I’m going to cut to the chase. If you are reading this I imagine you are a concerned mama (or papa) trying to keep everyone in your household alive during flu season. I’m with ya. We just went through it. So here is what I learned during this crazy flu season about supporting my family while they heal from the flu – without pharmaceutical intervention.
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Natural Support for the Flu Ridden Family
OK, first things first because I know it will be asked. NO- we do not and did not get the flu shot. And the past eight years (since we’ve had children) they had never gotten the flu. The flu shot is as much as 10% effective this year. This article explains in ways I wish I had time to why we don’t get the flu shot.
We also did not go to the doctor for Tamiflu because my main focus was on getting my family well. Tamiflu has a strong reputation for not only having side effects that mimic flu symptoms (or worse), but also doesn’t help significantly and can cause severe hallucinations.
However, everyone’s situation is different. Flu can be the most difficult for people with preexisting medical conditions and young infants. Please consult with your medical professional if you suspect complications.
- quickly rising fever to over 102-103 degrees
- aches “achy bones”
- watery eyes
- sore throat
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of appetite
My oldest daughter who is 8 years old was the first to develop symptoms of the flu just before Christmas. She and my other two daughters had just come home from playing with neighbors who I found out had just had their flu shots that morning. I was knowledgeable that the Flumist nasal spray (which shed flu) is no longer on the market but it made me wonder if perhaps the injected version (which they had) could cause some sort of shedding? Then this study came out and it just makes you go hmmmm.
Flu symptoms will last 4-7 days which is what happened to my family. My two little ones, ages almost 3 and 5 came down with the same exact symptoms the next day and then my husband about a week later, just as they were starting to feel better. He by far was the worst off and didn’t get off the couch for 5 days and had lingering symptoms for a while after. At times I felt like after over a week of caretaking and endless fever monitoring I couldn’t take another minute…and then I got it myself! 😖
One of the hardest parts about my entire family getting the flu was that I TRIED SO HARD TO PREVENT IT. I make my own elderberry syrup and all of my girls take it each morning along with 4,000iu Vitamin/K2 drops. They were taking Beta Kids for immune support most days a week, multivitamins daily and a probiotic. We eat very clean and their diets are mostly organic.
I was thinking perhaps a little unrealistically (since they had never had the flu until then) that I was in control because of my crunchy mama efforts. I had to give myself plenty of grace and accept getting sick as just part of life. Sometimes kids get sick but it’s what we do after that that can make a big difference.
Best things to do for flu prevention:
- Wash hands for at least 30 seconds with warm water EVERY TIME you come home from being out and before you eat.
- Taking the supplements I mentioned above and below is helpful.
- Eat a diet full of organic fruits and veggies and healthy fats such as flaxseed or coconut oil in smoothies and avocado. Avoid most sugar and dairy during flu season.
- Appropriate amounts of sleep is essential during the winter months especially.
- As much time outside as possible.
Basic Care Reminders for Flu and Fever:
- REST REST REST. Let your children/family (and and self) rest as long as you need to recover. Don’t get impatient and break fevers just to be active. Your fever is forcing you to be still and rest so the immune system can do its job. This is what is leading to complications and pneumonia in so many people! Fevers are doing their job. Read on.
- Fevers up to even 103 and 104 degrees can be normal as long as the child/person is comfortable and not in distress. Adults tend to reach discomfort before 103 degrees whereas younger children can tolerate a higher temperature.
- I will reduce too high fevers with a warm bath during the day or if it is at bedtime and I’m concerned about fevers rising too high through the night (or we all just need good rest,) I will give a small dose of Motrin (children’s dye free ibuprofen) to lessen the fever. My girls tend to get severe ear aches when their fevers get near 103. We give garlic mullein drops in the ears and will usually reduce fever at this point. But like I said- only if it is causing great discomfort or it nears 104. Fevers in younger children often go higher. Another option are homeopathic suppositories for fever.
- Let fevers alone for several days to fight the infection (unless dangerously high- see above.) Fevers fight infection and by lowering it too soon it could mean recurrence and complications of flu symptoms. After several days if the fever is still lingering and stubborn I might break it to offer relief but they still need to rest and continue with supplements and care.
- If vomiting is occurring it is so important to hydrate in small sips. I made my daughter “lemonade” water with ice sweetened with stevia to restore electrolytes. Chicken broth can do this as well as long as not salted. Small sips are key otherside it will trigger vomiting again.
