In this episode, you will learn all about what to do if you get the flu or sick, and what to do if your littles come down with something like the flu too!
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- 7 Day Spark
- Eating with Intention
- Wellness Circle
- Submit a Question for the Show
- Flu Prevention Cheat Sheet
- Fever Cheat Sheet
- Forest Folk Fungi Elixir
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I have the flu, now what?
Recap: Preventing the Flu (and other bugs)
First I want to start with a brief recap, as I mentioned last episode, It’s that time of year again, I am bombarded with the “should i’s” and what are those might you ask… Should I get the flu shot? What should I do if I don’t? What should I do if I do get the flu?
In Episode 058 talked about how our health and wellness depends largely on what we put into our bodies. For a long time, it was thought, even in the science community that you were just dammed to your genes. That’s just not the case, we have discovered in the last decade that what you put in your body, alters your genes, your DNA for the better or worse.
When I say “what you put in your body,” for many that conjures up images of nutrition, and yes that is a big part of it. But that isn’t the only part, equally as big is what we put into our body pharmaceutically. And for that matter what we put in our body via our skin and lungs too.
We are right on the cusp of what the news outlets and marketing outlets will call "flu season" we are going to talk about holistic ways to keep your immune system healthy and avoid the flu and other cold and winter funk. (Be sure and download the Fall + Winter Immune System Cheatsheet, a list of priorities for your immune system this season as well as what to do if you find yourself coming down with something.)
During the last episode/blog I talked about the importance of avoiding the flu shot for kids and pregnant people and gave you the data to help you make an informed consented decision about the flu shot. If you are on the fence about it, I highly recommend you flip back and listen to Episode 058 all about preventing the flu. The things we are going to talk about today will still help, even if you get the flu shot, but will make it harder for your body to put them to good use.
Probably most importantly we talked about what to do instead of the flu shot...Let’s review because as you know prevention is the best medicine.
Top 4 Priorities for Preventing the Flu (and other bugs)
- Gut health. We know that immune health lives in our gut, right? Immune health, our weight, our mental health, a lot of that lies right in our gut, so we want to make sure we're taking good care of our gut. How do you do that? You want to make sure you're taking a good quality probiotic with at least 50 billion CFU per day.
- Good anti-inflammatory fats. You want to take a good quality omega-3, about 3,000-5,000mg per day. This is for kids or adults. If your kids can't swallow pills yet, I recommend Barleans Lime Omega 3s.
- Sunshine in a bottle. You want to take a good quality vitamin D. Depending on your age, and weight this can vary. You do want to use caution, as vitamin D is one of the few supplements that you can actually take too much of. For adults, I would recommend vitamin D at 5,000iu a day (with k-2). And then definatley slow that down in the spring and summer and have your vitamin d levels checked. For kids buy kids formulations and take as the bottle says unless you are working with me directly or have a holistic wellness practitioner on your team.
- Adaptogens. A good adaptogen is also important, this can be used preventatively AND if you do get sick. One of my very favorites is something called Forest Folk Fungi Elixir. It is, is a mix of elderberry juice and reishi mushrooms. It does a really good job supporting the immune system.
Elderberry, you may have heard of, is great for antiviral properties, and really makes you feel better. Reishi mushrooms also have antibacterial and antiviral properties. This mixture also includes a little bit of wild mountain honey. This is a product I stock, but it goes super fast, especially this time of year.You can also make it yourself, but you've got to make sure you get good quality reishi and elderberry. This Elixir is both a preventative and a remedy. At our house, we do a dropper full a day for each member of our family, every single day, maybe two or three dropper fulls if somebody's feeling a little bit under the weather.Reishi mushrooms, by the way, are actually great for a lot of things, anxiety, sleep, liver detox, allergies, and asthma, and can reduce your risk for infections and viruses. Reishi mushrooms are something called immune modulators. They bring the body back into balance and regulate the immune system. Whereas, a lot of things that you take for your immune system, if you take too much, can actually aggravate, but reishi is an adaptogen, so it modulates, it brings the body back into balance.
These four things are the top priorities to help your immune system. Everyone, children too, should be doing these things. On the Keeping Up Your Immune System Cheat Sheet I give links to find these supplements for adults and kiddos.
Bonus prevention tips:
Of course, there are some extra courses of action to take too. One is essential oils, I like to use and recommend an immunity blend for essential oils. Plant Therapy has a great one. We diffuse it occasionally in the house, and then we can also put it on the bottom's of our feet and on the kid's spines roughly October through April.
