I think we would have to be living under a rock to not know about the surge in influenza cases this year that have been labeled an outbreak.
Influenza is a virus that has always struck fear in the hearts of people, myself included. Having children that were in the NICU, I always feel on high alert to these illnesses. With pre-existing respiratory conditions as well, it concerns me knowing that previously healthy individuals are struggling hard this year. One thing to take into consideration is how to boost your immune system. I can admit that we do alot of natural remedies but if necessary, we will seek immediate medical attention with how hard people seem to be getting hit to be safe.
What Is Influenza and Who is At Greater Risk?
Influenza, commonly referred to as the seasonal flu, is a virus spread through secretions originating in the respiratory system. Typically, the virus runs its course and is cleared from the body within one or two weeks. It comes with a variety of unpleasant symptoms, like fever, chills, aches, pains, mild to moderate headache, backaches, and severe fatigue.
People who are at higher risk for developing complications from the flu virus typically have a preexisting medical condition that reduces the effectiveness of their immunes system. Conditions like asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and AIDS are at a much greater risk of developing secondary bacterial conditions related to the virus than the average person between the age of five to 65-years-old.
What to Expect from The Flu?
Most people who contract the flu find it extremely irritating and uncomfortable, but the symptoms typically resolve on their own. The most effective way to treat the flu is through preventative measures, like following universal sanitary precautions. This involves eating right, keep the immune system healthy, regular hand washing, and not touching the eyes, ears, or nose. Good hygiene goes a long way in preventing a person from contracting the flu virus.
Fighting Back Against the Flu Virus
If a person does get the flu, there are many powerful, herbal home remedies capable of decreasing the severity of symptoms, and helping the body fight the condition faster.
Scientific research has determined that taking a vitamin C supplement, in the form of ascorbic acid is able to boost the immune system, which increases the number of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are the immune cells. They are the cells that combat the viral cells one on one. Therefore, ensuring that your body has the power to create cells to replace the ones that died in battle is extremely important.
Vitamin C supplements can easily be purchased at a local grocery store, health food store, pharmacy, and even at a Family Dollar Store. They come in many forms, such as compressed powder, capsule, chewable, and even a powder that can be mixed into your drink.
Adding a Multivitamin that contains zinc can be a great help to the human immune system. If a person does not want to take a multivitamin, or their current multivitamin does not contain an adequate amount of zinc, zinc lozenges can be purchased at many of the same locations vitamin C is found. If zinc lozenges are started when the initial symptoms begin, the severity of symptoms, and the length of suffering from the illness is decreased.
While it is important to be careful, and every person should educate themselves on the symptoms of zinc toxicity, it is possible for zinc lozenges to provide a level of prophylactic barrier during the season where the flu is most common. Since there is a risk of developing zinc toxicity, it is important that individuals only use zinc lozenges if they are exposed to people who may be carrying the influenza virus. (1)
Garlic is an herb found in most kitchens around the world. Garlic is considered a miracle herb because it is proven to decrease the presence and growth of viruses that are already inside the human body. It also provides antibacterial properties, which can help prevent a secondary bacterial infection in those already infected with the flu virus. If one would like a more potent option for ingesting garlic, or simply does not like the flavor, garlic capsules area available at pharmacies, health food stores, and online. (2)
When a person is sick, there are many benefits to drinking herbal tea. The heat of the tea helps relieve aches and pains, the steam helps break up congestion and soothe a sore throat, and the ingredients can help fight the flu virus from the inside out.
Combine 1 teaspoon grated Ginger root, 1 teaspoon Bayberry Bark, and ½ teaspoon cayenne powder. Mix into a mug of boiling water. Sip throughout the day.
Cats claw has been scientifically researched and is proven to shorten the length of time a person suffers from flu symptoms. It also has the ability to improve the way a person feels while they are ill, allowing the body a better chance to fight the virus. When mixed with Echinacea, it has the power to improve the body’s immune system, preventing the virus from replicating. (3)
Research into elderberries have shown that it has significant antiviral properties. It has the ability to prevent the virus from replicating inside the human body, reducing the severity of symptoms. The research completed was based on black elderberries, and was isolated to a product called Sambucol, which can be purchased online. (4)
Anise and Beneset
Anise is a very potent herb which has been proven to stimulate the production of mucus in the lungs and throat. Beneset is a helpful expectorant. When combined, the two herbs can allow the body to utilize mucus production to push the virus out of the body.
Choosing Herbs Carefully
It is important for each and every person to choose the herbs they use carefully, especially when they are ill. Consult with an herbalist, and read up on uses of herbs, safety, and each product you are considering.
It is extremely important that you consult your doctor or a pharmacist if you are on medication, or if you have a preexisting health condition. Some medical conditions can cause adverse reactions when herbs are ingested. The primary conditions that react to herb are diabetes, asthma, and pregnancy.
Do not assume that since something is herbal, it is automatically safe. Herbs do have medical value, some react positively in the body and others react negatively in the body. It is important to research what works best for you.
(1) University of Maryland Medical Center: Influenza
(2) Microbes and Infection: Antimicrobial Properties of Allicin from Garlic
(3) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Cat’s Claw
(4) European Cytokine Network: The Effect of Sambucol, a Black Elderberry-Based, Natural Product, on the Production of Human Cytokines: I. Inflammatory Cytokines