care for tea, you can’t go wrong with a simple cup of hot water with lemon and honey, as it is always effective against those unwanted cold and flu symptoms,” says Arguinzioni-Gil.
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