Rolling into Cold and Flu Season… A Parents’ Guide to Protecting your Family This Season

The cooler temperatures are descending upon us, the rain is finally settling in and alongside these beautiful changes in our seasons come some unfortunate little colds and flus.

As with many things prevention is the best medicine… Below are some helpful tips to keep your family and loved ones healthy this season:

Vitamin D

Optimizing your Vitamin D levels is one of the best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds. According to Canada’s Public Health agency, there is “epidemiological” evidence that suggests a role for vitamin D in seasonal influenza, adding that the low amounts of the nutrient in the winter “appear to correlate with the occurrence of seasonal influenza.” Health Canada recommends 600-4000 IU’s day for those aged 9-70, 800-4000 IU’s per day for adults over 70 years old, 600 – 3000 IU’s for children 4-8, 600-2500 IU’s for children aged 1-3 and 400-1000 IU’s for infants aged 0-6 months.

A fish-oil source of vitamin D is toxic in levels higher than 400 IU, so a supplement made from a non-fish oil source needs to be used. Usually this is a lanolin source. “Data on vitamin D intakes from food and supplement sources combined show inadequate vitamin D intakes range 54-84%, (depending on age and gender).

Vitamin C

Humans unlike other mammals, have a mutation in our GULO gene that makes it impossible for out bodies to synthesize the protein. In short, we need to take in the Vitamin C from external sources. Recommended daily intake for children 1-3 years is 15 mg/day, 4-8 years is 25 mg/day, 9-13 years is 45 mg/day, 14-18 years is 65-75 mg/day, +19 years is 75-90 mg/day and for pregnant mothers is 85 mg/day.

Botanical Medicine:

Two herbal combinations to consider:

Jade Screen: A traditional Chinese formula for prevention/protection from colds and Flu. Used for centuries this herbal formula acts to tonify the immune system and for treating internal coldness. Jade Screen may be taken by young and old and may be taken on a long term basis. One thing to keep in mind however is that this formula works best as a preventative and if symptoms should manifest (i.e. fatigue, congestion in the head or chest, fever, or body aches) then it should be stopped and mother herbs will be more effective. Dosage for adults is 30 drops x 2 daily and for infants and small children is 5 drops x 2 daily.

Deep Defense: An herbal formula to tonify and protect the immune system. This formula is for overall immune support. It can be used concurrently with Jade Screen for people with respiratory susceptibility (weakness) or people who are at more risk (asthma, chronic health conditions). The dosage would be the same as for Jade Screen, except that you would take the entire dosage of Deep Defense at night and the entire dosage of Jade Screen in the morning. This formula is safe for pregnant women.

Early Symptoms

The best treatment is to rest, eat lightly and to induce a fever or heat in the body. In the early stages of cold/flu, the virus is still at a superficial level in your body and by inducing a heat/fever response this often prevents it from going deeper, thus shortening the duration of the illness. Fever is a natural immune response to viruses or bacteria. It stimulates your immune system in numerous ways to fight infection. Antipyretics (anti-against, pyretic fever) such as salicylates (aspirin) and acetaminophens (tylenol) stop this mechanism and are contraindicated.  Please note that if high fever persists contact a medical professional or go to your closest hospital.

Inducing Heat / Perspiration

To induce heat/perspiration many herbs commonly found in the spice cupboard can used. Ginger, cloves, cinnamon can be steeped (not boiled) and made into teas Take 1 teaspoon of herb in about 2 cups of water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink.


To make a potent ginger tea, take a walnut size piece of fresh ginger and grate it into 3 cups of water and steep for 15 minutes. Run a very hot bath and put in 2 to 4 cups of salt (epsom, pickling, etc.). Add in one cup of the ginger tea into the bath water and drink the other two while soaking in the bathtub. Make sure the bathroom is warm and immediately on getting out of the tub, put on warm pyjamas and go to bed. Hopefully, this will get you sweating. You can drink as many cups of these teas as you can.

Also tried and true is chicken soup with lots of garlic.

Please note that if high fever persists contact a medical professional or go to your closest hospital.

A FINAL TIP….. AVOID SUGAR…. A final tip: Avoid Sugar!!!

Sugar reduces the function of the immune system almost immediately by lowering the ability of the body’s white blood cells (the body’s defense cells) to destroy pathogens (viruses, bacteria, etc.)