Twelve Tips for Preventing Colds and Flus

Sep 26, 2017

There are many natural remedies for the cold and flu, but the very best remedy is to prevent sickness in the first place. Taking care of the body ahead of time will save the frustration of missing work or school and the misery that sickness brings. Cold and flu prevention remedies are not very expensive or difficult to implement but they do require diligence to follow through.

1. Apples

It is true, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! A daily apple provides nutrition and health benefits.1 The apple is especially likely to improve health if it is chosen instead of a candy bar as a snack. For those who really do not like apples, raw apple cider or apple cider vinegar are fantastic alternatives. Taking raw apple cider vinegar daily in water or juice has many health benefits.

2. Astragalus

Astragalus is a root vegetable commonly used in foods in some cultures. This root has immune strengthening properties. Astragalus can be taken daily in a capsule or tincture form. The root can also be bought dried and in bulk and used in rice or soups on a regular basis for immune health.

3. Garlic

With its antiviral action, garlic is a great addition to the daily diet. Fresh garlic added to salads, soups, rice, etc. will help fight viruses that come along before they take hold in the system.

4. Sunshine

It is no coincidence that there are more cold and flu viruses in the winter when there is less sunshine. If you can get some rays in the winter, that is wonderful. If not, consider a vitamin D supplement in a modest dose. (High dose vitamin D supplements taken long term can cause hypercalcemia.)

5. Vitamin C

Daily vitamin C intake does help the body fight viruses. It is difficult to get enough vitamin C in just foods. If you are going to take vitamin C on a daily basis, the most efficient way is to use ascorbic acid and baking soda to make sodium ascorbate. This is easier on the stomach that ascorbic acid. Making your own sodium ascorbate makes it easy to control the dose and avoid the fillers and artificial sweeteners common in vitamin C supplements.

Make your own Sodium Ascorbate

  • 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder plus 1/16 teaspoon baking soda will provide 625 mg of vitamin C. 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda will provide 1,250 mg of vitamin C.
  • Mix  homemade sodium ascorbate with 2-4 ounces of water. Take vitamin C 2-3 times a day. When the body has had too much vitamin C, you will begin to get loose stools. If this happens, reduce the amount of vitamin C per dose.

6. Zinc

Zinc is another important supplement for your immune health. A zinc supplement can be taken daily with a meal.

7. Good Food and Water

Adequate water intake will keep the body and its cells properly hydrated. Water helps the body flush out toxins and keeps the kidneys working well. Herbal tea counts towards your water intake; coffee, soda and energy drinks do not. In fact, these beverages should be consumed in limited amounts if at all.

Make an effort to consume whole foods. Keep fast foods and processed foods to a minimum. Reduce sugar and white flour intake. Eat fresh fruits or nuts for a snack. Not only will a healthier diet help the body fight viruses, it will make you feel better overall.

8. Hand Washing

Frequent handwashing will prevent the spread of germs. It is not necessary to use antibacterial soaps to get hands clean. In fact, antibacterial soaps with triclosan can cause health problems over time. Lather hands up with soap and scrub for 20 seconds, then rinse. Dry hands with a clean towel. You can make your own triclosan free hand soap.

For times and places where handwashing options will be limited, make up this easy home made hand sanitizer and keep it in your purse or back pack.  You can get your hands germ free without the risks from the store bought triclosan hand sanitizers.

Home Made Hand Sanitizer

  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon glycerin (available at a pharmacy.)
  • 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 10 drops essential oil (orange is pleasant, lavender is calming, or tea tree, which will give some extra power to a hand saniitzer but it doesn't smell as pleasant to most people)
  • fill small empty squeeze bottles with hand sanitizer

9. Exercise

Regular exercise may be the most important thing you do for your health. It promotes healthy immune function. It helps the lungs and heart to work well. Exercise increases oxygen to the lungs and thus the cells. Better oxygenation of the body helps every part of it to work better. Perhaps most important is that it improves the mood. And mood and attitude do have a direct correlation to health.

10. Rest

Rest may be one of the hardest disciplines for good health. It is so easy to skimp in this area. But the body is using rest time to heal itself. Make an effort to get regular good sleep each night. If sleep is elusive to you, see this page for ideas to cope with insomnia.

