Did you know it actually IS possible to stay healthy during cold and flu season? With a mix of natural remedies, supplements, self-care, handy devices, and simple yet smart practices, we've got plenty of tips and hacks to keep you vibrant and strong instead of sick and miserable!
This post is sponsored by Ridgecrest Herbals. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
It's that time of year again when everyone around you seems to be coughing, congested, and cranky.
Yep, it's winter and we're talking about cold and flu season.
But just because other people are sick doesn't mean that you have to be! Nope–you don't have to succumb to the fate of getting the flu or a persistent cold this year.
We're teaching you ten ways you can combat cold and flu season, naturally, and stay healthy all season (and all year) long!
10 Ways to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
1) Stock your cabinet with natural remedies in advance.
Don't wait until you get sick–be prepared so you can nip it in the bud ASAP! The sooner you can infuse your body with supportive herbs, minerals, and adaptogens, the less chance the sickness has to develop.
Some of my favorite natural remedies include Ridgecrest Herbals' botanical supplements. Their formulas are rooted in what's worked for centuries (if not millennia!) in traditional holistic modalities, yet adds in innovative upgrades.
For example, Ridgecrest uses homeoactive™ encapsulation, a way of combining homeopathics with herbs or nutrients for maximum potency, and Portfolio™ formulation, a way of using small doses of many ingredients to increase the safety and efficacy of herbal formulations.
Be sure to have on hand:
- Ridgecrest Herbals' SinusClear: keep your nasal passages and airways clear with this blend of mullein, stinging nettle, and rooibos leaf along with other ingredients like eucalyptus that support free and clear breathing
- Ridgecrest Herbals' AirwayClear: designed to cool irritation and support the body's natural state free from excess inflammation, helping the airways to relax and soothe
For more on how to swap common over-the-counter drugs for natural remedies, see this post on Natural Remedies for Common Illnesses.
2) Keep your immune system up.
Having a healthy immune systems helps us from getting sick in the first place, so during cold and flu season, be sure to boost your intake of herbs like echinacea, elderberry, oil of oregano, ginger, and Vitamin C.
I love Truvani's Under the Weather (an organic immune system supplement that includes all of those herbs and more), and Ridgecrest Herbals' ClearLungs, an award-winning #1 seller that's a synergistic blend of Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs that not only support the body in keeping the lungs energetically balanced, but also help encourage the body's normal and natural immune function.
3) Use copper to combat pathogens.
Yeppers–copper is an antimicrobial surface that's been shown to destroy viruses and literally kills microbes naturally with a simple touch. (see just one study here)
Copper has actually been used for centuries. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used copper thousands of years ago to purify water and heal wounds, the British Navy used copper hundreds of years ago to keep drinking water pure on long ocean voyages, and American Civil War doctors used copper on wounds to prevent infection.
Copper has been shown to kill E. coli, C. diff, VRE, Staph, and nearly 200 other pathogens, including the growing number that are now immune to antibiotics, such as MRSA. The Copper Development Association recently said researchers had not found any disease germ yet that copper doesn’t kill. Amazing, right?!
In recent years, some hospitals have switched to copper for “touch surfaces” like faucets, doorknobs, tray tables, and bed rails. This has cut the spread of MRSA and other illnesses in these hospitals by over half, in turn saving lives. (source)
So how can you use this magical element? Check out the CopperZap, a simple copper tool that can help prevent or stop not only colds but also a number of other germ-related illnesses like the flu, sinus trouble, cold sores, nighttime stuffiness, infections in cuts or wounds, and even finger warts.
4) Use an air purifier.
I bet you didn't know that–not only can air pollution cause things like sneezing, itchy throat/nose/eyes/skin, nasal congestion, coughing, tightness of chest, fatigue, irritability, and runny nose– but the air you breathe can actually have a big effect on whether or not you get sick, and how severe your illness will be.
Multiple studies have confirmed that exposure to elevated levels of air pollution increases not only the likelihood that you will become sick with the flu or common cold, but also that your symptoms will be worse when the air is polluted. (source)
That's why I recommend you invest in a high-quality air purifier like the AIR Doctor Pro, known for its UltraHEPA™ Filter that’s 100 times more effective than ordinary HEPA filters, able to capture 99.99% of the most dangerous ultrafine particles including germs and viruses down to .003 microns (ordinary HEPA systems can’t reach these super tiny particles as they can only trap down to .3 microns).
Our friends at Air Doctor Pro put together a special offer for R+R readers! For a limited time, get $300 off (nearly 48%!!) when you shop here, PLUS you’ll get one FREE additional filter. That means you can get this amazing machine for just $329 + shipping!
5) Get plenty of restorative sleep.
Getting great quality sleep has been linked to MANY health benefits, including a strengthened immune system and less predisposition to illness.
You may be thinking, yeah yeah, I know I'm supposed to get more sleep, but I don't have time for that, get on to the next point.
If that's you–then that's exactly WHY you need to pause and really commit to improving your sleep habits–which, despite popular belief, is NOT about the number of hours you sleep, but about the QUALITY of your sleep.
In order to truly recharge our battery, we have to focus on getting the most regenerative and restorative sleep quality so we can build a healthy foundation for our circadian rhythm to thrive. We talk all about how to do this in our 9 Tips for How to Get Better Sleep, Naturally post.
I also put together a printable checklist of my sleep plan so you can easily start to take action!
6) Get on the yoga mat.
I think there are 100 reasons to love yoga, one of which is because it helps keep you healthy and free from illness. How? Let me count the ways (source):
- yoga promotes good circulation, which in turn allows your cells to move through the body freely and do their job more efficiently; it also brings oxygenated blood to your organs to ensure their optimal function
- yoga has been shown to help lower stress hormones that compromise the immune system
- yoga conditions the lungs and respiratory tract
- yoga stimulates the lymphatic system to get toxins out of the body
If you do come down with a cold or flu, take it easy and get extra rest. Expending excessive energy steals valuable resources from the immune system which it needs to heal, and even your normal day-to-day activities may be too much.
Colds, especially, may seem like something you should be able to power through, but listen to your body. If you’re tired, sleep—don’t go to work unless it's an absolute must, don’t go grocery shopping, and don’t agree to taking on extra tasks around the house or with the kids.
I know this one is super tough to implement, but, your body needs rest so it can use its energy to fight the infection. Overriding that impulse will wear you down even more and make recovery longer and harder–ain't nobody got time for that! Honoring your needs sooner rather than later is always going to be best in the long run.
8) Stay hydrated.
Increasing your water intake will help you stay healthy and lessen the chance of you coming down with flu. When you are feeling under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever, loosens mucus, and keeps your throat moist.
Acupuncture has been shown to promote improved circulation and immunity. (source)
Never tried it? Don't worry–there's nothing to be afraid of! While it uses needles, it doesn't hurt–it simply stimulates your pressure points and meridians that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.
Try looking for a clinic that offers Community Acupuncture, where you receive treatment in a group setting and are charged on a sliding scale where you choose what you can afford. This nationwide movement helps make treatment more accessible and is now offered in cities and towns around the country.
10) Wash your hands.
This may be common sense, but regular hand-washing goes a long way when it comes to preventing colds and flu.
According to Harvard Health, washing your hands regularly is the single best way to keep from getting a cold (and every other sort of upper respiratory infection). Most often, we pick up the cold-inducing viruses by touching infected people or surfaces, such as doorknobs or banisters, and then infect ourselves by touching our nose or our eyes.
Avoid rubbing your eyes and nose, too, since that can transfer any virus you have on your hands directly into the body.
That's a wrap! What are your favorite ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season? Let us know in the comments below!