Tuesday, September 17, 2013

5 Things You Can Do Now To Naturally Prepare For Cold & Flu Season

The only thing that feels more miserable than having the flu is watching your child suffer with the flu.  It's inevitable that children get sick.  The cold and flu season of 2009 was the worse for me and for my then two year old daughter.  She had just entered day care and every other week she brought something home to me. Luckily my younger daughter, who was just a baby at the time, never caught it but I also noticed that neither did my husband.

Hmnnn....what was going on here?  Why were my daughter and I getting sick left and right and my husband always escaped unscathed?  WHAT WAS IT THAT WE WERE DOING WRONG?

I realized that my immune system was down big time from being over-run and not taking proper care of myself nutritionally, but also that my eldest inherited my less than stellar immune system.  I vowed to start building this up for both of us realizing that, as with all good habits, it will take time.

My belief system is in holistic medicine, but that being said, it is NOT an alternative to conventional medicine. You don't have to make a choice of either or.  Rather, they complement one another.  That is my philosophy and what I practice with my family.

Holistic is a complete form of health that does not reject conventional medicine, but simply incorporates a natural approach as the first line of defense.

Since that cold and flu season of 2009, here are 5 things I have done to increase our immune systems:

  1. Optimize Vitamin D Levels.  It has been proven that the reason cold and flu season is in the winter is because of the lack of Vitamin D in our bloodstream, which we naturally receive from the sun.  As a precautionary,  we take more Vitamin D in the Fall and Winter months to boost our immunity.  To learn more about how Vitamin D plays a role in cold and flu prevention,  please reference Dr. Mercola's article here.
  2. Take a Whole Food Supplement.  For myself I take a women's whole-food based supplement (not a synthetic vitamin - there is a BIG difference) and for my children a whole-food based child's supplement.  I look for one that has Vitamin D3 already in there at the optimized levels.
  3. Invest in Elderberry.  Elderberry has strong antioxidant properties.  It was actually used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.  Bioflavanoids in the juice and extract destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell.  My girls and I take a high quality elderberry extract as a precautionary all throughout cold and flu season.  
  4. Make Sure Your Digestive Track has Enough "Good Bugs".  I'm sure by now you have heard of the benefits of probiotics, as 80% of our immunity lies in our digestive tracts.  Our digestive tracts are our "second brain".  Maintaining a good balance of bacteria is key to good health.  There are more ways to get probiotics than just in supplement form.  Fermented foods are probably the best source, even olives and pickles! Kefir, Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink), and yogurt are excellent sources, but you need to make sure that they are plain and without the added sugar, as that would be counterproductive.  Probiotic drinks such as Kombucha or Kevita works wonders.  (I've tried most of the Kevita drinks and they are soooooo good!)
  5. Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule and Get Plenty of Rest.  Our cells repair during our deepest sleep, and our bodies are meant to follow a circadian rhythm, where we follow the same sleeping patterns every day of the week.  It's important not to "sleep in" for much longer than you would get up on a normal day to keep the rhythm in balance.  Make sure you get plenty of rest as that will boost your immune system.

Of course we still get sick and have had our share of colds/flu since 2009, but I have noticed that we bounce back quicker and don't feel so drained.  For me, it's night and day between how I used to feel when I got sick and now how my body responds.  When you or your child do get sick, remember that a fever is actually a good thing.  It is heating up your body to kill the virus.  I've learned to "loosen up" on the tylenol or ibuprofen for low-grade fevers and let the body work naturally to fight off the sickness.  (of course, anything over 100 gets a dose of Tylenol for pain management and never, ever let it go above 104 without a call to your doctor!).

There's lots of natural remedies to try if you do get sick, but let's be positive and STAY HEALTHY!!

What are ways you keep your immune system strong?

Be well,


Interested in learning more?  Please visit my website.


  1. What great timing for this article!! Thanks! I will certainly be incorporating these 5 steps into my routine and sharing this great content!

    1. Thank you, Johanna. Glad you found it helpful.

  2. AH! i forgot about elderberry! thanks for the reminder, i'm adding it to my list!

  3. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I will print this out as a reminder for myself what things I can and should be doing - thanks!