Have you got THAT flu?!
I’m really feeling for you if you do, and I’m also feeling for you if you have already had it and are still recovering …Yuck what a stinker! It’s got a reputation of being a 90 day flu, similar to influenza A, accompanied by fevers, aching bones, snotty nose and if you’re really lucky it might even land in your chest and give you a nice productive cough with lots of phlegm. Then, it seems to disappear and then creep back up on you, just as you think you are getting better, reducing your energy and forcing you back into bed to rest up and heal. Sound familiar?
The Bad News
You can’t take antibiotics for it because it’s a flu, which means it’s a virus and antibiotics don’t work on viruses. (And Ryan Gosling might be busy!)
The Good News
There are a lot of other supportive things you can do to help your body recover!
- Early nights, aim for at least 8hrs sleep at night and if possible, take catnaps whenever you can or have afternoon siestas.
- Clear your schedule, book in “You time”: watch movies, catch up on book reading, do something creative like art work, writing, painting, playing music…whatever is easy to access from bed!
- Tell some jokes, or watch some stand-up comedy (online, in bed) laughing has been shown to boost the immune system
- Avoid alcohol – alcohol is usually full of sugar and sugar can give the virus extra fuel and feed it.
- Reduce or avoid caffeine – caffeine triggers the fight or flight action of your nervous system, utilising essential nutrients and reducing your adrenal energy, which is needed to fight the virus.
- Hot baths with 1x cup of Epsom salts and essential oils 5x drops each of thyme, orange & frankincense.
- Rub thyme oil onto the soles of your feet at night before bed, put socks on and keep your feet warm.
- You can do infusions to help remove congestions & phlegm from sinus’s and chest by boiling water and putting it into a stainless steel or ceramic bowl, adding 5-10 drops of tea tree, eucalyptus or thyme oil and placing your head over the steaming water with a towel over your head. Be prepared with a box of tissues as this technique really moves congestion fast!
- Keep warm, especially your Don’t spend long periods of time in cold water or outside in the cold elements, rug up and stay warm.
- Legs up the wall. Lay on your back slide your legs up the wall and rest for about 5 mins. This is really restoring to the adrenal glands, helping you to build internal energy to help build your immune.
- Meditation: guided meditation daily can help to reduce stress and adrenal fatigue, boosting the immune system and helping you surrender into the restful state that is required for healing.
- Acupuncture can be really helpful to support boosting the immune system and to ensure your body is removing the waste products out of your lymphatic system efficiently.
- Craniosacral treatment works on the central nervous system helping to restore balance to a depleted nervous system, which in turn allows the parasympathetic nervous system to be restored and gives more energy to the immune system to help fight the virus.
- Massage, especially lymphatic style massage or ayurvedic style detox massage to help support your elimination pathways and boost immune function (I have some good practitioners I recommend for these treatments)
- Skin brushing your extremities (arms & legs) towards your heart. This helps to stimulate your lymphatic system to produce more white blood cells and get rid of waste and dead white blood cells.
- Increase water intake! This is really essential to help your body stay hydrated and clear waste from your system. Try for at least 2 litres per day even if you aren’t feeling thirsty, you may like to make warm water and add ginger, lemon and raw honey to it to help keep up your water intake while recovering from the flu. If you can tolerate it add fresh raw garlic and chilli to warm drinks to add an immune boosting kick.
- Eat warm, cooked, easy-to-digest foods like fresh soups (not out of a packet or can please!), stews and slow cooked casseroles.
- Keep red meat to a minimum. Chicken and fish are ok.
- Whole foods only! No refined, processed foods or sugar (virus’s love simple sugars like chocolate, lollies, cakes & biscuits!) You will more than likely be craving sugar though as the virus wants to grow and spread in your body. It’s trying to take over & simple sugars feed the virus’s with fuel, so being careful with the type of sugar intake you go for is really helpful … you want to stunt its growth. Try whole pieces of fruit or juices if you need a sweet treat or some organic dried fruit.
- Fruits: increase berries, passionfruit, pawpaw, pineapple, oranges, citrus (especially eating the seeds if you can handle the bitterness), kiwi fruit, and banana.
- Probiotic rich foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut to be had in moderation.
- Avoid the top inflammatory foods: gluten, wheat, corn, soy, canola oil and eggs.
- Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water (cold or warm is fine), coconut water, electrolyte powders if you can’t quench your thirst can be good.
