Flu Season: Misconceptions & Home Remedies


Every winter, I always believe the public over-hypes the flu.  Heck, the media even glamorizes it.  They’re going overboard this year, but that’s to be expected since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 15,000 cases nationwide between the start of flu season (September 30th) up until January 3rd.  It’s actually the worst flu season since 2009 when the swine flu outbreak occurred.

Of course upon hearing this news, people flock to their local drug stores to take advantage of the “come here for your flu shots!” signs advertised in the windows.  My past medical record is flu-free.  I’ve also never gotten a flu shot.  Lucky?  I think not, just have personally never felt it necessary.  I can see getting a flu shot if someone you live with is sick or if you are in the beginning stages of the illness.  Other than that, experts say getting a flu shot is only the first line of defense.  The current vaccine is okay but not great; it will not prevent you from getting the flu, but may just alleviate the symptoms a bit.

And that’s just one misconception about the flu.  Here are a few other Flu Prevention Mistakes:

1)      Covering your sneeze with your hands.  Use a tissue!  Or your elbow, if you must.

2)      Washing your hands in a hurry.  You should be spending at least 20 seconds lathering up.

3)      Using only antibacterial soap.  Influenza is spread by virus, not bacteria.  Too much of this will do more harm than good—alcohol based sanitizer is a better option.

4)      Relying on Vitamin C.  While taking a supplement can’t hurt you, there’s very little research proving that Vitamin C will prevent you from getting sick.

5)      …Or orange juice.  Juice actually comes with a lot of extra calories and sugar, which inhibits the immune system.

6)      Pretending you aren’t sick.  You’re doing yourself a disservice and everyone you work with by coughing and sneezing all over the place.  If you have the flu, stay home until your fever breaks for at least 24 hours.

That said, if you are desperately seeking cold and flu therapy, here are a few appetizing DIY home remedies that may prove more effective (and fun) than guzzling orange juice.  Not sick?  Bring one of these to a friend who is—they’ll be eternally grateful.

Apple Cider Vinegar Elixir


During the 1918 influenza pandemic, poor people swore by apple cider vinegar—some people still believe it will cure any ailment.  Here’s the recipe.  If you like it, try this Fire Cider cold and flu remedy found on the same blog.

Sage Tea


This is a good cure for a sore throat.  Pour 1 cup hot water over 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves.  Cover and steep for 10-15 minutes.  Add honey and/or lemon.

Flu Buster Clementine Creamsicle Smoothie


This looks delicious, whether or not you’re sick.  A little more work involved—if you know you’re going to make it, freeze banana, and clementines beforehand.  The result is a delicious and vegan smoothie, if you’re one of those types.

Homemade Cough Remedy


Another cider vinegar cure.  Mix vinegar, honey, cayenne, and ginger powder together to make a semi-thick consistency.  I like spices, so this sounds tastier than cough syrup to me.  Find the exact measurements here.

Cote D’Azur Cure-All Soup


This is way more interesting than everyone’s go-to chicken noodle.  Plus, it’s not only for colds but hangovers as well.  It’s a rather simple garlicky-broth concoction involving egg yolks and herbs.  Be warned not to talk to anyone afterwards—there’s 10 cloves of garlic in the recipe.

Kimchi, Pork and Tofu Soup


Anything Kimchi clears up my sinuses, plus it is so inexplicably delightful.  That’s it, flu or no flu, I’m making this for dinner tonight.

Bonus: Influenza Sorbet


Another homeopathic option that just came out on the market yesterday is Influenza Sorbet, a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream concoction that is available for $12 per pint. The sorbet is modeled after an influenza remedy that was passed through Jeni’s family for generations. Some ingredients include cayenne pepper, ginger, Maker’s Mark bourbon, honey, and orange and lemon juices. There is also pectin to coat the throat and the coolness of the sorbet helps the throat as well. However, for $12 a pint, I suggest trying one of the above home remedies instead.


Dr. Brad Hylan is a gentle and affordable comprehensive care dentist located in Cleveland, OH with a keen interest in history, travel, and wind-surfing. Hylan Dental Care specializes in emergency care and takes same day appointments. We are active on FacebookPinterestTwitter,  and FourSquare. Connect with us!


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  1. Thanks for the tips. Well…I just got it and am on Tamiflu. I also got the flu shot around mid October. Hope the whole family is doing well.

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