Nobody likes the flu, but everyone is at risk. While some people are more at risk, such as children, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity, the flu can attack anyone at any time. 

You can and absolutely should get the flu shot. However, those with compromised abilities to fend off the disease themselves are made safer by “herd immunity,” which means fewer people have the flu to pass along to those around them. 

That said, even having the flu vaccine won’t give you 100% protection. Luckily, there are natural remedies for you to try to relieve flu symptoms and feel better in no time.

What You Should Know About the Flu

The flu, or influenza virus, is a respiratory illness that is very contagious. The most common symptoms of the flu include fever, coughing, muscle aches, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. You may also feel like you have a cold.

You can do your part to prevent the spread of the flu virus by first getting vaccinated, but also by staying home when you are sick or if you have recently been exposed to a sick person. You can also do your part by:

♦ Covering up when you cough or sneeze
♦ Washing your hands frequently
♦ Covering your mouth and nose with a mask when you are sick, especially if you have to go out in public

citrus fruits slices

Natural Ways to Fight the Flu

Even when you do everything according to health guidelines, you can still get the flu. Once you have the virus, getting the vaccine will not help, so your options are medications or more natural remedies. 

The alternative treatments below are natural, so side effects are limited. Plus, they are proven to effectively treat and reduce flu symptoms. 

1. Vitamin C

This vitamin is essential for immune system support because it boosts the production of white blood cells. Vitamin C helps to reduce the duration of colds because of the extra white blood cells fighting the virus. 

To keep your immune system strong and the flu virus away, you need 1000 milligrams a day. But if symptoms have already shown up, you will need closer to 4000 milligrams to help get rid of the virus. 

2. Vitamin D

You can get a lot of your daily vitamin D from the sun, but when you have the flu, it helps to have extra. This vitamin is responsible for regulating immune gene expression, so the more you have, the stronger your immune system will be.

Low vitamin D levels have been linked to more frequent occurrence of colds and flu, and sadly close to 90% of people are deficient. Take 2000 units daily to keep your immune system fighting strong.

close up of an echinacea flower

3. Zinc

This important mineral supports your immune system and possesses antiviral properties. Taking a zinc supplement can lessen the duration of the flu when taken at the first sign of symptoms. 

You need to be careful with the amount of zinc you take because too much can be bad for you. 

4. Echinacea

When taken at the first sign of the flu, this herb is beneficial for fighting infection. Echinacea specifically acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and, taken as a tea through the duration of a cold or flu, effectively reduces symptoms and speeds up recovery. 

5. Elderberry

This is another helpful herb for the flu; it not only boosts your immunity but can deactivate the flu virus. By reducing inflammation along the respiratory tract, you can get relief of sinus pain as well as a reduction in the severity of other flu symptoms.

6. Probiotics

The bacteria in your gut influence your immune system, so your body is better equipped to fight the flu by replenishing its numbers. Studies have found that certain bacteria strains, such as the Bacillus, possess anti-influenza characteristics and can inhibit the virus completely. 

a bottle of oregano oil with fresh oregano herbs

7. Brewer’s Yeast

This supplement helps to support the gut microbiome, which in turn boosts your immune system. The combination of protein, B vitamins, and chromium also helps to reduce respiratory infections and reduce the length of time a person has the flu.

8. Oregano Oil

The anti-viral effect of oregano oil makes it an ideal natural treatment for fighting influenza. Although no studies have been done on oregano oil and the flu virus, its effectiveness at inhibiting other viral infections shows that it may be a worthy opponent.

9. Essential Oils

Peppermint and frankincense are great for relieving respiratory symptoms when rubbed on your neck and the bottom of your feet. Clove oil is another beneficial oil to use when flu symptoms appear, as it has strong antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. 

10. Air and Water

Getting outdoors more often protects you from over-exposure to the concentrated toxins that can build up indoors. Drinking water and staying hydrated flushes toxins and viral infections from your system more effectively. 

Spending time outside and getting plenty of water will keep you healthy and can even protect you from getting the flu to begin with.

a couple of people walking on a bridge after an outdoor yoga session

11. Flu-Fighting Foods

Hot water with lemon and honey or ginger tea are great for fighting colds and flu symptoms. 

You may not have an appetite when you have the flu, but nutrients and energy are important for fighting the infection. Stick to light and easy-to-digest foods like teas, soups, and broths.

The Bottom Line

The flu virus can be dangerous, especially if you have a weakened immune system. The tips above are more than just at-home treatment alternatives; they can also potentially serve as preventative measures. 

By boosting your health all year round, you are less likely to get the flu, and if you do, these natural remedies will take care of it right away.