The 2015 flu vaccine campaign is under way.
The flu vaccine is an annual immunisation that is formulated from the different strains of flu that are predicted to be prevalent during the forthcoming winter season (though this is a shifting target as the flu virus continually changes and mutates into new forms).
As a homeopath, I have a different approach to avoiding winter illness. My main strategy is to strengthen immunity through lifestyle and nutrition, plus homeopathic treatment that takes account of personal medical history as well as any current concerns.
My top 5 tips for staying healthy this winter
- Get enough sleep.
I can’t emphasise this enough. Sleep is the single most important foundation for our health. Nothing can replace it. Here are my top five ways for getting better sleep.
- Increase your anti-oxidants.
It is recommended that we eat ‘5 a day’ but really it is meant to be more like ‘9 a day’ and vegetables are better for us than fruit. My favourite way to include more vegetables in my family diet is to make soup every couple of days and include salad as well as vegetables with every meal. Starting the day with lemon water is another great way to revitalise and boost your vitamin C all year round, but especially in winter.
- Take Vitamin D.
Numerous studies have shown that insufficient Vitamin D can lead to low immunity and can also be a factor in Seasonal Affective Disorder. Most Vitamin D supplements on the market are derived from sheep’s lanolin. I don’t want to be taking a supplement derived from an animal source, so I use and recommend Aquasource Organic Vitamin D, as it is derived from plant sources and is easier to absorb. If you are concerned about your immunity and especially if you feel that you experience low mood during winter, Vitamin D would be an important supplement to be taking.
- Wash your hands before eating anything.
(Or use hand gel.) This is a simple strategy that can make a big difference to our health. It is hard work to train children to wash their hands automatically before eating anything (including snacks) but it is super-important, as it also reduces the likelihood of them catching the very horrible winter vomiting virus.
- Do less.
My experience is that flu generally hits adults who are over-extended and exhausted and simply need to rest. Doing less is easier said than done when many of us have work and family commitments that take a lot of our time and energy. It is hard to say ‘no’ to social invitations but when we are constantly rushing around we are far more likely to become sick with winter colds, coughs, sore throats, cold sores or even flu. Read my tips for keeping life simple.
Treatment for Flu
Conventional treatment is generally to take painkillers and drink plenty of fluid. Naturopathic strategies include taking lemon, ginger and garlic.
Homeopathy works really well alongside both. Taking appropriate remedies can reduce the time spent in each stage and also aids complete recovery.
If you find yourself feeling cold and chilly, or hot and feverish, and you suspect you might be going down with flu, it is important to acknowledge that you are ill and not to try and ‘power through’.
Call in sick. Go to bed. Take lemon, honey and ginger tea.
You can also try one of these remedies. Read the information carefully to help you choose, or contact me for support.
My Top 7 Flu remedies
Often starts with a feeling of slowness and heaviness, dizziness, chills, aches and pains. Your eyelids will be heavy and droopy. There may be a painful sore throat. You won’t feel thirsty but you might feel tearful and depressed.
Often starts slowly. You will be feeling irritable and exhausted. You might have a painful hard cough with a violent headache. You will want to lie completely still and be left in peace. You will feel dehydrated and thirsty but you won’t want to move. You’ll feel better for keeping still in a warm room with a window open.
- Nux Vomica
Often starts with a sore throat and a blocked nose after an intense period of overwork. You will feel exhausted but you still won’t want to stop. You’ll feel chilly, shivery and sweaty. You’ll be very sensitive to noise, smells, light and draughts. You’ll feel better for being wrapped up warmly and drinking hot drinks.
Often starts with a fever accompanied by throbbing intense pains that are felt deep in the bones. It is impossible to find a comfortable position in which to rest. You’ll have a congestive headache and there is a persistent painful cough.
This is flu with extreme chilliness, sweating, shaking and there are pains in the back and legs. You’ll feel very thirsty and want to stay warm but you might feel better for moving around.
- Anas Barb
This is a traditional remedy for flu that is helpful to take as soon as symptoms start. It can also be taken as a ‘prophylactic’. (This means that you take it once or twice a month to prevent flu.)
- Fever and Infection Balance
This is a combination remedy which contains 17 different components to treat fever and infection, including flu. I use this as a back-up remedy for situations where the symptom picture does not match another single remedy. It is also a very good remedy to use where other indicated remedies don’t seem to be helping.
Homeopathic remedies can help relieve the symptoms of flu alongside proper rest, plenty of fluids and simple nourishing food.
Find out more
If you’d like to arrange a free chat about how homeopathy can help you stay well this winter, just drop me a line. I’d love to answer any questions you have.
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