If there's one thing I've learned this year it's that the flu is no respecter of persons. I kind of felt smug, like if we kept taking our vitamins and eating healthy we were going to get missed this year. We took a trip to Cincinnati, gave a presentation about the farm and where food comes from to a bunch of kids, had some fun, and then had our first little clue that maybe something was going to happen.
After the presentation one of the little girls came up to us and said, "hey did you see me? I was the one over in the corner wrapped up in a blanket. Feel my head! I have a fever."
Sure enough, within a few days, our family of six was all down with the flu. I stayed in denial for the first day of it. Since our tractor was still being repaired when we got home from Cincy, I decided to get some exercise by rolling our big round bales across the road from where we store them, to the barnyard. So, the first day the flu hit, I was sore, but I just figured it was because I had gone cold turkey on CrossFit Farm Edition.
As soon as there is the slightest clue that we are going to be hit as a family, I go into Sumo Mama role: I try to finish all the laundry, get the house back up and organized, fix a big pot of soup, get all the kids bathed, and then we sit around waiting for the inevitable to hit us. I guess I just kind of figure if we're going to be sick for a week and need to have my mother-in-law come over and help with groceries, I want to make sure it looks like we still have everything pulled together.
The Flu hits because of a virus and - as medical pros will tell you - there isn't much traditional medicine can do to treat a virus. Every family preps for sickness differently. Ours takes a more natural approach to things. I thought I would share some of our flu hacks (for my dad's generation, a "hack" simply means using an unconventional tool or method to get a job done) this week since I know we aren't the only ones suffering through this. Now, I know. Not every family is into health food store style alternatives. But hey! This 2018 flu bug is no joke, and even if you think essential oils are a hoax, you might as well use them in lieu of doing nothing. We all know research studies that say placebo effects sometimes work on people if they even think it might help. So, start thinking positive and you might just find a few new medicine cabinet favorites in the process.
***Quick Disclaimer - this is not medical advice; this is friendly advice. And although I'd LOVE to get some $$ from all the references I make in my blogposts, at this point, I receive no referral/ad money. These are just products I really love and USE! I was literally pulling them off my kitchen window sill as I typed this up.
Probiotics - the more you can help your gut, the better chance you have at keeping toxins at bay and letting your immune system have a fighting chance. We double up with MetaKids Probiotic Chewables (tastes like SweetTarts!) and Living Streams Multi-Blend (tasteless liquid in a dropper).
Lower Sugar Diet - as if this wasn't hard enough on a normal day! BUT...if the amount of processed sugars and foods in your diet is high, you're more likely to suppress your immune system.
Bone Broth Soup - We are not talking canned-condensed soups here. Think Grandma's! Some of the benefits of drinking/using the real deal are: supporting intestinal health, reducing gut permeability and inflammation, protecting joints, and boosting skin health...and, of course, supporting immune system function! You can make your own by boiling bones OR buy it in stores like WHOLE FOODS.
Diffuser w/Essential Oils - I am not a Doterra or Melaleuca rep. There. Just needed to start with that. BUT, we have found that keeping a diffuser running with Immune Support Blends can help with various aspects: Armor Blend for immune support; Eucalyptus to help open up respiratory pathways, and more. One friend I know that does some tutorials about essential oils is Alicia McIntyre. Try checking in with her on Facebook if you'd like to know more!
Tylenol - because it is completely natural to want to eliminate pain.
Mullein-Garlic Oil - This is our go-to at the slightest hint of ear pain. The Mullein flower is supposed to help with inflammation and the garlic is an antimicrobial. We slightly warm the dropper bottle under hot water. Test it for temperature, and put a few drops into the ear. This always works to help sooth and speed along the recovery process and is safe for even young ears!
Hyland's Earache Drops - another great dropper for relieving ear pain fast (including swimmer's ear!). This is available in most Pharmacy Departments. It is less "oily" so is better for a purse-first-aid-kit.
Our Own Homemade Throat Spray - Daron is so convinced in this spray's effectiveness, that it is the one "remedy" he will do for himself. In fact, he keeps his own bottle in his truck! Buy an empty spray bottle and fill it 1/2 full with Melaleuca brand, concentrated mouth wash; add 8 drops Melaleuca Tea Tree Essential Oil; 5 drops Peppermint essential oil; Fill to top with water. Tea Tree Essential oil is an anti-everything (anti-viral, microbial, fungal, etc.) and Peppermint helps numb an area. My mom, Linda, is an ER Nurse and recommends putting a drop of tea tree directly on the back of your throat if you feel an intense sore throat (like strep) starting.
Zand-brand Echinacea Zinc Lozenges - This is a great way to get the sometimes yucky-tasting vitamins, Echinacea and Zinc, into your kids. Mine think the Cherry flavored ones taste like candy! And, since we are trying the whole lower sugar thing, these become quite a hit! (Always break in smaller portions for your kiddos to avoid choking...oh, and coffee is hot, too. #duhdisclaimers)
Natural Cough Syrups - there are several brands we love that work with homeopathy and honey to sooth and heal. Zarbees Naturals is the one we are currently chugging. When we need something with a little more oomph, we use Melaleuca's Cough Syrup (which is a suppressant and expectorant - I'm not sure how that juxtaposition works, but it does).
Kleenex with Lotion - just splurge. 'Nough said.
Diffuser - I already mentioned this above, so I won't spend much time here. Just check out Eucalyptus Oil...think all that Vicks Rub you had slathered on as a kid but with out the harmful Petroleum.
The Original Bed Buddy Sinus Pack - I found this hot/cold pack at Bed, Bath and Beyond where I used a great coupon to get it for less than $5. Since heat can ease sinus pressure, we warm ours up, add a drop or two of Eucalyptus essential oil and place on forehead area. (We also use it to warm our feet on a cold night. Hey! It keeps Daron's cold toes on his own side!)
Arsenicum Homeopathic Remedy - This is absolutely our go-to if we feel the slightest twinge of stomach unease due to food poisoning or stomach flu symptoms. Homeopathy is based on the idea that "like treats like" and is an energy-based product. Beyond that...call a naturopath. I just know it works. And fast!!
Similasan Irritated Eye Relief Drops - super easy to use dropper that you can find at your local Chain Pharmacy department. It helps ease redness, itchyness, and general discomfort.
Homeopathic Remedies - there are several that work really well for streaming eyes and nose. If you are new to remedies, call your local naturopath and just ask. They are usually so good about helping you find the right one. We usually find Allium Cepa helpful if eyes and nose are just streaming and won't give you a break. Pulsatilla works well if that is going on, but the mood of the "patient' is whiny AND/OR if the eyes are crusted shut in the morning upon waking. Arsenicum has also been helpful for our Vivian (2.5 yrs) this time around. It can be confusing to find the one that works best if you are new at it, so don't be afraid to call a homeopathic doctor for help. It can usually be free and anonymous to start, so no one needs to know you're checking out the dark side.
WELL, I know that is a lot of information, but hopefully it helps! Something important to keep in mind: don't stress out with a guilt-complex if you don't do all or any of these. There are so many ways you can become a healthier you, and you truly can not do all of them at any one time. Pick a few and try them. Find what works for you! Vitacost.com is a great website that has an easy-to-use search, great variety, very competitive pricing and quick - often free - shipping. They even have food products so you can try a natural cough syrup AND order your fair trade chocolate - which is a natural antioxidant - all at the same time.
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For more information about Melaleuca, give my mom, Linda Davison, veteran ER nurse at University Hospital in Cincinnati, a call at 513-348-8545 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will give you a free gift if you mention this blog post & commit to a FREE 30-minute, informative, online consultation!