Natural Flu Prevention

Make Your Body a Fortress and Keep the Flu Awayfortress

By Katherine Erlich, M.D.

Everywhere you go, you hear everyone from teachers to politicians saying “wash your hands,” “use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash,” “cough into your arm,” and “don’t come to work or school if you are sick.” While this advice is completely appropriate, these well-intentioned individuals are missing a very important part of the equation to prevent the flu and other illnesses.

Why do we get sick? Many people think it is because of all the “bugs” that surround us.   These people are fearful of others who are sick believing that illness comes from outside. While it is medical fact that bacteria, viruses, and fungi are the cause of infections, it is our less than healthy bodies that allow them in. Why does one child catch colds all the time, while another can go a whole season without a single runny nose? If a person’s body is truly healthy, then it is like a fortress, not allowing itself to become infected.

So, how do we make our bodies a fortress?

A simple way to start is to focus on increasing those things that will be good for our bodies, while removing those things that are toxic. No matter how much good we put into our bodies, it cannot heal if we are constantly exposing it to imbalances, threats and toxins.

Here are some steps you can take to help your family become better infection fighters:

Eat whole foods. Whole foods are as close to nature as possible. The less processed the foods, the better they are. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Other examples of whole foods are nuts, seeds, eggs, meats, fish and whole grains. Look for a variety of colors in your foods.

Buy organic. Organic foods are higher in nutrients and trace minerals, and free from pesticides, fungicides, and synthetic fertilizer. Cows raised on organic farms are healthier, not given antibiotics, and are not exposed to growth hormone. Synthetic hormones can increase rates of cancer and have effects on growing children such as earlier puberty.

Decrease all fast food and fried foods. Fast food and fried foods are high in trans fats and omega 6 fatty acids, and low in nutrients. Shocking to some, school lunches are usually quite unhealthy, much closer to fast food than being a nutritious boost for children’s brains. The quantity of saturated fat and calories in a school lunch is far too high, and the quantity of whole foods is minimal. Limit school lunches to once a week at most.

Limit sugar. Sugar consumption has a significant detrimental effect on our immune systems, and children eat far more sugar than adults realize. Sugar is found in virtually every processed food, as well as in many foods that many parents think to be healthy, such as chocolate milk, juice, cereal, ketchup, salad dressings, and granola bars. For five hours after eating sugar, our immune systems are challenged making it easier for viruses and bacteria to attack our bodies.[i] Sugar also inhibits the body’s absorption of many vitamins and minerals. Did you realize that sugar also affects blood vessels and increases the risk of heart attack?  The American Heart Association recommends a daily sugar limit for heart health:  25mg/day for women, 37mg/day for men.[ii] Extrapolating that to children, would suggest no more than 15mg of added sugar per day – that’s about 4 tsp, the amount in a ½ can of pop.  Look at labels and stop buying foods that have sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, glucose, sucrose, or fructose in the first three ingredients.  Natural sweetners like molasses, honey, Sucanat, and natural cane juice are better to use than processed white sugar in that they don’t leach our bodies of nutrients.  Avoid artificial sugar substitutes as well as these are toxins.  Stevia is the one exception as it truly is from a natural source, but still only advised in moderation.

Drink plenty of water. Water is essential to all living things. Water helps to hydrate and cleanse our bodies.  Filtered and alkaline water is the healthiest. Even 100% fruit juice is full of sugars, devoid of most nutrients, and potentially high in pesticides. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of 4 oz of juice a day[iii] (one small juice box) and does not suggest a recommended minimum. One of the best techniques for families, regarding pop, juice, and sugar drinks, is to just not buy it. Don’t have it in your home. If it is not there, they can’t drink it. Remember that you are your child’s best role model and if you want them to do something, you must do it too.

