by Vincent M. Pedre III, MD
With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, I am often asked how I am able to
ward off so many colds throughout the season. After all, I am seeing sick patients almost
on a daily basis during winter season. You would think that I get sick more often, but I
only get one or two brief colds during the entire winter. I have even managed to get
over the flu within 24-48 hours using a supplement trick I learned during my
extensive research, looking for natural remedies to treat the swine flu epidemic.
Flu & Cold Prevention
First and foremost, washing of the hands after each potential sick contact is of utmost
importance. This means washing your hands after you have held on during a subway
ride where others most likely have touched and spread their germs. Using a hand
sanitizer is also not a bad idea, but overusing a hand sanitizer will dry your hands out
too much, so use wisely and when most needed. At our office, if someone has the flu,
which is spread by respiratory droplets, we will disinfect the room used to see the
patient before seeing the next patient. This is to protect us and the next person. If you
live with a loved one that is sick, it’s always best to sleep in a separate room, especially if
they are coughing all night (unless you want to get sick as well). Of course, many times
it’s hard to avoid people that are sick around us. An atomizer with the essential oil of
eucalyptus can help sterilize the air from viruses traveling in droplets.
Natural Remedies That Help Block Colds & Flu
But, my best preventive strategies are the natural remedies I have come to depend on
to stay as healthy as possible during the winter months. Here are some of my “secret
weapons” to get and stay healthy during cold and flu season. I’ve linked my favorite
products to this message for your benefit. Just click on any product to be taken to our
professional products page. Thymucin by Integrative Therapeutics, an immune
booster that helps activate killer T cells while boosting energy with an adaptogen, was
my first lifesaver. When I learned about this, it seemed that I became much more
resistant overnight to most colds I encountered daily. Adding Vitamin D3 5,000
IU daily by Pure Encapsulations to this mix provides another boost to the immune
system. I’ve discussed the many benefits of vitamin D3 over and over. This vitamin is
what saved me when I had the flu last winter.
Here’s the trick I use to BEAT THE FLU
If you definitely have the flu (high fever, body aches, respiratory symptoms, cough,
congestion, runny nose), then take 25,000 IU of Vitamin D3 at the first signs of fever
or flu-like symptoms. Repeat this dose daily for 3 days. When I had the flu last winter,
my fever broke in 12 hours using this with two other natural remedies. Can you imagine
beating the flu this quickly with natural remedies? Having my own experience with it, I
know these remedies are powerful when used appropriately and sourced from highquality
manufacturers (such as the ones featured here).
The other remedy has been shown to have activity against both Influenza A & B.
Remember, during any given flu season, the circulating Influenza virus could be
predominantly one or the other. In the past, if the flu vaccine missed which strain
became the more predominant one during a season, this rendered the vaccine less than
50% effective. With the flu vaccine a toss-up, it’s best to have an arsenal of natural
remedies with proven efficacy against the flu. What are these natural remedies?
Well, the first one is Oscillococcinum by Boiron. Taken at the first sign of flu-like
symptoms (whether you have the flu or not), this homeopathic remedy can help temper
some of the worst symptoms, including the fever and body aches. I add to
this Elderberry syrup by Gaia. This high antioxidant fruit extract, has anti-infective
properties against the flu virus. It actually prevents it from spreading from cell to cell. In
studies that looked at its efficacy against influenza strains A & B, Elderberry was found
to shorten the duration of the flu from the typical 7 days to 4 days. That’s 3 days less
of flu-like symptoms! In comparison, the medications on the market to treat the flu only
shorten its duration by a mere 1 day. Combine it with Vitamin D3, and you’ve got a
power combo that will get you well faster than any prescription remedy.
And what about colds and sore throats?
Now for the day to day sore throat that may start after exposure to the common cold, I
use products like oregano oil and clove oil by Gaia Herbs. Oregano has anti-viral,
anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. So, it is an all-around great anti-infective.
Clove oil also has anti-microbial properties. These oils are basically made by these
plants as their natural antibiotics. Clove also offers the added benefit of numbing the
throat. You can make it into a spray using a spray bottle and mixing with filtered water.
You control the strength by the number of drops you add to the spray bottle. You can
also spray clove oil in the air if you’re on an airplane to protect you from germs flying in
the air (but that may seem a little paranoid to those around you).
How about winter travel?
For travel (especially in airports and airplanes), I take Immuno-Hep Pro by Gaia to
prime my immune system. With astragalus root extract and mushroom (reishi &
maitake) extracts, it activates your natural killer cells to get rid of any invaders before
they have a chance to take root. Of course, all these remedies work as preventive
strategies, or best upon first signs of a cold. If you wait too late, you miss the window of
opportunity to fight the cold. Vitamin D3 and Thymucin are also my staple immune
boosters for all winter travel. I will take a double dose of Thymucin whenever I travel or
I have been in close proximity to a sick person. The most dreaded one, of course, is the
coughing person that sits right next to you and assures you that they are not contagious.
My advice: DON’T BELIEVE THEM! And spray some Clove oil in the air. But
seriously, if you take these remedies at the very least you will be a few steps ahead.
All these high-quality remedies by only the best manufacturers are available on my
online formulary by CLICKING HERE. Once you set up your account, click the
“Immune Health” category and you’ll find all the products in my personal natural
immunity-boosting medicine cabinet. Here's to getting through cold and flu season
Vincent M. Pedre III, MD
Author of the upcoming HAPPY GUT, featuring the Gut C.A.R.E. Program
(expected March 10, 2015)
Clinical Instructor, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Medical Director, Pedre Integrative Health