This flu season has hit the United States especially hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 37 children have died from the flu so far this season, and between Oct. 1 and Jan. 20, there have been 11,965 laboratory-confirmed flu-related hospitalizations reported. With many weeks left to go in this year’s flu season, it’s so important to protect yourself from the flu virus. That means getting the flu shot, and going to the doctor if you notice any flu symptoms. But once you've taken those measures, there are natural flu remedies that help you avoid getting sick, on top of getting vaccinated, and help you feel better faster if you do get sick.
Dr. Megan Meyer, the director of Science Communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, tells Bustle that what we ingest can have a huge impact on how we avoid and recover from the flu. “Different foods and micronutrients can be helpful in keeping your immune system strong," she says. "Following a balanced diet that incorporates healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables is a great way to protect yourself against this year’s cold and flu season. But there are a couple specific components you can add to your diet to help alleviate some symptoms and/or lessen the chances of getting sick,” she says. You may have some of these natural ways to combat the flu in your cabinet already, or can easily grab them from the corner store. These are not replacements for going to the doctor, especially if you're sustaining a high fever over multiple days, if your vomiting won't let up, or if you feel any chest pain or pressure. However, if you're just feeling lousy, they may help you get back up to speed more quickly.