What I’d Do if I Had the Flu

February 6, 2018

One out of every five adults has come down with the flu this season.

This year’s flu season is being touted as the worst in almost a decade, since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. As a result, droves of people want to know how to prevent the flu. The predominant strain this year is the Hong Kong flu, which has been documented for at least 50 years and is known to be one of the more virulent strains. Because I faithfully take Para-Key and Time-C, I don’t expect to come down with it, but here’s what I would do if I did have the flu.

Influenza 101

Influenza is a virus. Viruses are different from bacteria, in that bacteria attach themselves to the outside of a cell, while viruses inject themselves into the cell. Antibiotics are lifesavers when it comes to bacterial infections, because the bacteria can be targeted without harming the inside of the cell. Viruses, on the other hand, don’t respond to antibiotics. They are housed safely inside of your cell, where antibiotics can’t reach without destroying the cell.

Viruses cannot multiply without a host cell. Because of this, the most effective flu fighters and preventatives focus on strengthening cells and their membranes. A healthy cell is like a fortress that doesn’t allow a virus to invade.

An Ounce of Prevention – How to Prevent the Flu

First, common sense measures to avoid exposure are the easiest to start with. The flu virus enters in through your eyes, nose or mouth. So, if someone with the flu sneezes or coughs and the infected droplets are breathed in through your nose or mouth, you’ve just been exposed to the flu. If those infected droplets land on a surface where you rest your hand and then rub your eye with that hand, that’s also a flu exposure.

As much as possible, avoid crowds and areas where people with the flu may go. Reschedule preventative visits with your doctor until flu season has passed; if you need something from the pharmacy, use the drive thru or have it mailed to your home. After shopping, wash hands thoroughly. These things are especially important if your immune system is already compromised. Remember, more than one strain of the flu circulates every season, so it is possible to catch another type while your immune system is already down.

Alkalinize Your Cells

If you really want to know how to prevent the flu, it’s time to think about your alkalinity. The optimal pH for the flu to inject itself into a cell is 5.0, which is acidic. You can safely assume if you have the flu that your cellular pH is acidic. My favorite remedy to correct your cellular pH is my cran water, and you can find out more about the amazing cranberry and the recipe for cran water here.

Another great strategy is a detox bath. This is a therapeutic bath that was recommended by my mentor, the grand dame of alternative medicine, Dr. Hazel Parcells, who lived to the ripe old age of 106. She was an advisor to the Oppenheim team in the early 1940s. This particular bath has been used for over 25 years by my students, followers and readers. Don’t take more than one bath a day, and don’t mix the formulas.

The salt and soda bath is quite relaxing and very simple to implement:

  1. Run a tub to the hottest temperature you can manage. Dissolve 1 pound of salt (sea salt – NOT Epsom salts) and 1 pound of baking soda in the water, and begin to soak.
  2. Sip a glass of warm water mixed with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of baking soda for internal pH balance to counter the flu’s acidity.
  3. Get out of the bath when the water is cool. Don’t shower for at least four hours.

Boost Glutathione

Glutathione has been called the master antioxidant, and is a strong supporter of both the liver and lungs. Because the flu targets the lungs, it’s important to keep them strong and healthy. My favorite supplement for this is N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). A dose of 600mg twice daily during the flu also decreases the intensity of flu symptoms and the length of the flu. This study showed in elderly patients who took NAC, 25% came down with influenza-like symptoms as compared to 79% who did not take NAC. If you are already concerned for pneumonia, I recommend seeing your integrative doctor and getting a prescription for NAC for the nebulizer, as well as taking the oral.

Cleansing Coffee Enemas and Colon Hydrotherapy

Another way to boost glutathione is with coffee enemas. They stimulate the liver to produce glutathione while cleansing both the liver and colon of the cellular debris and toxins that are produced when you are sick with something like the flu. Many of the symptoms that come with the flu come from the body flushing toxins and by supporting the body in this important job you can reduce your symptoms and help the flu run its course more quickly. Coffee enemas and colon hydrotherapy will temporarily reduce a fever and keep your detox pathways open. One colonic or two coffee enemas per day may be all that’s needed to give your system a boost to fight or even prevent the flu.

