flu blog

How to avoid the flu taking over your house

This was a “nightmare flu season” in any context for America, and while it seems like March will be a little bit better, the flu can still wreak complete havoc on young families. How do you prevent it taking over your house?

Elderberry Syrup

It’s a very potent cold + flu remedy, and here’s how you make it:


  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  5. Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
  6. Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

Thanks, Wellness Mama!

If you want to understand the benefits of elderberry, this will give you some background:

Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.


The medical literature on echinacea preventing cold/flu is a little bit sparse — it seems to work and have an impact on the immune system, but it may be less than we think.

If you’re a big Oprah person, though, Dr. Oz has recommended it — and noted these three products as his top choices:

  1. Swanson Superior Herbs Elderberry Echinacea Goldenseal Immune Complex
  2. Gaia Herbs Echinacea Supreme Liquid
  3. A. Vogel Echinaforce

Vitamin C

An oldie but a goodie. It works. Some have claimed it reduces cold and flu symptoms by as much as 85%, while others claim it’s less important. There is a psychological side here too: drinking OJ on the couch while watching Netflix in your pajamas seems like a more direct route to wellness than trying to hack it at work, for example.

The normal stuff

  • Wash your hands
  • If one family member gets sick, prevent excessive contact with everyone else
  • Keep a clean home
  • Bundle up when you go outdoors
  • Know the situation in the classrooms of any of your school-aged children
  • Get shots
  • Have a good doctor on hand
  • Be ready for a few pharmacy runs
  • Remember: “this too shall pass”

What other flu prevention/containment remedies have you seen?


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