You may have heard that this year’s flu vaccine is only 23% effective, and that there is a particularly virulent strain of the flu going around. So whether or not you’ve been vaccinated, here are some additional things you can do to stay healthy.
Elderberry Syrup: This herbal remedy has been used all over the world to protect against viruses. It is safe for children and adults, and can greatly decrease the duration and severity of the flu. This should be taken daily to prevent flu. Some brands that I trust are Gaia Herbs and Sambucol. A typical adult dose is 1 teaspoon 1-2 times per day.
Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with more susceptibility to the flu and other viruses. This should be taken daily to prevent flu. If you are starting to show symptoms of a cold or flu, higher doses of vitamin D can help to stop the virus in its tracks. A typical dose for a healthy adult living in the Seattle area is 6000 IU per day during the winter. Talk to your doctor about what dose is safe and effective for you.
Probiotics: These provide the healthy bacteria in our GI tracts, which are often our first line of defense against illness. Some brands that I trust are HLC and Klaire Labs.
Other Herbs and nutrients: Vitamin C, OSHA, Astragalus, Echinacea, homeopathic remedies, and many other herbs and nutrients have been shown to either prevent the flu, or decrease the severity and duration of the flu.
Antiviral Medications: These medications, such as Tamiflu, are effective if started within the first 24-30 hours after onset of symptoms. If you would like to use one of these, contact your provider as soon as you start to suspect that you have the flu. Your naturopathic physician is able to prescribe these medications for you.