In recent months concerns about H1N1 have many people worried about their health. While vaccination programs have begun around the world, there are also some very safe all natural steps that you can take to help protect yourself against the virus and other influenza strains. While of course washing your hands frequently and avoiding the company of the sick are obvious points, there are also other alternative means by which you can protect yourself.

Influenza is a highly contagious virus that has been designated into the type A and type B varieties. Flu viruses enter the body’s airways and typically affect the nose, eyes, mouth and throat. Symptoms include body aches and pains, fatigue, chough, headache and fever, resulting in hot and cold sweats. Most influenza victims have a very dry throat and cough. Occasionally there is also nausea and vomiting. And while colds may last a week, the flu can last anywhere up to twelve days and more. This is often followed by another week of fatigue and perhaps the remnants of a cough.

The latest scares about the H1N1 pandemic have people pretty confused about what is best when it comes to avoiding or protecting yourself against this particular strain. Many are concerned about vaccinating themselves and their children, while others are waiting in line for hours on end in hopes of getting a shot which will put their minds at ease. As flu viruses are always mutating and as such are pretty unpredictable, it has been pretty difficult for health professionals to put out any concrete information to the public. There is a lot of fear and contradictory information out there. If you are tired, as are many people, of hearing merely about hand washing and vaccinations, and would rather hear about some other ways that you can protect yourself and your family, then keep reading. Below you will find some common but all natural ways to boost your immune function.

While most people who contract the flu will be fine with rest and liquids, for some, especially those who are immune-compromised, or elderly, the flu can be exceedingly dangerous. Secondary infections such as pneumonia, sinus trouble and ear infections can lead to further complications. And while most flues are rarely dangerous in healthy adults, H1N1 has changed these odds, skewing those affected towards the young. Thus, while it remains true that serious and mortal outcomes have predominated among those with underlying health conditions and/or among those with immune system suppression (including pregnant women) there have also been more than a handful of cases in which persons with no obvious underlying illnesses have contracted the virus and experienced severe outcomes. For these reasons, doing everything we can to help boost our body’s ability to fight off influenza is a very important first step.

Boosting the body’s immunity is always the first line of defense when it comes to warding off any kind of disease. Including extra doses of vitamins A,C,E, and zinc is therefore a good first step in combating illness. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that boosts our natural immune system function. Vitamin C, as most people know, strengthens immunity, and helps to increase the quantity of white blood cells in the human body. Buffered or calcium ascorbate vitamin C is always best. Zinc lozenges are the best way for getting the nutrients into your body. Zinc nourishes the cells and should you develop symptoms also help relieve sore throats.

Garlic in either pill or edible form is also a great way to boost immune system function. Garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Two to three capsules of Kyolic garlic in pill form will provide you with a great barrier against colds and flues. Colloidial silver is likewise a great source of protection for it also has antiviral properties.

L-Lysine and N-acetylcystein are also both great for combating flues. L-Lysine not only helps ward off and fight viral infections but is also useful for preventing cold sore outbreaks—a common occurrence when the body is ill and under stress. N-acetylcystein helps to thin out mucus thereby helping to prevent further secondary respiratory diseases.

Vitamin D has of late been touted as a miracle vitamin and has been found to help prevent cancer among other major diseases. Recently it has also come to light that those people taking high doses of vitamin D (2000 units and above) are less likely to contract the flu. Some have suggested that this is why the flu is so rare in the summer months when people are getting so much vitamin D through direct sunlight. In prison ward in which the flu virus was rampant, only one ward avoided getting sick and this ward was the only one receiving high levels of vitamin D supplementation. Taking some extra vitamin D therefore through the winter months will not only help ward off flues, but if nothing else will also give you a mood boost.

On the first sign of cough, holding a liquid combination of Echinacea and Goldenseal in a non-alcohol formula in your mouth for about ten to fifteen minutes will help a great deal. Repeat this every few hours and this will actually halt the viruses reproduction. Goldenseal has natural antibiotic properties and Echinacea is extremely effecting at boosting the body’s defenses against illness.

If you do get sick, despite these recommendations, make sure to consume plenty of liquids, including fresh juices, herbal teas, quality water and soups. Dehydration can be serious especially in the elderly or in young children. Adults can also get severely dehydrated and should make sure they are getting adequate amounts of liquid. Moreover, quality water will help flush out the body thereby shortening flu like symptoms. Putting a bit of cayenne pepper in some chicken noodle soup will also help break up phlegm.

Obviously getting as much sleep as possible will also help speed along your recovery. Taking time off and avoiding those people who are uninfected is also the best way to avoid spreading the flu amongst your community. Even when the virus is of a mild or moderate variety, others may be hit harder with it than you. So if you accidently spread it to them you could be putting someone else’s health at grave risk. Not only will you recover faster if you stay home and give your body what it needs to fight off the infection as fast as possible, but you may also be saving the lives of others by so doing.

H1N1, although apparently having peaked in most places in North America already, may be staying around for much longer. Some medical professionals are predicting a third wave in the Spring. In order to gear up and get your body ready to fight off any possible infections then you might want to consider starting a healthy regimen now. Good nutrition, proper supplementation and exercise will help get your body ready to take on any new mutations or strains of influenza that might come our way. While we can’t predict what the flu virus might do we can nevertheless help our bodies fight off its arrival.

Author's Bio: 

Dale Miller is a health, sports, fitness and nutrition enthusiast. He operates and writes a blog at