If you’re following the news at all, you’ve probably read that this coming flu season is expected to be a doozy. After a couple of winters of mask-wearing and social distancing, which meant less flu than usual, people are out and about again—and with less immunity against the flu. It’s basically the perfect storm for a severe season, according to Dr. Peter Ashman, M.D.
Another reason to believe Americans ought to buckle up as the seasons shift: Australia, which experiences winter while the U.S. basks in sweet summertime, is often used as a predictor of the flu season that’ll hit the northern hemisphere months later. And, well, Australia got hit hard by the flu this year. “Australia had its worst flu season in the past five years this past year,” Ashman says. “The season started two months earlier than usual and involved significantly more cases and hospitalizations than the prior year.”
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to support your immune system as flu season approaches. Sleeping well, managing stress, loading up on nutritious foods, exercising, and drinking lots of water are foundational must-do’s, according to Ashman. Additionally, “this year’s flu vaccine is considered to be very effective against the flu virus in circulation,” he says.
That said, try as you might to pile on the scarves, avoid sniffly friends and family members, and consume plenty of vitamin C, you might still fall prey to that same ol’ aching, coughing, and sneezing at some point this winter.
While rest and hydration are essential when you’ve got cold- and flu-like symptoms, many people swear by a homeopathic product called Oscillococcinum (Oscillo for short) to move recovery along quicker.
Despite its intimidating name—for the record, it’s pronounced “oh-sill-oh-cox-see-num”—the over-the-counter homeopathic medicine has developed a cult-like following, especially among people who prefer a homeopathic route to health.
Read More: 7 Fall Snacks That Boost Immune Health
A quick lesson on homeopathy: Homeopathy is an alternative medical system developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. Its philosophy is all about helping to body relieve and heal itself naturally. Homeopathy, though not incredibly well-known in the U.S., is popular and Europe. Its medicines are made from natural substances and formulated to support body systems that need relief. (FYI: The FDA regulates these products but doesn’t rate their efficacy.)
According to Dr. Elena Klimenko, M.D., who is board certified in internal medicine and licensed in medical acupuncture and homeopathy, Oscillo is a very commonly used product, sold in over 50 countries throughout the world—especially in France, where it is made and is the bestselling over-the-counter product for flu-like symptoms.
The Benefits Of Oscillo
Oscillococcinum is made from Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum, which is an extremely diluted extract of duck liver and heart. Don’t let that deter you, though; Oscillo offers some pretty legit perks. “It does not cause drowsiness or a foggy feeling, does not interact with other medications, herbs, or supplements, and is not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions,” Klimenko says.
Better yet, one study published in British Homeopathy showed that Oscillo not only shortened the severity of flu symptoms but their duration, as well. In the study, 63 percent of participants who took the medicine within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms reported either a “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” of their symptoms within 48 hours.
Time is of the essence, says Klimenko, who recommends taking Oscillo at the first sign of symptoms. When taking it, you’ll put the entire contents of one tube under your tongue every six hours, up to three times a day.
Another reason to opt for Oscillo: While decongestants and antihistamines aren’t recommended for anyone under the age of four, Oscillo is a-okay for anyone two years and older to use.
The Bottom Line
This flu season is expected to be an intense one, but don’t panic. In addition to your prevention checklist (remember, flu shot and healthy lifestyle), keep Oscillococcinum on hand to support your body naturally if you do end up sniffling and sneezing.