Increase your vitamin D level, because vitamin D deficiency decreases immunity.[iv] We get vitamin D from the sun or from a food source such as cod liver oil.  1 tsp of cod liver oil provides 400iu vitamin D/tsp, which is the RDA.  A person must drink 32 of milk to get the same 400iu, making dairy a poor source of vitamin D.  Many people need even more vitamin D to raise their level into a sufficient or ideal range to increase their immunity and to prevent chronic illness.  This is especially true in the winter.

Increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids. An imbalance of omega 3 to omega 6 ratio causes inflammation[v], increasing our susceptibility to illness. The standard American diet is very high in poor quality omega 6s and low in omega 3s.  Cod liver oil and flax seed oil are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Other foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids include grass fed beef, raw nuts and seeds, and fish. Since fish are so contaminated, children should not eat fish more than once a week, further limiting tuna and catfish due to their high levels of toxins. Smaller fish like sardines and anchovies are the safest.  Examples of good quality omega 6 fatty acids include organic sunflower oil and evening primrose oil.

Take probiotics daily. As reported in the journal, Pediatrics[vi], giving children a daily probiotic has been shown to be a safe and effective way to reduce the incidence and duration of fever, runny nose, and cough, as well as decreasing the need for antibiotics.  For more information, please see  my post on probiotics.

Homeopathic remedies, like oscillicoccinum, are helpful in prevention of the flu, as well as when begun at first sign of illness.[vii]

Think before allowing your family to be injected with new vaccines.  Since we have a pandemic status, the H1N1 vaccine has been pushed through without the usually degree of required testing.  Especially concerning is the push for children and pregnant women to be vaccinated.  How can they know the H1N1 vaccine is safe for unborn fetuses after such limited testing?  The last time we were in a similar situation, in the 1970’s, the vaccine caused far more harm and deaths than did the feared illness itself.

Make health a priority. Start with small changes and add more over time. Remember that each step you take will help your family be stronger and more able to fight off infection. Realize that each healthy choice made now will make a huge difference to your families’ future health, happiness, and longevity. Start today!


[i] 1. W. Ringsdorf, E. Cheraskin, and E. Ramsey. “Sucrose, Neutrophilic Phagocytosis and Resistance to Disease.” Dental Survey 52, No. 12 1976, pp. 46-48

2. Ernet Kijak, George Foust, and Ralph Steinman. “Relationship of Blood Sugar Level and Leukocytic Phagocytosis.”  Southern California State Dental Association Journal 32, No. 8, September 1964

3. Bernstein, L et al. “Depression of Lymphocyte Transformation Following Oral Glucose Ingestion.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1997; 30: 613.

4. A. Sanchez, et al. “Role of Sugars in Human Neutrophilic Phagocytosis.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nov 1973, pp. 1180-1184

[ii] American Heart Association – Circulation 2009;120;1011-1020

[iii] AAP – PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 5 May 2001, pp. 1210-121

[iv] AAP – PEDIATRICS Vol 122; 5; November 2008, pp.1142-1148

[v] JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2009 Jul-Aug;33(4):390-6.

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007 Nov-Dec;77(5-6):327-35

[vi] AAP – PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 5 May 2001, pp. 1210-121

[vii] 1. Kleijnen J., Knipschild P., Riet G., Clinical trials of homeopathy, British Medical Journal, 1991.

2. Boissel J.P., Cucherat M., Haugh M., Gauthier E., Overview of data from homeopathic medicine trials : report on the efficacy of homeopathic interventions over no treatment or placebo, Report to the European Commission, 1996.

3. Linde K., Clausius N., Ramirez G., Melchart D., Eitel F., Hedges V.L., Jonas W.B., Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects ? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials, The Lancet, 1997.

4. Shang A., Egger M.,Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects ? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy and allopathy, The Lancet, august 27, 2005

5. The Lancet, december 17/24/31, 2005

Disclaimer: Some products mentioned have not been evaluated by the FDA.  They are intended to benefit normal structure and function and are not intended to cure, treat, or prevent any disease.

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