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How to Prevent the Flu the Natural Way

Hacking Flu Season Holistically: 5 Prevention Tips | Naturopathic Dr

Winter is coming, and so is the flu season.

The flu results in up to 49 million cases each year. Up to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year.

The flu isn’t only unpleasant, but it can be dangerous to those with weak immune systems. Even a mild case of the flu can knock you out for a week or more if you’re not prepared.

Unless you’re a hermit, it can be hard to prevent the flu entirely. However, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of the flu this season.

If you do get sick, we’ve got some great natural remedies you have to try. Keep reading to learn more about how to fight the flu naturally this year.

Tips for Avoiding the Flu

Hacking Flu Season Holistically: 5 Prevention Tips | Naturopathic Dr

As with most things in life, prevention is worth more than a cure. There are quite a few things you can do besides getting a flu shot to reduce your chances of catching the virus.

If you are 65 or older, it’s especially important that you follow this advice, as up to 85 percent of deaths caused by the flu occur in those in this age range. Your immune system isn’t as vibrant once you reach 65, and you’re no longer a fresh hatchling. Age is a factor that makes you more susceptible to flu-related complications such as pneumonia.

Let’s take a look at some of the simple, natural things you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick this season.

Boost Your Immune System

One of the most important things you can do to strengthen your defenses against viruses like the flu is to boost your immune system.

Having a robust immune system means your body is more capable of fighting off the invading virus. If you do happen to get the flu, having a stronger immune system means you’ll have less severe symptoms and recover quicker.

People of all ages can benefit from using natural methods to give their immune system a boost.

So how do you boost your immune system? You guessed it – eating right, sleeping enough, and exercising!

These tried and true methods that improve your health also build your immune system. You should cut out junk food and increase nutrient, vitamin, and antioxidant consumption.

Wash Your Hands

This simple measure requires little effort and can help keep you safe from viruses like the flu and other infections.

The flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for 24 hours. It’s so important to wash your hands regularly, even if you haven’t touched anything you’d consider dirty. Phones, door handles, and the coffee pot at work can all carry the virus.

Of course, you should always wash your hands after using the bathroom, before preparing food, and before eating.

Avoiding Crowds

If you can limit your contact with people during the flu season, you can reduce your chances of getting sick.

The flu tends to spread in areas with many people in small spaces. You might consider wearing a face mask if you need to go in public during this time and have a weak immune system.

If you know someone is sick, stay away. 

Keep Your House Clean

If someone in your home becomes sick, there are ways to reduce your exposure.

Keep commonly touched surfaces in your house clean by using a disinfectant. Remember to check the labels for toxic chemicals. A few options are natural cleaners. For example, a simple baking soda and vinegar solution can be helpful. Cleaning solutions using thyme and oregano oil are also excellent choices. Add a couple of drops of essential oils of your choice to ass some relaxing scents. 

Making cleaning products is fun, and as a bonus, this will kill any lingering flu germs. Wipe Down the surfaces around your home or office throughout the day.

Lastly, if someone in your home gets sick, try to keep the sick person in a separate part of your home. If you need to interact with them, wear a surgical mask and gloves, and wash your hands afterward. 

Holistic Flu Remedies

Hacking Flu Season Holistically: 5 Prevention Tips | Naturopathic Dr

Now if you, personally end up with the flu, it’s best to help your body heal naturally.

While antiviral prescriptions and medications are under development, their efficacy is questionable, and they can come with side effects. If flu victims can’t get medicine from a doctor, many people think they have to suffer through their symptoms. Luckily, there are other ways to fight the virus.

Here are some natural remedies that help fight the flu and its symptoms:

Gargling With Salt Water

As soon as you start to feel sick, gargle with saltwater. You can do this by mixing 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Do this once or twice a day to relieve throat pain and irritation, and to promote healing.


Honey works both by soothing your sore throat and suppressing your cough by reducing irritation. One way of taking honey is by adding it to a cup of hot tea-ravishing.


This fruit reduces inflammation and contains antioxidants that can shorten the cold and flu. It has also been used to relieve sinus infections. You’ll want to consume the elderberry in syrup form if you get caught up in flu season this year. 


Ginger has so many benefits that it’s hard to describe them all. It has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

You can purchase ginger shots from a local store or juice a knob of ginger. If you want, you can even eat it straight, although that does not sound too charming.

Try thinly slicing the ginger with a cheese slicer and sprinkling it with some honey, next seep it into your hot tea-yum!


One of the most important things you can do to help your body recover naturally is to let is rest. Don’t try to fight through your illness.

Letting your body rest as much as it wants will lead to a faster recovery. If you can’t sleep because of your symptoms, consider a natural supplement like melatonin.

If You Get Sick This Flu Season

Hacking Flu Season Holistically: 5 Prevention Tips | Naturopathic Dr

Despite your best efforts, you might still get sick this flu season. If you start experiencing symptoms of the flu, you should see a naturopathic doctor sooner than later.

Your doctor can advise natural remedies to help your body fight the flu this season and get you back on your feet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

About The Author:

Dr. Karen Threlkel

Dr. Karen Threlkel

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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