Natural Ways to Get Through Cold and Flu Season–Without OTC Meds

November 21, 2013
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Unfortunately, cold and flu season is upon us. Whether or not you choose to get a flu shot this year, you can definitely arm yourself and your family with smart preventive measures. While OTC meds can be helpful, it’s worth trying some natural supplements and strategies to boost your immunity.

Eat Organic
Stock up on organic veggies and fruits, especially those naturally packed with vitamin C. Fruits like strawberries, papaya and kiwi are loaded with the cold-combative vitamin C. Superfoods like kale, red peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts also pack a powerful punch of “C” and will boost your immune system to fight off influenza’s unpleasant symptoms naturally.

Use Supplements
According to the National Institutes of Health, when taken in adequate amounts, vitamin D produces cathelicidin, a virus-killing protein. In general, 600 IU daily is the recommended adult daily dosage, but always consult your physician before adding any vitamin D supplements to your daily routine.

Drink Water
As always, in warm or cold weather, keep yourself hydrated to strengthen your body and boost your immune system. Generally 6-8 glasses of water per day is adequate, but you’ll know you are drinking enough water when your urine is clear or very pale yellow.

Practice Preventive Hygiene
One of the most effective ways to get through the cold and flu season without using OTC meds is to take preventive action by washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Mayo Clinic health experts recommend scrubbing your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available. During peak flu season you can also reduce your risk of getting the flu or a cold by avoiding large crowds or places where people congregate in small spaces.

Use Natural Alternatives
Natural products such as essential oils are not only pleasant to the senses, they also serve as a natural antihistamine. Grade A essential oils can be applied as a soothing therapeutic rub or added to a diffuser to bring restorative elements into the air you breathe. And at the first sign of a sore throat, soothe it with a dose of elderberry syrup or brew a cup of elderberry tea, both a great source of vitamins B, C and A.

Last but definitely not least, bolster your immune system with daily exercise, a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and wash your hands throughout the day. Be your own best advocate!

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