11. Relax

Stress is not good for health. Make an effort to do something that is relaxing. Take a hike. Sit in the sunshine. Read a chapter of a good book. Do a puzzle. You think you do not have time to relax. But do you have time to get sick? You do not have time NOT to relax now and then.

12. Healing Baths

Perhaps a bath is your preferred way to relax. Great! Baths are good for you! Adding some simple natural ingredients will help the bath contribute to overall health. Keeping the body detoxed will help prevent sickness. Baths are one way to detox the body.

Sources:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/

Do you have a cold and flu prevention method that works? Please send us some feedback!



Aspirin  

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Posted by Carol Anne (Maryland) on 09/24/2017
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I tried the aspirin cure for viruses Friday night when I was coming down with a bug that has been going around our school. I only had low dose aspirin on hand and so I took four tablets with a small glass of water. The next morning I felt so much better and after breakfast took another 4 baby aspirin. I did not get sick!


Astragalus  

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Posted by Liz (Victoria, Australia) on 09/26/2017
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Hi Mama to Many, I must agree with you about Astragalus though I use liquid capsules of 1,000mg and take them daily for about 2 months and have a 2 week break as I have found I start to get headaches from it, but it is really a great herb, where I live this winter we had a bad flu outbreak and many people have died this year in Victoria, Australia and I found it really boosts the immune system, also it is good for the heart, and helps clear the lungs.


Astragalus Root  

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Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 10/24/2016
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It is that time of year to think about preventing colds this winter!

A couple of years ago I had one of my children on astragalus root daily as I felt he was at risk for lyme. (He had had a suspicious tick bite reaction.) He took it daily for a few months.

It was around this time of year that a cold was going around. Everyone in my family got the cold. (We like to share around here, haha.) Everyone, that is, except the child I had taking astragalus root.

Astragalus root strengthens the immune system. It worked for him! He was about 5 at the time, I think. He took one capsule a day. For an adult, I would probably take 2-4 daily. It is a pretty inexpensive herb.

There are plenty of things you can do to prevent colds - I would be interested to hear what anyone else has found helpful to stay healthy during the colder months!

Have a super day!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Vibegirl
Buffalo, Ny
10/24/2016
14 posts

Hi Mama to Many

There are so many wonderful options to prevent and deal with cold/flu etc.

Love that you and your family use herbs...as an herbalist needless to say they are my first choice! The old 'plague' remedy is always on my cupboard - (vinegar, garlic, cayenne, ginger, onion, horseradish) and gives me a boost to my circulation each time as well! I take more if I feel the need if I didn't catch something in time. Echinacea is also high on my list.

I also believe Vitamin D3 helps me, washing my hands off and on through the day and avoiding sugar as much as I'm able! I kind of do anyway.

I'm also a big believer in mindfulness and 'expecting' to be healthy..have been cold free for 4-5 yrs now and simply expect to to breeze through the winter! But hey, there's always back up if we need it.

Thanks for sharing! :)

Katy


BHT  

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Posted by Deirdre (Los Angeles) on 09/19/2017
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On my flight back to LA last Friday, a guy sitting next to me started sneezing in the middle of the flight. He must have sneezed about 8 times in a row and instead of covering his mouth with his hand or sleeve, he just turned and sneezed right into the aisle!! Ahhhhhh!!!! I know!!! I could tell he had the beginnings of a virus after that (he had that particular virus smell, ugh) and I thought to myself that all the passengers near him including myself were going to get sick in 48 hours! Sure enough, exactly 48 hours later on Sunday afternoon I started to get those telltale joint pains all over my body, beginnings of a nasty virus. I immediately took 1/2 of a BHT capsule in a glass of water. Joint pain disappeared in about an hour. 24 hours later (yesterday) I felt very slight joint pains again and took another 1/2 of a BHT capsule and again the joint pain disappeared. Happy to report, I feel great (except for an ongoing sinus issue from my a/c unit leakage)...

BHT has become my new "go to" virus remedy. Thankfully, I have not gotten sick in a couple of years because I nip any virus in the bud with 1/2 BHT capsule each time.

I am ever grateful to Oscar from Syracuse for writing about BHT in posts on Earth Clinic dating back to 2008. I never would have tried it otherwise. Thank you, Oscar!!!