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A Natural Guide to Surviving Cold and Flu Season

Sometimes even the proper vaccines and good hand-washing habits can't keep the nastiest bug from getting the best of us.
surving flu season

Growing up, I was surrounded by nurses—my mom, sister, aunts, and cousins are all nurses and they made sure I was well cared for during cold/flu season.

But sometimes being armed with the proper vaccines and good hand-washing habits aren't enough to keep the nastiest bug from getting the best of us. Thanks to the loving nurses in my life, I've got the tools—and know-how—to deal with the worst viruses when it hits me and my family.

There are two different schools of thought when it comes to coping with a cold:

1. Fight It

The first approach, is to fight your cold, fight it with all the medication you can get your hands on. Taking regular cold/flu medicine from your local drugstore can suppress coughs, tired/achey pains, or dry up a runny nose. But it's important to remember that, while medicines may control the symptoms of a cold/flu, they don't actually make you heal faster.

2. Ride It

The second approach, is to ride your cold out. Some people choose not to take medications because it's unnatural.

I subscribe to the "Ride It" school of thought, because I feel it's best to let the cold/flu run its course. But I don't have to just sit there and sniffle. Here are some natural, nurse-approved ways to recover more quickly from a cold/flu.

Bee pollen honey

Bee pollen is a natural health supplement containing amino acids, vitamins, carotenoids—colorful plant pigments that contain antioxidants—and minerals that all act to enhance the body's immune system.

Try adding bee pollen honey, such as Y.S. Eco Farms Raw Honey, to soothing hot liquids like ginger tea or lemon water as an alternative to the artificial sweeteners found in powdered dietary supplements such as Airborne and Emergen-C. Those allergic to pollen, pregnant, or breastfeeding should avoid consuming bee pollen due to the risk of possible allergic reactions.

Petroleum Jelly

When nurses are cleaning a patient frequently, they apply Vaseline to prevent irritation and infection by acting as a moisture barrier. We can use the same concept at home for the nose! Petroleum jelly such as Vaseline prevents rawness and redness when you're constantly blowing a runny nose. It also doubles as a balm for dehydrated and cracked lips. Apply a thin layer to the nostril area throughout the day to avoid raw skin and redness.


Saline has been used for centuries for both beauty and medicinal purposes. Saline (sodium chloride), a mineral found naturally in the earth, can clean and soothe nasal cavities, dissolve mucus, refresh and moisturize skin, and reduce puffiness.

Puffs has captured the power of natural saline in all new Puffs Fresh Faces, the first moist facial tissue designed for everything your face has to face each day. Patented and uniquely formulated with saline, aloe, and Vitamin E, Puffs Fresh Faces is designed to help you clean up anything the day can throw at your face.

Neti Pot

While over-the-counter decongestant sprays clear nasal and sinus passageways quickly, they usually contain numerous chemicals that can cause irritation. Overuse of these sprays can worsen a runny nose.

Research has proven that the Neti pot is a true all-natural and safe decongestant. The Neti pot uses a sterile saline solution to irrigate the nasal and sinus cavity without the use of medications. It's a treatment that has been around for centuries and is available in your local drugstore, health food store, or online retailer.

Lots of liquids

Drink 10-12 glasses of water a day or at least half your body weight in ounces—so if you're 120 lbs, drink at least 60 oz of water per day. Drinking liquids is imperative if you want to get over a cold/flu quickly.

A cute drinking mug or crazy straw may inspire you or your sick loved one to take more liquids. The Zojirushi Tuff Mug keeps liquids hot or cold for hours and is easy to clean. It's important to have a dedicated cup just for the sick person so germs aren't spread around, and it should be washed every day.

Food and Rest

Resting and forcing yourself to eat regularly are two basic, all-natural remedies for healing from a cold/flu more quickly. When you're sick and you don't have an appetite, the last thing you want to do is eat. But if you avoid taking in the necessary nourishment that your body needs, your cold/flu will last much longer.

Here's a simple recipe for bone broth that you can practically make in your sleep. Bone broth contains the water, minerals and vitamins the body needs to fight that bug.

Bone broth is easy to drink when you've lost your appetite, and is also easy for the stomach to digest. Plus, by making your own broth, you'll avoid the unnecessary sodium found in most canned soups.

  1. Fill a large pot (3-5 qt) with water, 2 lbs (or more) of mineral rich bones (beef, pork or chicken) from your local butcher and 2 tablespoons vinegar, and a pinch of your favorite herbs and spices.

  2. Bring water to a boil and simmer on low until done (3 hours minimum, and up to 6-8 hours if you can). During the last 30 min. of cooking, add 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, 1 onion, garlic, roughly chopped.