As the cooler weather sets in, you’re probably wondering what cold and flu season remedies you can be ready with the moment that scratchy throat strikes. There are a few that I use that I’d love to share with you!
The truth is, I hate getting sick. It can take weeks to recover (even from a cold) and it can really throw off your daily routines and diet.
Oftentimes, my clients who can’t really afford to get sidelined end up getting sick due to depressed immunity!
Before I went gluten free ten years ago, I would literally get sick with anything going around almost every month. This happened because my system had been so run into the ground by constantly consuming gluten (to which I was sensitive).
That’s how I discovered that low immunity was actually a sign of gluten sensitivity!
I did get sick already this year (in September) with a head cold that seemed to sideline people for about 10 to 14 days. I felt it start to come on on Sunday and was pretty much back to normal by late Wednesday!
While I certainly believe that there are potent cold and flu season remedies that you can easily implement, some simple lifestyle changes can help too!
So let’s start there…
Lifestyle Tips To Stay Healthy Through Cold And Flu Season
Here’s a list of things you can do to (hopefully) keep colds and flu at bay:
- Get enough sleep on a regular basis. I know you’ve heard this before, but it really does matter.
- Keep the back of your neck covered. I learned this from my sister who shared in this podcast why Chinese Medicine recommends doing this.
- Make and freeze chicken soup (so you have it on hand the moment something strikes)! Here’s my super easy Crockpot Chicken Soup Recipe that you can make while you’re at work or sleeping.
- Dress in layers. I’m a huge fan of undershirts in the cooler months. I don’t think a day will go by where I’m not wearing a tank top under my shirt. The extra layer keeps me warm!
- Wash your hands (but not with antibacterial soap). One of the best things to do is to wash your darn hands.
- Optimize gut health. It’s one of your first lines of defense so make sure to take “the right” probiotics for you!
And if you do get sick…
- Prioritize sleep. If that means that you need to take some sort of “nyquil” type product, do it. Target’s store brand actually carries a version of this that’s clearly marked “gluten free”. You won’t need it forever, but you do need to sleep. That’s way better than being up night after night coughing and congested.
- Forget about dairy. Dairy only makes mucus issues worse. So avoid it until you’re truly feeling better.
- Don’t work out! Aside from the fact that you’re literally spreading germs to everyone else, I personally believe that working out is excessively taxing to your system when you’re sick. The lesson behind “getting sick” is a call by your body to rest, not kick it up a notch.
- Teas and warm beverages are a must along with raw honey for extra soothing relief. Raw honey is also great for sore throats and coughs.
- Last but not least — don’t attend events when you’re sick! This actually makes me really mad.
If you’ve had someone in your home very sick, you could unknowingly be a carrier.
This past flu season of 2017/2018 was awful. I was taken back at how so many people didn’t seem to take other people’s health into account. I realize that some things are “once in a lifetime events”, but those cold and flu relief products on the market mean you’re functional enough to attend something and spread all of your germs to everyone else.
My Favorite Cold And Flu Season Remedies
My sister who is an acupuncturist and herbalist has played a critical role in my attitude towards staying well in the winter months. The point is to keep it simple, but do things consistently.
And to be prepared! When you feel something coming on, THAT is the time to take action… not on day 3.
The following four items are part of my cold and flu season remedies “dream team”. Because everyone has been asking me, I figured that this was the easiest way for me to share what I’ve found that works for me!
1. Immunoberry Liquid from Designs For Health
One of my staples from October through April, Immunoberry Liquid is a godsend in terms of all-natural cold and flu season remedies!
My husband and I use it daily to boost immunity with ingredients like Elderberry, Astragalus Root, Shiitake Mushroom, Maitake Mushroom, Wild Cherry Bark, and Beta-1, 3 Glucan.
To be clear, we take this as a prophylactic to hopefully keep the bad bugs at bay!
You can take this orally (since it doesn’t taste bad at all!), but we add it directly to our morning protein shakes.
One dropperful a day is a what I personally take. Thankfully, the bottle lasts quite a while… between the two of us, we use about 2 bottles over the course of the entire winter.
In order to get this for yourself, you’ll need to create a free account in my Practitioner Dispensary and do a quick search for the product.
2. Propolis Throat Spray from Beekeeper’s Naturals
I was turned on to this propolis throat spray this summer when I happen to meet a representative of the company at an event. I was so thoroughly impressed by their products, that I started using it in September because of its health properties.
If you’re not in the know about propolis, it’s a bee product (though no bees are killed in the process of extracting it).
Its immune supportive properties are well-known since it’s been used for several hundred years. Plus propolis part of the immune system of the hive itself!
And in case you’re worried about the bees (like I was), Beekeeper’s Naturals has complete respect for the bees and maintaining sustainable hives. I’ve been really impressed at the lengths they’ve gone to make bee products that aren’t harmful to the bees.
As for the spray, it is slightly sweet with a hint of honey, but is incredibly soothing for your throat. I’ve used it while going through that cold I mentioned above and it really did make it easier to talk.
It’s also great if your voice or throat seems to get strained! The point is that you can use this as a prophylactic or when sick.
You can purchase it here on Amazon and feel good about adding it to your cold and flu season remedies.
3. Echinacea Tincture from Herb Pharm
The moment you don’t feel right is the moment you start taking your echinacea tincture.
I learned about this from my sister (an herbalist) who typically will tell me to do 1 to 2 dropperfuls three times a day when you start feeling weird.
Full disclosure here — this stuff tastes awful. I’ll typically add a bit of water to it and go at it with a “down the hatch” mentality.
Echinacea is an herb that is stimulating to your immune system which is a good thing when you’re coming down with something. I will typically only take it for the first 3 or 4 days… as something comes on. That’s it.
I personally use THIS ONE which I keep in my medicine cabinet ready to go.
I have previously been asked about whether it’s a good idea to use this if you’ve been diagnosed with autoimmunity.
The truth is that the jury is still out on this. There doesn’t seem to be enough data to suggest that everyone diagnosed with an autoimmune disease should definitely avoid it.
BUT, it can trigger a flare. (It’s also best to avoid if you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, or Tuberculosis.)
So you have to make the decision for yourself as to whether you give this a try or not.
If you’re on specific medications (like immunosuppressants), you should double check that it’s not on the contraindicated list before using Echinacea. Also, those with allergies to “ragweed, mums, marigolds, or daisies” should also avoid it.
4. Sambucol Black Elderberry Effervescent Tablets
While I’m totally onboard with daily elderberry syrup, I don’t have the time to make it myself.
So I keep these awesome effervescent tablets in my medicine cabinet instead that are ready the moment I’m not feeling well.
I’ll typically use one tablet once a day in a big glass of water to help me A) get more fluids into my system and B) get some extra Vitamin C and Zinc.
You can grab yourself a box to add to your cold and flu season remedies so they’re ready the moment you need them!
Great for kids (over 4 years old) and up, you’ll find the flavor really pleasant.
Elderberries contain a lot of antioxidants and Vitamin C.
Studies have shown how their use (even in effervescent tablets) can reduce the duration of the flu!
Either way, I’d definitely give these a go if (and when) you catch something.