Life Hacks

Flu Hacks

Admit it, you are worried. With new statistics showing this to be one of the worst flu seasons in recent history, you should be.


I’m not writing this to scare you, but we are ripe for the epidemic pickins. 

We have all pigeon-holed ourselves into our fast-paced lives.

Bank accounts so tight, we can’t miss a day of work, let alone ten.

School policies are strict about too many absences.

Our daycares are too lax on which kiddos are sick enough to warrant a call to mom, after all, she needs to pay her daycare bill.

We’re too busy to wash our hands on a regular basis. Hand sanitizing while driving seems a good alternative, right?

Let’s face it, we’re in trouble here. 

I work in the trenches of influenza. As an EMT, I see the worst of it. Believe me, you don’t want it. You don’t want your kids to get it. We all are needing to get serious about prevention. Time to go to war with the flu.

The first endeavor of war is to identify your enemy.


Let’s chat about that for a moment. This is only from personal experience, not a medical definition nor a complete description. Please do not use any of my advice or opinions as a replacement to visiting your doctor. It is a general description as felt by me when I was sick with Influenza H1N1.

Influenza Symptoms

  • Serious body aches. The kind where you feel as if your body has been depleted of all of it’s cushioning juices. Thighs hurt, back hurts, shoulders, teeth. I mean an intense ache made only worse by the chills.
  • Fever-How often do healthy adults get a fever? If you’ve been battling a fever for more than a few days accompanied by other fluish symptoms, chances’ve been stricken. Your Dr can tell you which fever reducer works best to help your particular symptoms. The goal is to stay ahead of the fever, not behind it.
  • Sore-throat- there’s a sore throat and then there is a sore throat that feels like your throat has been run through with a soldering iron. The latter one is a good indicator you have something more serious going on than a common cold. By the way, if your throat is sore, you don’t need to swallow 10 times an hour to confirm it. Refrain! Keep it coated with honey, keep a soothing cough drop in. Don’t’ go to the store and infect others. Both of these can be found here!

  • Sneezers- Not to be confused with the cuddly character of Snow White. These sneezes will be strong. According to Web MD; “Sneezes travel at about 100 miles per hour,” says Patti Wood, author of Success Signals: Understanding Body Language . She adds that a single sneeze can send 100,000 germs into the air. I call stuff like that patient juice. EWWWW. Also, being this ill could technically warrant a day of movie binging minus the guilt.  You can watch snow white here!

  • Cough- The pendulum runs wide on this from a hacking dry cough to a chunky wet cough. By all means, cough in your shirt or your elbow. For the love! Do not cough in your hands, because then you will inevitably feel the need to touch a doorknob. That’s called traveling in basketball and it’s a foul. In this game, it will get you kicked off the court.
  • Lack of energy-The kind where you actually consider the use of an adult diaper because it’s too darn ( I totally avoided the lockbox fee on that word) much work to go to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, you consider using the bathmat for a nap. Load up your bedside table with all the necessary items. Kleenex , Cough Syrup, Cough Drops, throw up bag , water, fever reducer , Essential Oils , Immune builders, and remote.
  • Shortness of breath-  This will feel different for everyone. For some, it will feel like an elephant is sitting on their chest. For others, it might feel like they are breathing through a straw. Shortness of breath is a good indicator that you could need a little help with the flu. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor before it becomes an emergency.
  • The FLU hits you like a freight train. Sudden, severe illness. There is no doubt your body has been stricken with something big. You can’t and really don’t want to play with the others anymore and unfortunately, you will be on the bench for weeks.



There is a place for diet moderation, modern medicine and immune builders in fighting the flu.  I tend to start with immune builders and diet and then move on to over the counter medicine.

Weapons of war- Essential Oils

They are immune builders and can benefit some illnesses. They are not a cure, nor should they be used as a sole way to treat any illness. I buy my essential oils at Plant Therapy. I have used a few essential oils companies before finding this brand and found most of them to be very expensive. Disclosure: I was once a Doterra rep. Just couldn’t justify the cost.

The New Year, New You 5 Piece Set at Plant Therapy! Available Through 1/31 Only! Shop Now!

