It starts with a little sniffle. Then the body aches begin, you start burning up—and before you know it, you’re bed-ridden and your head feels like it’s going to explode. Sound familiar?
The flu can be passed around all year, but it always seems to hit the hardest during the winter. According to the CDC, as of late December, all national key flu indicators are elevated and about half of the country is experiencing high flu activity. Is it the stress of the holidays? The semi-cold weather? The snowbirds? (Just kidding, we love you guys!) Whatever the cause, I felt the flu coming on right when I was supposed to be ringing in the new year, all happy and healthy.
The Richard’s staff and my father are my two go-tos for any questions I have about ailments or health concerns. Between them, I know I’m in good hands. So what have I learned when it comes to the flu? The following three items always seem to be the answer every time. And from experience with two out of the three, I’ll vouch for them personally!
1. I’ll start with elderberry. For years,my father’s answer to beginning flu symptoms was black elderberry. Turns out Elderberry has components like bioflavonoids that fight coughs, colds, flu and bacterial and viral infections. What I didn’t know was that elderberry also is effective for its antioxidants, which lower cholesterol, improve vision, improve heart health and fight tonsillitis. And it tastes great, too. If you take 1-2 teaspoons at least four times daily for three to four days when you start feeling icky, elderberry can shorten the severity and duration of the flu. It’s also recommended to drink elderberry tea for soothing flu symptoms.
2. Acute Cold & Flu, otherwise known as ACF by Buried Treasure, has been a godsend for me this season. The minute I started feeling achy and warm, I grabbed a bottle of ACF and started chugging. Not literally—you actually take spoonfuls throughout the day until the bottle is gone. I’ll be honest, this stuff reminds me of a medicine man or witches brew. It does not taste good at all, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t get the job done. This is one of the few things worth swallowing against your will. It is a complete blend of all things that individually fight every aspect of a cold or flu, like vitamin C, which is the number one choice for enhancing immunity; echinacea for antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal elements; and then good old elderberry (see above) to block the flu virus from invading healthy cells. This diamond in the rough also contains goldenseal, known to help relieve fever, chills and achiness; ginger root, which suppresses coughing; and myrrh, which is a powerful antiseptic and an expectorant for colds and chest congestion. ACF is a great product to start taking even before you start feeling flu-like.
3. Oscillococcinum is a new one for me, but after doing some research I found it popping up everywhere. It was also recommended to me by Steve, the store manager at our location off 53rd Avenue in Bradenton. Oscillococcinum is actually a homeopathic medicine that aims to restore health by delivering a highly diluted dose of a substance that produces symptoms characteristic of the illness being treated. In this case, the substance is extract of Muscovy duck heart and liver, which is identified by homeopaths as reservoirs of influenza virus. The Oscillococcinum remedy has been found to lessen symptoms and shorten the duration of sickness, and is recommended to be taken in combination with other immune-enhancing supplements, like elderberry. (Again with the elderberry! Coincidence? I think not.)
I believe prevention is the most important thing to remember when flu season sets in. If you can remember to build up your system ahead of time by taking vitamin C, washing your hands and getting plenty of rest and relaxation, you could easily avoid becoming ill. But if the flu strikes, be sure to have all or at least one of these items on hand.
Good luck, my friends—stay happy and healthy this year!