Natural Remedies for Common Flu Season Illnesses
Even if you are a health-nut who never gets sick. Chances are at some point in your life you have been plagued by common illnesses like pink eye, ear infections, and laryngitis. The flu vaccine offered during the cold & flu season ranging from 2004-2018 have effectiveness ratings ranging from as high as 60%, to as low as 10.2% per CDC sources. This means even on it’s best year 40% of people who got the flu shot, still contracted and were diagnosed with the flu!
In our home, we always say no to flu shots, and yes to natural prevention and homeopathy. Here are a few common illnesses, and our preferred treatment methods. None of this is intended to replace medical advice from your doctor, and if you are experiencing any emergency symptoms, you should be seen and treated immediately.
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Depending on the age of the person who is sick and severity of the ear infection, your course of treatment may vary. Growing up in Florida, swimmers ear was a common reason for ear infections, and can happen any time water (even from baths or showers) gets trapped in your ear. If you are beginning to notice soreness in your jaw, and ear, or slight dizziness, this could be the cause.
An easy remedy is a solution of 1/2 rubbing alcohol, 1/2 white vinegar. Mix it together, pour it into the ear for 30 seconds and then drain it. It should not sting, and can be used 3 x’s a day until the ear infection is resolved. The vinegar has strong anti-fungal properties and the alcohol dries any trapped fluid.
For stronger ear infections that are causing sinus pressure, headaches, and ear pain, a more aggressive treatment should be used. I have used essential oils applied externally, garlic and oil solutions internally, but neither work. The most effective treatment I’ve found is a solution of 1/2 olive leaf extract and 1/2 rubbing alcohol.
The olive leaf extract is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral, so it attacks the infection on all fronts. It is also a nice thin consistency that can reach your inner-ear even when swollen! You can use this solution up to three times a day, until the ear infection is resolved. When I personally use this remedy, the pain relief is instant.
I always suggest treating fast, and if improvement isn’t seen immediately, seeking out help from your optician. Usually, pink eye that hits during cold and flu season courtesy of bacteria reaching your eye and having to run it’s course. You should see a quick improvement upon treatment if this is the cause of your infection.
For infants and toddlers, apply breast milk throughout the day as needed to flush and cleanse the eye. It is very soothing and doesn’t sting at all. An alternative is raw cows milk if breast milk is not available. The probiotic properties in both really help heal the infection by fighting the bad bacteria, with good bacteria!
For older children and adults, colloidal silver is my go-to. Colloidal silver can be too effective in killing bad and good bacteria. So it should be applied only in small amounts a maximum of once every 8 hours. It does a great job of killing all bacteria. It stings minimally at first, then quickly soothes and flushes out infection.
Sinus infections can be bacterial or viral, so treatment can be ineffective if you do not address both possibilities at once. I have had severe sinus infections that caused symptoms worse than the flu before. After a lot of experimentation, I have come up with a multi-pronged approach to fighting them off when I feel post-nasal drip beginning.
The first thing I do, is diffuse essential oils in my living space. Young Living Thieves, DoTerra OnGuard, or Plant Therapy Germ Fighter, are my three favorites. The blend used in thieves oil was said to be applied by robbers during the bubonic plague outbreaks in Europe. They would go into the homes of the deceased with a blend of those ingredient on their skin, mouth, and nose. They would rob the homes, and managed to stay healthy. I don’t know how true this story is, but I have benefitted from diffusing this and similar blends.
The second thing I do, is increase my natural probiotics intake. I drink more kombucha, or kefir. I also increase my vitamin-c consumption, and immediately eliminate all dairy. Dairy is known to cause swelling of mucus membranes and prolong sinusitis.
The third thing I recommend (but can’t personally do, due to a deviated septum), is using a NetiPot! It can be controversial, but I have known people to have great success with NetiPots. Especially by adding colloidal silver, or a drop of lavender oil to the saline solution and irrigating their sinuses with a NetiPot!
The fourth thing I do, is gargle multiple times each day with pure organic Apple Cider Vinegar (the kind with the mother in it). This always seems to calm my sinuses and slowly naturally diminishes the pain of the sinus infection until it is completely gone.
More often than not, laryngitis is triggered by a miner cold, or sinus infection. Typically, you do not lose your voice until after your contagious period has already passed. So for laryngitis, you can focus more on relieving symptoms, and less on pursuing cures.
My forever favorite solution for laryngitis is the tried and true, fresh squeezed lemon, in hot water with raw local honey. The honey is incredibly soothing and can help restore your voice quickly. The lemon cuts through excess mucus.
One thing to be mindful of, is whispering actually strains your voice more than yelling. If laryngitis has claimed your speaking voice, it is best to take a temporary vow of silence. Do not speak at all for a day or two until you can speak at a normal volume without any strain.
Most people know, there is one common medication prescribed for flu, and it’s use shrouded in controversy. I’m talking about Tamiflu. Studies have shown it is effective for shortening the duration of the flu when treated early. It will at most shorten it by 23 hours. Tamiflu is also linked to hallucinations, depression, and suicide.
Our favorite over the counter treatment for the flu, is Oscillococcinum by Boiron. It is a homeopathic treatment, so do not us it within 30 minutes of essential oils, vitamins, or any medications. Take it once per day if someone in your home has the flu but you haven’t caught it.Use it 3 times a week, if exposed to the flu outside your home but not ill. Finally, take it 3 times a day if you have caught the flu. It has worked to greatly release duration and severity of symptoms. Last time I caught flu, I was recovered in 4 days and by day 5 I was returned to work. Most strains of flu take between 9 and 11 days to recover. So missing less than a week of work while not spreading the illness or returning to work prematurely was remarkable!
So thats it!
These are the most common illnesses we have encountered during cold and flu season, and our go-to immune boosting treatments! I want to encourage you to consider your treatment options thoughtfully when looking at any of these options – including the controversial options. As a Mom, I am a self-proclaimed expert in my own children, just like you are in your own home. So you can see when essential oils, homeopathy, or probiotics are or aren’t the best option for you and your kids. I am a firm believer in weighing benefits against risks and at time simply choosing the lesser evil.
Does your family have any crazy remedies for common illnesses? If so, I would love to learn from your experiences in the comments!