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Last week, my husband and I battled the flu. He came down with it first, and a couple of days later, I was sick as well. It’s been miserable-fever, aches, coughing, sore throat. My husband needed a breathing treatment and was prescribed an inhaler because his lungs sounded so bad. So I began reading up on the symptoms and learning natural ways to treat them. I have learned a lot and would like to share what I’ve found with you.
I am not a doctor and this article is presented for information purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition.
Fever and Aches
A fever is your body trying to fight infection. If possible, letting a fever run its course can actually help you heal faster. That being said, a fever can be miserable. It often comes with aches and sometimes chills. It’s important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Chilled food such as ice pops or yogurt can help you feel cooler. A lukewarm bath can also be helpful.
I try to avoid painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen as much as possible; they carry too much risk of organ damage. I prefer a heating pad or heat pack when I’m achy. This time it was my lower back that ached the most and I just could not get comfortable, no matter what I tried. The heat pack worked wonders!
Cough and Sore Throat
I have a great sore throat remedy here. Warm liquids, such as tea, are wonderful for a sore throat. Gargling with warm salt water is also soothing. These homemade cough drops made my throat feel much better. The article in the link is very helpful, as it explains why each ingredient is helpful for the sore throat.
The cough that went along with this flu was horrible and painful. It was a mostly dry cough that made the chest ache. The worst was trying to sleep at night. As soon as we would lay down the coughing would get worse. Trying to sleep sitting up is uncomfortable. So the result was a lot of tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable.
The most effective remedy we found for the coughing is eucalyptus oil. We found it to be more effective than my husband’s inhaler. There are several ways to use it for relief. When I was coughing uncontrollably, I would inhale it directly from the bottle. You can also put a few drops on a tissue or handkerchief and give it a sniff when needed. It would calm the cough and relieve my chest pain immediately. I would run it in my diffuser at night, and while it didn’t completely keep me from waking up coughing, it was a huge help. We also added a few drops of the oil to hot water and inhaled the steam. If you try this, remember to close your eyes the entire time your face is over the water to avoid burning them. I also mixed the eucalyptus oil with coconut oil and rubbed it on my chest. The relief was incredible.
You can read more about uses of eucalyptus oil here. A word of caution: eucalyptus oil can be dangerous if ingested.
Other Flu Tips
I had a slight earache after a couple of days. Lavender oil did the trick for me. It is important to never put essential oils in your ears. Put a few drops on a cotton ball or cotton pad and put the cotton in your ear. My earache was worst in the morning so I would use the oil at night.
Staying hydrated is important when sick. If you aren’t hydrated your body can’t heal. Get plenty of rest, as this will also help you heal.
How many times did your mom give you chicken soup when you were sick? When I’m sick I usually don’t have much appetite. Chicken soup is easy to get down and nourishing. I make mine with homemade bone broth. (Read this article for more information on bone broth.) I make my bone broth and store it in the freezer so it’s ready to go when I need it. As soon as I realized we were getting sick, I pulled some out of the freezer and started a big batch of chicken soup in the slow cooker. It was nice to not think about cooking while we were sick.
Extra vitamins can help. As soon as my husband came down with the flu, I knew it was only a matter of time until I got it. So i tried to get ahead of it by loading up on vitamin c and echinacea. I drank 2 packs of Emergen C a day. (You can pick some up here.) Although I did come down with the flu, I don’t think I was as sick as my husband. If you can get ahead of the flu, it will help lessen the severity and duration.
After the Flu
Once we started to feel better, we kept up with the vitamins to make sure we kicked it. Of course, the cough is hanging on so we are continuing with the eucalyptus oil as well. One think I was especially concerned with was washing all of our bedding so we weren’t sleeping in our sick germs. I washed everything with tea tree oil to disinfect. I made a disinfecting spray (found here) for the mattress and pillows. It felt so good to get into a nice, clean bed after being sick. I have also been running some refreshing citrus oils in the diffuser to give our house a nice, clean smell. It’s very refreshing.
How do you combat the flu? Let me know in the comments below!