Most of us spend flu days staring at the TV, eating snacks, and taking medicines to lessen our symptoms. Unfortunately, this is not a good recipe for getting well again. Yes, it’s great to get the day off, but if you are really sick with the flu and feeling awful, all you want is to feel better. And fast.
Last month I came down with the worst flu I’ve had in 10 years. Chills, fever, mind fog, extreme fatigue, muscle and joint aches, headache…the works. Yes, it was December and I could have blamed it on the ‘flu season’ and felt sorry for myself. But I know better than that.
I know that the only time that we get colds and flu is when our immune system is depressed and can’t fight off the usual bugs that are always around us. And there are plenty of factors that depress the immune system in the ‘flu seasons’: over-scheduling; over-planning; family stress; party anxieties; holiday junk food; alcohol; decreased sleep, minimal rest and extreme temperatures.
If and when you do get sick, understand that it was your choices and your current lifestyle that caused it. Don’t be hard on yourself, just take responsibility and recognise that your health is in your own hands. Then you will also realise that YOU are the one who can get yourself well again.
Yes, it takes a little more effort than staring at the TV, but it’s not hard. Getting well is mostly quite enjoyable, actually. And you’ll be feeling back to your healthy self tomorrow. Here are 11 natural ways to get rid of a flu in 24 hours or less.
These first few are easy because you don’t actually have to do anything. Your body already knows what to do; you just have to let it!
Run a Fever
A fever is your body’s natural response for fighting an infection (whether bacterial or viral). The fever is actually a good sign, as it shows that your immune system is doing its job of warding off the illness to get you well again.
Therefore, taking medications to decrease your fever is actually working against your own body! This is often what prolongs illness and makes it so hard to get well quickly. So put down those pills and let the fever run its course. A fever might be uncomfortable and hot, with intermittent chills, but it’s crucial to fighting your flu, so let it do it’s thing.
If your fever is extremely high, or you are concerned about a child’s fever, learn more about when medical care is needed.
Once again, your body knows what it needs to get well. That’s why you feel so tired when you have the flu, because your body wants you to go to sleep! Sleep time is when our body grows, repairs and heals. If you have the flu, you need lots of healing and repairing, hence you need lots of sleep.
If you stare at the TV or computer all day, you will thwart your body’s efforts to drift into restorative sleep. So get away from screens as much as possible, keep the lights low, stay in bed and provide a restful sleep environment throughout the day and night. What an enjoyable way to get well!
In between sleeping, do as little as possible. I know it’s really hard for most of us to do “nothing”, but that’s often one of the reasons we get sick in the first place! Both your mind and your body must rest, rest, rest.
Watching television doesn’t allow your mind much rest, so again, don’t lie in front of the TV all day. Space out, daydream, watch your family from a distance, give yourself a face massage or arm tickle. Lie down outside and stare at the trees and clouds.
Even if you’re lying down all day, if your mind is still running amuck, your body can’t fully relax. One way to help with this is meditation, which is not only relaxing, but also extremely healing.
Even if you’ve never meditated before, you can do it now. Brad can guide you through a meditative session in his video, ‘Meditation Made Simple‘, and if you’re well enough to stand, try his ‘Qi Gong and Tai Chi’ video. I also love these free guided meditations, which I listened to when I was sick.
No, not the sort of drinking you did last weekend that contributed to your flu. I’m talking about drinking that liquid gold stuff that you maybe didn’t have enough of lately. Water! Drink it like it’s the best thing you ever tasted and you can’t get enough of it.
Keep a giant jug (pitcher) of water and a glass beside you and drink more water than you thought you could handle. Think of it as your medicine, because it is.
Your other main medicine is food. I mean real, whole, organic, nutritious food. I know you have the flu and you’re tired, but when you eventually reach for something to eat, make it incredibly nutritious.
Avoid packaged snacks, processed foods and sugar like they are the plague.They will only depress your immune system further and make your flu worse.
Fresh fruit and raw vegetables require the least preparation and plenty of nourishment. When you get enough energy, make yourself some eggs or quickly pan-fry some chicken or fish. Better yet, get someone to cook a nourishing meal for you.
Eat Less, Then More
I hear ya. Sometimes when the flu is really bad, the last thing you want to do is eat. And that’s your wise body again, telling you that it needs a rest from digesting, which is hard work. So listen to your body and eat less or not much for awhile.
Then, when you start to feel better, you may want to eat more than usual, to replenish your body with vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients that will keep that flu from hanging around.
In addition to your nourishing foods, a healthy dose of good bacteria will really power up the leader of your immune system – your gut. When you have plenty of good bugs in your system, they stand strong against the bad bugs taking over. Like that nasty flu you’ve got.
You can drink kombucha or kefir, or eat unpasteurised fermented foods. But if you haven’t made these or know where to buy them, a good quality probiotic supplement will do. We use and highly recommend InLiven, but if you need something right away, ask for a recommendation at your local health food shop. (affiliate link for InLiven helps keep Primal Health running)
Yes, you heard me right. Once you are well enough to get out of bed, go sit or lie in the sun for about 30 minutes (depending on your skin colour). If it’s warm enough, let your skin be exposed to the sun as much as possible, and don’t wear sunglasses or sunscreen. This is so you can get as much Vitamin D as possible, from the best source of it, the sun.
Vitamin D is responsible for an amazing number of functions in our body. The lack of it we have today from living and working indoors, and other diet and lifestyle factors, is one key factor in our huge rates of illness. If you want to get rid of your flu fast, this is an important part of the formula.
When I had the flu, I took a blanket and pillow outside and laid in a sunny spot on the grass, feeling the wind and the sun’s warmth and looking up at the clouds and trees. It was healing in so many ways.
No, I don’t mean suntan oil while you are getting your sun. I’m referring to essential oils, an often overlooked yet very effective healing modality. When our daughter Kaiya is sick, essential oils get her feeling better quick, and they are easy and pleasant for all of us to use.
Essential oils will help with your flu symptoms and also act as anti-virals and anti-microbials to fight the illness. Put three drops of eucalyptus, oregano, peppermint or lavender oil into one tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil, then rub the oil mixture onto your chest, neck and/or bottom of your feet every 4-6 hours or so.
Laughter & Love
I’m serious about this. Stop being so serious! Whoever said laughter was the best medicine was onto something. Thoughts are #1 of the Primal 6 to optimal health, so if you want to get over the flu, get your mind feeling relaxed, loved and happy.
Once you’ve gotten plenty of rest and sleep, watch one short funny show or movie. Read a funny book. Tell jokes or make funny faces with your family. Call the people you love and tell them you love them. And get lots of hugs and touching from those you are closest to.
Different tools for different flus
Every single body is different, and every illness is different, so there is no one magic formula for getting over the flu. But there are plenty of primal tools that we can use to assist our body is eliminating the flu and gaining strong immunity again, and these 11 things are what worked for me when I had a terrible flu last month.
I also gargled with very warm salt water several times a day, as my throat was so inflamed, I felt like I was swallowing razor blades. My intense flu symptoms started the afternoon of Christmas Day, and by early evening the next day, I was feeling very well again, had no sore throat, and was ready to go to work (at my relaxing bookstore job) the following day. That’s because I spent those 24 hours taking care of myself with these 11 natural remedies.
I hope you feel better soon!
Did you get rid of your flu quickly? Which of these remedies did you use?