Preventing Colds & Flu

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It's that time of year again

That's right...the cold and flu season is upon us.

As the weather gets colder, we spend more time indoors where the viruses we want to avoid can thrive and be easily spread.

You may have already noticed the barrage of advertisements marketing the countless over-the-counter drugs and annual influenza vaccine, all claiming to combat these nasty viruses.

But as the safety and efficacy of many of these commonly recommended treatments have come into question, more and more people - especially parents - are looking for natural therapies that will help prevent and treat the common cold and seasonal flu.

Fresh air, regular exercise and plenty of rest are all vitally important for maintaining a strong immune system. There are also several preventative steps you can take to help ward off these viruses altogether or at least, minimize the severity and duration of symptoms.

Here are a few simple survival tips_

Wash your hands frequently- soap and water are the most effective cold and flu fighters. Natural - preferably alcohol-free - hand sanitizers are a good substitute when soap and water are not accessible.

Drink plenty of water- this will keep the body hydrated.

Eat as many organic whole foodsas possible to boost immune system- plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables daily.

Vitamins C and D3- help boost the immune system and are especially effective in combating colds and the flu. In addition, vitamin D deficiency, found in approximately 70 percent of children, has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory tract infections and a number of other chronic health conditions.

Probiotics- can improve digestive function and has been found to reduce fever, rhinorrhea (runny nose) and cough when used daily for 6 months.

Antioxidants - found in many fresh organic fruits and vegetables, also helps the immune system. Elderberry juice is rich in antioxidants and capable of reducing the length of illness. Gaia makes a great Elderberry syrup and throat spray.

Healing Teawith lemon, cayenne pepper, garlic- a soothing, effective remedy for coughs and sore throats.

o Boil 3 garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (for 6 min), add honey & lemon

Kold Kare (Andrographis paniculata)

Remember, for the majority of healthy individuals, a cold or flu is rarely serious but may make us miserable for a few days. It is important to always consult your doctor if cold or flu symptoms persist or worsen.

Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology (r) at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children's health issues, and is a contributor to For more information go to