The worst flu season in over a decade continues—we’re just over halfway through the typical time frame. Why are we experiencing increased numbers of infections, hospitalizations, and even fatalities this year? Primarily because the H3N2 subtype of influenza A is predominant—and it’s a particularly virulent and mutable strain of the flu virus. Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the flu vaccine is only about 36% effective against H3N2.
Anything you can do to stay healthy right now is worth trying, and essential oils can help protect and support you during this epidemic. Here’s how to use your best natural medicines against all strains of this ruthless virus.
Step 1: Strengthen Natural Immunity
To stimulate your immune system, use essential oils daily, or at least 3–4 times a week. Diffuse 3–4 drops during sleep, or apply 1–2 drops to the sole of each foot at bedtime. Try alternating between single oils and protective or immune-boosting blends every week—this helps avoid desensitization to any one oil.
Blends: Use a protective or immune blend, or make the one below.
1 drop frankincense
1 drop melaleuca
1 drop rosemary
1 drop lemon
1 drop eucalyptus
1 drop orange
Aromatic: Use this blend in a diffuser.
Step 2: Engage Antiviral Arsenal
The flu is highly contagious, spreading easily through sneezing, coughing, or direct contact. If you’re living around an infected person, continue diffusing and/or topically applying antiviral essential oils and blends. This may help the sick get well faster and keep others from getting infected.
Single oils: Use helichrysum, melaleuca, clove, melissa, lime, cinnamon, lemon, oregano, peppermint, eucalyptus, or thyme.
Blends: Use an antiviral respiratory blend, or make the one below.
Citrus Spice Defense
1 drop lemon
1 drop cinnamon
2 drops oregano
2 drops eucalyptus
Step 3: Soothe Flu Symptoms
If you do get sick, essential oils can help reduce the severity of the flu and shorten its duration. Flu symptoms appear 1–4 days after the virus enters the body. A fever usually comes first, followed by low energy, body aches, headache, chills, and dizziness. Some people experience nausea and vomiting.
Body Aches Bath
Add 4 drops of thyme and 2 drops of eucalyptus to 1 cup (250 g) of epsom salt. Run warm bathwater over the mixture to disperse the essential oils throughout the tub. Soak for 15–20 minutes.
Apply 1 drop each lavender, peppermint, and frankincense to the base of the skull and forehead.
Inhale peppermint or ginger directly from the vial or after rubbing 1–2 drops into your palms.
After 2–3 days, cold-like symptoms may develop: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. See our companion post, ‘Tis the Season for Sickness, for simple solutions to soothe these symptoms.