- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water – this is preferred to hand sanitizers.
Diet and Lifestyle
- Increase consumption of Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables: organic peppers, lemons, organic berries, broccoli, oranges, organic greens, etc.
- Eat raw garlic and onions as both have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and immune modulating effects. Add raw to salad dressing, soups or try to add near the end of cooking to get the most benefit.
- Try to have 1-2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds daily as a source of zinc which helps the immune system.
- Try to have 1-2 raw brazil nuts daily as a source of selenium which helps regulate immune function.
- Avoid coffee and switch to green tea or other herbal teas like licorice, echinacea or elderberry.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates – white and brown sugar, white pasta, white bread, white rice and processed foods which all can inhibit immune function.
- Consume adequate amounts of good quality proteins (local eggs, raw nuts and seeds, legumes, peas, lentils, organic tofu and tempeh, organic grass fed meats – chicken, lamb or wild game, fish – salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring) about 0.8 g/kg body weight per day.
- Limit alcohol consumption and when having use red wine as this has the least effect on the immune system.
- Ensure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep for your body (7-9 hours per night) so the immune system can stay strengthened.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily and do one activity that helps release stress like journaling, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, stretching, etc. Stress causes an increase in cortisol in the body which in turn shuts the immune system off.
- Try to finish your showers on cold or try contrast showers (alternating hot and cold) as well as dry skin brushing which both can help with lymphatic circulation and elimination.
- If you are prone to sinus issues using a neti pot daily can help keep the nasal passages clear and prevent stagnation of fluids.
- Deep Immune is a great preventative treatment to support the immune system and it contains the following herbs: Astragalus, Codonopsis, Reishi, Ginseng, Ligustrum, Schisandra, White Atractylodes, Licorice. These herbs not only help modulate the immune system they also are adaptogenic which means they help support your body during times of stress.
- Vitamin C + Bioflavonoids can help enhance the immune system and replenish the adrenal glands which become depleted with stress and caffeine use.
- Vitamin D can be used daily during the winter months to keep the immune system balanced.
- Omega 3 fish oil can be consumed daily for its anti-inflammatory effects.
- Multi-strain Probiotics taking one bottle once per year (unless you have another condition that is helped by daily supplementation) can help replenish good bacteria in the gut to balance the immune system since 80-90% of immune function is located here.
If you do get a cold remember these tips as well:
- If you are coughing or sneezing do it in to a bent arm rather than onto your hands – this prevents transmission.
- Use vinegar and water as a disinfectant.
- If you have a lot of congestion it is best to avoid mucous forming foods: all cow and goat dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt), eggs, bananas, refined sugars and orange juice.
- Steam inhalation with some eucalyptus oil and fennel seeds can help expel congestion.
- Allow the body to experience a mild to moderate fever (1-3 degrees above normal 37.3°C) without suppressing it as this is the immune system working to help you feel better.
- If you aren’t feeling well stay home from work and let your body rest and recover. This also prevents transmission.
- Vitamin C can be dosed up to bowel tolerance (until you have loose stools) and then back down one dose to enhance immune activation.
- Oregano oil can be taken while you have a cold or flu but should not be taken daily as a preventative tactic as it can be liver toxic when taken long term.
- Increased doses of Vitamin D can be taken during illness – it is important to remember that Vitamin D is fat soluble which means that it is stored in the body so you can take too much.
- Virafect which is a botanical tincture with the following herbs: Andrographis, Wild Indigo, Echinacea, Holy Basil leaf, Thuja. These herbs are anti-viral as most colds are caused by a virus which is why antibiotics aren’t necessary.
- IV therapy can be helpful to enhance immune function and recover faster using a Myer’s cocktail (high dose B vitamins, Vitamin C, Calcium and magnesium) with added glycyrrhizic acid (licorice extract) for anti-viral effects.
- Manuka or local unpasteurized honey can help to soothe sore throats as well as adding anti-microbial effects to fight infections.
Living a healthy lifestyle by eating a diet full of whole foods, fruits and veggies, exercising regularly and managing stress are the best ways to keep the immune system functioning properly throughout the year to prevent illness.