Plant Therapy is family owned and ran. They have an Aromatherapy team just waiting to discuss best practice of their products. Safety concerns and proper usage are a priority of the plant therapy family. They also have a first ever of its kind line of Kids safe Synergies! You can have the confidence that you are treating your kiddos with formulations made just for them! Here are my favorites!

Another great item I use religiously is Sambucol. You can get it right here!, usually in 2 days or less! Sambucol is made with Elderberry, Zinc and Vitamin C. It’s a huge autoimmune booster and maintainer. With a choice of gummies, syrup, and lozenges, something will work for you. It has protocols for both preventative and Intense flu therapy.


  • Don’t- eat Sugar. Sugar is an immune blocker and can at times worsen your illness.
  • Do – eat and drink honey. It coats the throat and helps soothe a cough.
  • Don’t- partake of alcohol. Really? Now’s not the time my friend. Even the old remedies.
  • Do-Drink your water and tea. Lots of it! Doesn’t need to be the caffeinated tea to do the trick either. 
  • Don’t- Eat things that can cause more mucus. Dairy for example.
  • Do-Eat or rather drink broth. If you have true bone broth, fantastic, if not go for the low sodium pre-made.

Prevention, AKA Peace Talks

Now we’re into the nuts and bolts of it! This is what we all could use a little help with. I’m sure you have read many articles speaking of hand washing, cough in your elbow, etc. But this is war folks. We’re going to get a little deeper than that.

  • Wash your hands! Not just when you think of it! set a timer on your phone for every few hours. Follow up with a nice Moisturizer so they don’t crack.
  • Nasal Spray– Oh I know it’s not fun, but man up, or woman up. This needs to be done. Better than your finger..seriously
  • Cough in your shirt or your elbow, consider that coughing or sneezing openly could actually kill someone. Think about that for a minute!
  • Buy yourself some Masks Use them!! To keep you from getting it and also keep others healthy too.
  • Invest in a box of puppies  Use them at the gas pump. Anywhere where you will be touching where everyone else has too! Just do it!
  • Keep a handkerchief on you. Let’s go back in time a moment. Dad did it. Mom even embroidered them! There was a purpose behind it. You always have something to cover a cough a sneeze or a bad smell. And it’s kind of nostalgic! You can find some neat ones on Amazon
  • Every day, take your essential Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint oils and go over all your door knobs, handles, toilet levers, sink knobs, refrigerator handle, bathtub knobs and window blind sticks.
  • Take your shoes off at the door. This should be a no-brainer but we all, myself included need this reminder. Just think about this. How many people spit out their yuck in the parking lot and you walk right through it! GROSS! Nurses, after spending a day taking care of patients stop at the store to get a few things. And again we trudge through all that they do. Drop em at the door!
  • Vacuum, sweep and mop twice a week through the flu season at least.
  • Use that Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint to sanitize your car handles, knobs, buttons, steering wheel and cell phone.
  • At work: Don’t use the common area coffee pot, bring your own thermos or mug. have your own sanitizing wipes you can wipe down your desk or work area. Also, take that same wipe and clean the bathroom door handle and toilet handle. If someone is sick at work now is the time for a little healthy peer pressure. Send them home.
  • When you go to the store; This is a big one! Toss your plastic bags. Don’t want to be wasteful? Then go green, use your own bags, but sanitize those suckers before bringing them back in the house. Throw your jacket in the wash, take your shoes off, wash your hands and if you want to go big, take a shower.
  • Vaseline. You can take a q-tip and put a small amount of vaseline on the tip. Very carefully coat the inside of your nasal passages lightly. this will act as a barrier to anything and everything in the air.
  • Cook at home. I’ll be adding some recipes that will help you in this endeavor!
  • Try to limit your exposure. I know that none of us want to deny ourselves going out but seriously, consider staying home more during the season.
  • Don’t go the hospital unless it’s a true emergency! Hospitals are a cesspool of disease, especially during flu season! I drop off my patients there and during flu months, I wear a mask every time. No excuses.
  • Set up a sanitizing station at your house. If you can do it by the back door, the better. Usually, there is some tile so you can kick off your shoes. Undress, throw your clothes in the wash, hand sanitize and Lysol before spreading that yuck throughout the whole house.

Finally, I want you to pretend you have been exposed to the flu every day. Prepare accordingly because chances are, you have.


2 thoughts on “Flu Hacks”

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