Healthful wanderings through COLD and FLU season

We all have our different approaches to working with this season healthfully. These resources were selected because of their  informative, helpful and well-rounded nature; especially in regards to vaccination debates and working with the H1N1 flu virus.    While these tips reflect the needs of preggos, breastfeeding moms & babies and families, we could all follow these guidelines and enjoy the immune benefits.  Be well!

Reminders and Tips for a healthy Fall and Winter:

  • Dress appropriately for the weather, wear layers and a scarf.
  • Get plenty of rest, between 7-9 hours a night.  For new parents this may seem unrealistic.  Rest and nap as much as possible if longer periods of sleep are not possible.
  • Drink room temperature or warm beverages.  Avoid cold or iced drinks as the weather turns cooler.  Soups and broths are simple meals for the whole family and ideal for the season.
  • Wash your hands frequently – after shaking hands, using public transportation, and before eating etc.
  • Incorporate culinary herbs like fresh garlic regularly into meals  – to soups, greens, or add to olive oil and eat with bread.  Garlic is highly antimicrobial.  Fresh ginger roots makes an excellent tea and aids in digestive health.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, healthy digestion is the foundation of a well working immune system.  Both ginger and garlic work well for the pregnant and breastfeeding mom/families.   Ask your health care provider if you have questions. (Look for a ginger tea recipe at the end of this post).

Excerpt from Whole Child Wellness November  2009 Newsletter by Dr. Elisa Song (

Apart from these measures, I also take and recommend the following supplements. The dosages that I mention are only intended as general guides, and may vary according to each child s unique needs. Please contact your pediatrician for specific dosage recommendations:

  • Fish oil.
  • Probiotics – I have been using Metagenics Ultra Flora Plus at a dosage of ¼ tsp or 1 capsule 2x/day. This particular probiotics blend was found to be effective in significantly reducing the rates of fever and upper respiratory symptoms when taken daily throughout the cold/flu season.
  • Vitamin C – I have been using Metagenics Ultra-Potent C because it has added ingredients such as lysine and glutathione which assist in fighting viruses. In general, I recommend Vitamin C 500mg 2x/day.
  • Vitamin D3 – there is speculation that the rates of illness increase over the winter because of the widespread deficiency of Vit D. In general, I recommend 1000IU daily for children, but some kids who are very deficient may require higher dosages.
  • Arabinogalactan – this is a natural sugar derived from the bark of the larch tree that enhances natural killer cell activity – these cells are part of our first line of defense against any invading organism. We carry the Vital Nutrients arabinogalactan powder, and generally recommend ½-1 tsp 2x/day.
  • Oscillococcinum and/or SyImmune – these are homeopathic medicines that may help to prevent influenza infection.
  • Xlear nasal spray – This is a saline nasal spray with xylitol and grapefruit seed extract, both of which have antimicrobial properties. You cannot overdo it, and will not get addicted to it. Other options for nasal irrigation are a regular saline spray or neti pot. Apart from regular hand washing, … daily and frequent nasal irrigation is one of the MOST important things that we can do to prevent influenza and other viral infections. This is because after exposure to a virus, the virus tries to invade and multiply in your nasal passages for at least 1-2 days before you develop any symptoms. Nasal irrigation can wash away viral particles before they have the opportunity to take hold, and thereby prevent many infections from happening in the first place!

Picture attributed to creator [en:User:Greenmoss] A ceramic Neti pot image created by Kurt Yoder on December 29, 2004, Wikipedia Aug. 2007.

Flu Season Resource links:

Midwifery Today re: the H1N1 flu virus

CDC re: H1N1 flu virus

Dr. Sears re: H1N1 flu vaccine

CBS clip re: H1N1 vaccination debate

CDC re: infant feeding and the H1N1 virus

Sleep and our immunity

Elderberry and prevention of  H1N1 infection.

Fresh Ginger Tea

A fresh ginger tea works very well to help prevent colds/flus by supporting your digestion. It also helps warm up your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments for birth and postpartum healing.

Just take a thumb (length & wide) size amount of fresh ginger root and cut into slivers.  Add water (6-8 cups) and ginger to sauce pan on medium heat.  Simmer for 15 minutes, strain, then drink and enjoy!  Therapeutic dose is ~3 cups a day.
Take care and be well!

One reply on “Healthful wanderings through COLD and FLU season”

Hey Doula! This post is very mindful of the season and its potential wellness mishaps – thank you! Great and simple advice we can all use in dealing with the colds and the flus out this year. I particularly like your reminder to be thoughtful around using fresh herbs on a daily basis, things like ginger and garlic – especially the convenient recipe for tea!

Being a devout neti-potter and lover of a good saline nasal rinse, I was delighted to learn above the information about viruses hanging out in your nasal passages 1-2 days BEFORE symptoms! Keep it rinsing! I had not known that about viruses and the stages in getting ill. (One learns something each day, yay.)


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