- Drink warm herbal teas as much as you like! Especially ginger, turmeric, lemon with some organic raw honey. Depending on your tolerance, add some fresh garlic and chilli to your warm drinks.
Turmeric Elixir (makes 750ml)
100g fresh ginger
100g fresh turmeric
1 whole lemon (skin on)
Honey – organic and raw, to taste (approx. 2x Tablespoons)
Method: Chop ginger, turmeric & lemon into small pieces and blend all of the ingredients together well in a food processor until smooth. You can strain it through a sieve or leave it chunky and enjoy 100mls 3x per day before meals or in between meals as a hot drink.
It’s important to assess what supplements you are already taking and not over dose yourself by adding any of the following recommendations unless you check with a health care practitioner first. If you are unsure, send me a message and I can have a look at it for you.
- Vitamin C powder at least 1000mg 3x per day (reduce the dose if it give you the runs)
- Zinc – zinc citrate or picolinate 30mg in morning and at night before bed
- Probiotics – A broad spectrum probiotic can be helpful to keep immune function high. Some people who don’t do well on probiotics might find that a saccharomyces boulardii probiotic is better for them.
- Garlic & horseradish capsules – dose 2x caps 3 x per day until you start to feel better.
- Vitamin D (spending 15 mins laying in the sun exposing most of your skin can help to boost natural Vitamin D levels) supplementing with 1000IU per day of vitamin D can boost immune function.
- Herbal medicine: Some herbs have contraindications with medications and medical conditions so always check in with your practitioner and let them know exactly what you are taking before you start any herbal medicine.
- Some herbs to consider include: Lomatium, garlic, thyme, myrrh, elderflower, lemon balm, echinacea, olive leaf, andrographis, ginger, garlic, turmeric, passionflower (plus many more!)
- Broccoli sprouts – help to switch on our RNF2s which help to prevent virus’s from spreading, dose is dependent on the type of broccoli sprouts that you get, so shoot me a message for more info.
Pregnancy & breastfeeding
While pregnant and breastfeeding there are lots of limitations to what supplements & medications can be taken, so here’s a list of all the “food as medicine” that can help all my mumma friends out there if you are struggling with the flu or if you would like some preventative health solutions to help you avoid it!
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – Preferably raw. ACValkalinizes the body, and most illnesses can’t thrive in alkaline environments.
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of ACV into water or tea and drink 3 times a day.
- Gargle ACV to soothe a sore throat.
- Used topically or in a bath, ACV can reduce fever.
- Honey– Raw, local honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic.
- Onion– Raw onion has phytochemicals that help keep the respiratory tract open.
- Lemon– Antibacterial. Also helps alkalinize the body. Rich in vitamin C.
- Asian Mushrooms(maitake, shitake, reishi) – Antibacterial and antiviral.
- Coconut oil – Antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.
- Blueberries– High in antioxidants & can help lower fevers and relieve aches and pains.
- Vitamins and minerals – Especially vitamin D, vitamin A from cod liver oil or liver only, vitamin C, zinc (please check with your health care practitioner before you add any new supplements to your regime).
- Clear, unsweetened liquids – Dehydration is more of a concern in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women, so being diligent about staying hydrated is important. Coconut water is the perfect hydrator and will boost your electrolytes.
- Homemade chicken soup – Or simply bone broth from healthy chickens.
- Warm salt water – Use as a gargle for a sore throat.
- Tea – Hot liquids help relieve sore throats and congestion and help prevent dehydration.
- High quality probiotic– Supports general health.
The following herbs can be helpful for flu symptoms, but should not be used in therapeutic amounts during pregnancy. The amount normally found in food is safe and beneficial, contact me if you would like to know more about how much you can use and how to get it into your food:
- Cayenne powder– Antimicrobial, analgesic, and expectorant.
- Garlic– Antiviral, antibiotic, and antiseptic.
- Ginger – Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Good for upset tummy.
- Thyme– Antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, and astringent. Great for respiratory infections, coughs, and upset tummy.
- Cinnamon– Antiviral, and antibiotic.
Fevers can be a serious medical condition that can accompany a flu and they need to be monitored closely, don’t wait too long to get help if you are not feeling well.
Ok well there’s a good head start to get you back on track while recovering from a virus/flu.
If you have tried most things on my check lists above and you are still unwell, please get in contact and I can help you to fine tune your approach to healing. Everyone is completely unique and for that reason an individualised approach to health and healing is always the most effective.