Elderberry to the Rescue

When you catch the flu, elderberry’s immunity-boosting properties can reduce your symptoms and speed recovery. According to virologists, this antioxidant-rich extract contains a compound that ‘coats’ viruses and prevents them from invading and infecting healthy cells. In fact, elderberry extract has been shown to be effective against more than 10 strains of the influenza virus. In an Israeli study, 93 percent of subjects taking elderberry extract were symptom-free within 48 hours, while patients given a placebo took at least six days to recover. I suggest supplementing with 2 teaspoons of liquid black elderberry extract twice daily.

Fight Flu with Vitamin D

People with enough vitamin D heal from the flu faster than people with low levels of vitamin D. According to this study, people with vitamin D blood levels above 38 ng/mL recovered from influenza in an average of 2 days, as compared to people with vitamin D levels below 38 ng/mL who took an average of 9 days to recover from influenza. Vitamin D also calms the inflammatory response of the immune system to the flu, which decreases the rate of pneumonia and other deadly complications. I recommend 2,000 to 5,000 IU daily while fighting the flu.

how to prevent the flu

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

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  1. Cherly

    All helpful things I hope to accomplish.
    Thank you.

  2. Claudia K

    Great article! I am wondering however, about the ingredients in the table salt, which will probably be absorbed through the skin. In addition I have to avoid getting into the tub. Unlike the shower, I cannot filter out the bad stuff from the water, which effects my thyroid in a very negative way. Can these instructions be adjusted, to fit my needs, or should I simply forget about detox bath? Thank you!

    • Sandra R.

      Dear Claudia: You can actually drink the salt and soda at 1/2 tsp of each in 8 oz of water every two hours. You can use sea salt in place of table salt.

    • Lisa

      Sea salt, which has minerals great for the body. I have hypothyroid and I love doing these bath. Remember, that the thyroid needs iodine in order to function. Have you thought about getting a filter for your house? It will help you, if not try one just for the shower. I use one even for my drinking water, Zero filters, it takes out even the heavy metals.

  3. Freda Dougherty

    Where do you get N-Acetyl Cysteine or Glutathione….I didn’t find a supplement on UniKey that is this. Thank you.

    • TeamALG

      Freda, these supplements are available at your health food store and on line. Fat Flush Whey does help with glutathione production in the body. Some people use Whey regularly to boost their immune system.

      • Lisa

        I prefer Pure Encapsulation and quicksilver, these company very clean. Free from Gluten, soy, sugars, hormones, fillers, artificial additives, plus more. Check it out! You have nothing to lose.

    • Sandra R.

      Dear Freda: N-Acetyl Cysteine, a precursor to glutathione, can be purchased at a health food store.

    • Lisa

      I use NAC from Pure Encapsulation, and the Glutathione from Quicksilver.

  4. Betsy K.

    Excellent information! I’m going to implement your prevention suggestions.

  5. Heidi

    Regarding the detox bath, what do you mean “don’t mix the formulas”?

    • Sandra R.

      Heidi: Don’t mix the formulas with OTHER detox baths …like epsom salts and soda.

  6. Olga Schwedland

    Really great information! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kathleen

    Thanks so much for these flu tips.

  8. Amanda

    How can this be adapted to keep children and babies from getting the flu? I’m currently breastfeeding, and I can do some of these actions, but others sound unsafe for breastfeeding moms and young children.

  9. Patty

    Is it okay to take NAC on a regular basis?

  10. PAS

    Can one use the baking soda without the salt? Or does it take both to improve alkalinity? Use this every day or just a few times a week?

  11. Team ALG

    PAS, You want to use both the baking soda and salt together. A few times a week should be sufficient but you can do it as much as every day if you are feeling under the weather.


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