On June 11th the World Health Organization officially declared the Swine Flu to be a pandemic, however, USA Today reports that US flu shots will not contain the H1N1 swine flu strain. This is unfortunate as most Americans under the age of 50 have never been exposed to this type of flu strain and will be susceptible to infection. It also means that preparation is key to weathering a swine flu epidemic. Below are some tips on how to boost the immune system, prepare for an epidemic, and treat the swine flu.

Vitamins & Supplements

Take vitamins D, C, E and the mineral zinc daily to boost the immune system.

It's no coincidence that flu season occurs at the same time as the lowest annual levels of not just sunlight, but Vitamin D as well. Vitamin D increases production of antimicrobial agents in the body, which fight infections such as swine flu. Useo the D3 form of Vitamin D and take 2000-5000 mg a day.

Vitamin C increases levels of infection fighting white blood cells as well as the number of interferon antibodies, which keep the swine flu from even entering cells. Take 200 mg daily in the form of a supplement or vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, grapefrutis and kiwi.

Vitamin E fosters production of natural killer cells. NKCs find and destroy germs. It's hard to eat enough food to reach therapeutic levels of Vitamin E, so consider a supplemental dose between 100-400 mg.

Zinc energizes the body's immune response and causes it to fight the swine flu more aggressively. Supplement with 15 to 25 mg a day and don't go over 75 mg as that can actually weaken your immune system.

Epidemic Preparations

In advance of a widespread swine flu epidemic stock up on kleenex as well as over-the-counter cold and flu remedies for both children and adults. Prescription medications such as Tamiflu can decrease the severity of the flu. If you have a physician willing to prescribe Tamiflu, then store some in the medicine cabinet.

Masks to keep germs out are also a good idea. In addition, spend some time stocking the freezer with homemade chicken soup and other comfort food to sustain you through the flu.

Homeopathic Remedies for the Swine Flu

Homeopathic medicine was quite effective at combating the flu during the 1918 pandemic with impressively low mortality rates when compared to those of allopathic medicine. There are dozens of homeopathy remedies for the flu and selecting the right one depends on carefully assessing symptoms. However, in an epidemic, it may not be possible to get out to the store or ask a homeopathic physician for a recommendation. There are some general homeopathic remedies that can be kept on hand in the case of an epidemic.

Oscillococcinum is a general homeopathic flu remedy available at drug stores and at online retailers. Follow dosage instructions on the box.

Gelsemium was the homeopathic remedy successfully used during the 1918 flu epidemic. It is the best remedy for flu symptoms such as dizziness, drowsiness, chills, and lack of thirst.

In addition, Influenzinum may be an option as well, however, since it is produced based on the strains used in the flu vaccine and since the flu vaccine will not include the swine flu strain this year, it may be of limited use. If Influenzinum manufacturers do decide to include the swine flu strain in the remedy, it would be a valuable option for fighting the swine flu.

Continue to follow common sense precautions such as frequent hand washing and coughing into your elbow. In addition, eat a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables as they contain bioflavonoids that fill cell receptors so the swine flu can't get inside. Green tea also boosts the immune system. Lastly, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications, supplements or remedies as some products may interact with prescription medications.