Sleep is such a key factor, good quality sleep, so if you aren’t sleeping...let’s talk. You can download my bulletproof sleep guide to help. Another big sleep factor is stepping away from the screens for at least an hour before bedtime. You can also improve your sleep by having the same sleep schedule Monday - Sunday, so weekends included. You really need 7-8 hours of sleep for full immune function, even if you can "survive" on less. Kids need even more sleep, kiddos under 12 need 10-12 hours of sleep each night.
Grounding is really easy and is also key if its too cold to put your bare feet on the earth, try touch a tree bare handed, or even getting one of these grounding mats for your bed or under your desk. You can also energetically ground yourself too.
Energetically grounding yourself could be a crystal like hematite or even a meditation where you envision a grounding cord from your root chakra at the base of your spine that travels all the way to the center of the mama Earth. If you hang out with me on Instagram, you've probably seen the spoon method too, where you can rub a stainless steel spoon on the bottom of your bare feet. All of these methods work, but the best one is au-natural feet on the Earth.
Other things that you can use for prevention are crystals, of course. You can use green calcite, emerald or aventurine. You can use rose quartz. These are associated with the heart chakra. You can also use yellow with the solar plexus chakra. You can use carnelian for the root chakra. And then, amethyst is sort of the Jack-of-all-trades, right? You place these at pulse points to boost your immune system or certain crystals in your water too. Pulse points are inside of your wrists, inside of your ankles, back of your knees, sides of your neck, temples, etc.
One of my favs is carnelian, clear quartz and shungite in water and drink that gem water all day long. I do this when I feel a something coming on.
But what happens if you do get sick?
If you happen to get a virus or even the actual flu or any other illness then surprise! The remedy is essentially the same as the prevention, just in a higher dose or you will do more of it.
Rest. Sleep is really important for prevention, but also to get better. Whether you are willingly resting or not, you are going to really need to listen to your body and get lots of extra (daytime too!) sleep.
Bone Broth. Not chicken broth, not veggie broth, not beef broth, but actual BONE broth. It is packed with healthy and healing fats and minerals that kick your immune system back into gear and provide a gentle way for your body to get the nutrients it needs to heal. It has loads of other benefits too, such as helping to treat leaky gut, reduce food intolerances, improve allergies, reduce pain and inflammation in the joints, and boost the immune system.
Supplements. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people when they get sick FORGET to take their supplements and really when you get sick its more important than ever to take your supplements, and even increase some of them.
- Liposomal Vitamin C. You are going to want to double the amount you normally take. It's safe to take a few thousand milligrams so space it out a little bit and go for it.
- Probiotics. You also want to double (or even triple) your probiotics.
Grounding. Sometimes its hard to remember to do, but at least an hour, in the sunshine, bare feet on the Earth. Even if you have to wrap up in a blanket and take a brief nap out there. This is especially helpful for kids.
Elderberry Reishi Elixir. If you are sick, you are taking this 4-5 times a day rather than just once in the morning.
Herbal assistance. There are a few different options, you can make or buy honeysuckle tea. You can simply steep the flowers or buy it premade.
If you suspect its a bacterial infection (not viral) berberine is a great herbal remedy for that, the dosage varies, so be sure and reach out for questions here. You can also find this herb at places like Sprouts and Wholefoods. It's unlikely you will find it at conventional grocers.
If you suspect its flu, or viral in nature, I recommend a solid homeopathic remedy, like this Flu First Aid blend. You can find a great blend here. Homeopathic care (and herbal care too) is always a beautiful add-on.
One thing that's not on the list...Tylenol or Advil.
This is intentional. When you are sick, you want to avoid Tylenol and Advil, because when we get fevers this is a sign that our body is working, our immune system is working in the way that it is supposed to. The body is heating up to make the environment an inhospitable place for the invading bacteria or virus. It's very important to AVOID reducing fevers whenever possible because when you reduce them, you are taking a 2-3 day illness and turning it into a 4-6 or even 8-day endeavor.
Instead of reducing the fever, nurture it, provide comfort for it, but DO NOT reduce it. Now, of course, there are some caveats to that, I have listed them all in my Fever Guide here. This guide also includes all of the ways to nurture a fever and comfort a fever as well.
So let’s do a quick recap.
In closing, if you have a flu or virus or bacterial infection or any other kind there are a few key things: rest, bone broth, supplements (double probiotics and vitamin c), fluids, Elderberry Reishi Elixir, and finally we are helping the fever fight the virus instead of fighting the fever.
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