- It is VERY IMPORTANT to clear out your child’s nose often if congested. Sometimes this is several times per hour. Older kids and adults can use any of these nasal irrigation products. (We use the Neti Pot.) If they are a baby or toddler using the Nose Frida nasal aspirator has been a life saver! I drop in a few drops of saline first and then sing them a song as they lie on the floor to allow the saline to work through the nose. Then you gently “suck” through the tube and remove the mucous. Sounds gross, right? But it’s amazing how much comes out and how happy your child is afterwards because they can breathe again!!! Sometimes I’ve had to restrain my older babies and toddlers in this process by straddling them and holding their arms to their sides with my knees. Then I use one hand to hold their head still. I would post a video of this but can you imagine the comments!? Hopefully my description here helps. 😆
- If your child will drink apple cider vinegar and water with honey and lemon, this can help thin mucus out, especially if they have a stuffy nose. 1 Tbsp in a pint of water is plenty or 2 Tbsp in a quart throughout the day. Make sure to sweeten with honey.
- Cool cloths on the forehead and even belly can take the edge off of a fever. Some of my kids liked this and some didn’t so don’t force them if it is not comfortable.
- A warm bath is often pleasant once you get in and can lower fever. It’s taking off the clothes that can be miserable for someone with chills and fever. Letting them wear clothes into the tub and then having them take them off once they are in the water helps! The change in scenery from the couch or bed is nice too. Some lavender essential oils in the tub can be soothing as well.
Nutritional and Supplement Support for Flu
- Loss of appetite is common with flu. Frozen fruits such as frozen bananas, blueberries, and strawberries were a big hit in my house. These are all loaded with antioxidants and healing nutrients. If I had the fresh ingredients to make fresh fruit popsicles I would have.
- Homemade chicken broth is wonderful nourishment for someone with flu.
- A clove of pressed and chopped garlic taken with water is antibacterial and antiviral (and anti-cancer!) x 3-5 daily.
- Sugar is the enemy of a functioning immune system. No sugar while recovering from the flu.
- Taking the homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum was extremely effective in lessening my symptoms and duration. My family’s flu took 4-6 days for each person to get over and symptoms lingered for weeks with my husband. I took Oscillococcinum on the day my symptoms started and I was better by day 3 with no lingering symptoms or relapse! I’m a big fan and highly recommend for both kids and adults at onset of flu symptoms.
Supplements and Dosage:
- At onset of symptoms: Oscillococcinum every 6 hours x 3 daily until recovered
- Elderberry syrup 1 tsp x 3 daily for adults, x 2 daily for kids (You can also purchase from Amazon)
- Vit D/ K2 drops: 4,000iu for kids, 10,000 iu for adults
- Daily probiotic
- Colloidal silver 1 tsp x 3 daily both
- Beta Kids each morning (dosage on box)
- Animal Parade Multivitamins (for kids)
- Dr. David Williams Vitamins (adults) x 2 packs daily
- Garlic cloves pressed and chopped x 3-5 daily
- We diffused in bedrooms and put On Guard (or Thieves) essential oil on the bottoms of feet.
Also recommended: Vitamin C high dose, Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil, On Guard or Thieves Essential Oils on feet and Garlic Socks. We also took ACF, another immune boosting supplement well known for being able to knock out bacterial infections, but I’m not quite sure how much it helped with the flu this year. ALJ herbal is what we typically use for chest congestion to prevent bacterial infection and pneumonia and Hyland’s NIGHT Cold and Cough for Kids along with a humidifier at night if persistent coughing is keeping kids awake.
If you are budget friendly right now, buy the Oscillococcinum (~$20.00) and make your own elderberry ($20.00 for a pound bag + $8.00 for honey), + the D3/K2 drops ($18.00). Also keep nasal irrigation going and garlic is inexpensive as well as making garlic socks for the kids. That’s where I would start and it will help so much!
I’m realizing that post-flu life is a lot like post-child birth life. You forget how painful it was and are proud of yourself for going through it. Not sure if there is much of a reward afterwards, but it is definitely an accomplishment!
At times our flu experience was definitely scary but I reminded myself that all of the sleeping and resting, high fevers, and even the vomiting was doing its job. If your child or loved one seems in distress or their fever will not come down with reducer, or they exhibit problems breathing or symptoms of pneumonia – please seek emergency care.
I hope you all are getting well and on the mend if you are reading this while going through the flu. Please know that it is completely normal as a caretaker to spend a week in your jammies and find yourself lonely. Facetime or Skype a friend, find a fun series on Netflix and take breaks for yourself. Take a long, hot shower and put on a bra before going back to caretaking for the needy family. 😆 It will be over soon. <Hugs>
I would love for you to chime in on the comments and share your ideas and experience with the flu. There are so many wonderful ways to heal. 🤗