In this episode, I want to help you be prepared to fend off viruses so you can get back to doing what you love faster. This includes cold viruses, flu viruses, C@VID, and other viruses causing issues like sinusitis, laryngitis, bronchitis—any inflammatory issue in the upper respiratory tract or lungs.
Especially now, during cold and flu season, these are the things I make sure I have on hand when traveling or at home. I want to prevent catching a virus, but also help my body fight it off quickly if I do get sick. Here are several reasons why:
First, I want to recover faster to resume my usual daily activities. When you feel congested, have a headache, sore throat and are tired, it’s hard to do your normal routine even from home. I want to recover faster to spend time with loved ones. When sick, I can’t be around my granddaughter or go to dance class. I want to get better to do what I love.
Also, I want to try to prevent needing antibiotics or steroids if possible. Antibiotics disrupt gut bacteria, causing leaky gut and susceptibility to other health issues. It’s better to avoid them unless the infection is bacterial. Steroids like prednisone disrupt blood sugar, metabolism, immunity and adrenal function. If necessary, we need them, but better to avoid side effects using natural anti-inflammatories to heal faster.
My third goal is to prevent the next infection. Catching one virus makes you prone to more. Patients tell me they get infection after infection spending winter sick. I want you to recover fully the first time to avoid getting sick again. This includes what to do after to prevent the next infection.
So, our main goals are:
- Recover faster to resume daily activities and time with loved ones
- Avoid antibiotics and steroids if possible
- Prevent the next infection
Recognizing the First Signs of a Virus
It’s important to pick up on your own body’s typical first symptoms that a viral illness is starting to take hold. Common early symptoms are sore or scratchy throat, sneezing, congestion, feeling feverish, and fatigue.
When these symptoms first appear, it’s a sign your immune system is ramping up and fighting off an infection. The earlier you take notice and start to support your body, the milder the illness will be. Delaying just a few days allows the virus to proliferate and prolongs recovery time.
Some people may not show obvious early symptoms however. If your immune system is sluggish, the virus can multiply for days before you feel sick. In this case you can take immune-enhancing supplements preventively when you know you have had viral exposures. This compensates for a slower immune response.
How to Take Action at the First Sign of Illness
Pay attention to symptoms – your body’s first signals. Think back to when you last got sick—you likely had less sleep, more stress, sugar and alcohol. Immunity decreases, infections increase.
We tend to go into denial, wishing we won’t get sick despite a sore throat and congestion. It’s better if we notice the symptoms quickly so we can act fast. Take action at the first inkling of illness, even if exposed to someone sick. Delaying worsens and lengthens it.
When sick, immediately prioritize how to get more rest. At the first sign, cancel plans saying you caught a virus and need to heal. Then care for yourself using these steps to recover faster.
Get some sun for vitamin D, even 10 minutes helps. Sauna with red light therapy is great. Light signals aid immunity. Have remedies on hand versus ordering when sick. Start immediately at first signs. Quick action is key to shorten recovery time. Contact my office if you need help with dosing.
Choose healthy foods – chicken soup, bone broth, chicken, turkey for protein. Salads, veggies, fruits contain antioxidants and vitamins. Avoid dairy and gluten which are inflammatory. Consider pre-made organic soups if you don’t feel well enough to cook. Protein shakes work well—pea or bone broth protein.
Eat small meals every 3-4 hours, even if appetite decreases. Stay hydrated.
Avoid sugar and alcohol which decrease immunity. Get outside for some sun if possible, Sleep more because your immune system works while you rest. Cancel plans, focus on healing. Then get back to a normal routine faster and avoid spreading your illness.
Understanding Viral Symptoms and Fever
When your immune system creates congestion, it’s in an effort to get rid of the virus. Sneezing and coughing is also to move the fluid and virus out. Sore throat is inflammation, which is your immune system fighting the infection.
Fevers help — viruses can’t survive high heat. If you feel feverish or have a 99-100 degree fever, that’s good. Rest and allow yourself to be hot to help your immune system. Take a hot shower or bath and sleep to heal.
Stay hydrated to prevent high fevers. Drink water with sea salt for electrolytes and herbal tea, not caffeine, sugar or alcohol which decrease immunity.
With rest and heat, most fevers stay around 100 degrees to kill viruses. If 103-104 degrees or higher, reduce it. Children’s temperatures over 102-103 need attention. Hydration helps. A lukewarm washcloth (not ice cold) can lower a high fever.
Monitor fever to know if you need medication. Using herbs and nutrients first may prevent the need for medications. If fever disrupts sleep or you have signs of bacterial infection, use fever-reducing medication as needed in addition to natural remedies.
Bacterial infections cause higher fevers and yellow/green phlegm. A little green phlegm in the morning is normal from laying down. All day green phlegm or coughing it up indicates bacteria. Then consider antibacterials or antibiotics.
Try herbal antivirals first to avoid antibiotics if possible. If improving with natural remedies, keep at it. If not, use antibiotics. Natural approaches can be supportive if antibiotics are needed.
The first steps when sick are:
- At first signs, cancel plans to rest and heal
- Stay hydrated with water, herbal tea (avoid sugar/alcohol)
- Take hot baths/showers and nap
- Monitor fever under 100 good, if 103-104 reduce gently
Choosing the Right Supplements and Dosing
Next is choosing the right supplements. Everyone is different, and there are thousands of options. Prioritize the most important. Experiment to see what works for you. Have your favorites on hand.
Some love oregano oil, olive leaf is great. Mushrooms like shiitake, maitake, reishi are excellent for immunity. Use in cooking, in tea or capsules.
Strategic combinations are best, with the most effective ingredients in one product vs. many bottles. I’m more likely to take 1-2 products consistently than juggle many.
Herbs and nutrients metabolize within hours, so frequent dosing matters—morning, midday, evening, bedtime. One dose per day only helps briefly.
What to Take
I always have Bio-Active Silver on hand. Silver liquid or nanoparticles of silver in water help against viruses and bacteria. Squirt in mouth/nose, swallow, use topically.
I also take Hesperidin. It’s a plant-based natural antihistamine. Synthetic antihistamines have more side effects. When sick, the immune response increases histamine—causing runny nose, sneezing, sore throat. Antihistamines reduce this, not inhibiting immunity. They allow better virus/bacteria defense by reducing congestion where bacteria can grow. Plant-based hesperidin requires frequent dosing.
Immune Support contains vitamin A, C, zinc, astragalus, elderberry—antiviral and immune supportive herbs. Take morning, midday, evening, bedtime.
Immune Support Plus contains vitamin D, NAC and quercetin. NAC helps recover faster and thins phlegm. Quercetin is also anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. If you might get sick, take Immune Plus 1-2 times a day. Increase dosing if ill.
Add silver, hesperidin if sick. Consider extra vitamin A for immune boost—up to 50,000 IU twice or four times daily for a week or two. It is directly antiviral for respiratory tract/lungs.
Vitamin C – use frequent smaller doses. 500 mg four times daily is better than 2,000mg at once which can cause loose stool.
Vitamin D optimize before illness, increase dose when sick.
Take bromelain or sinatrol containing bromelain and berberine if increased coughing, congestion, or ear plugging from inflammation. Bromelain is anti-inflammatory. Berberine fights bacteria. Take 500-1000mg of bromelain 2-3 times daily.
If bacterial signs—yellow/green phlegm, high fever— berberine helps avoid antibiotics. Take 500-1000mg twice daily. Keep going with natural remedies, use antibiotics if needed. Natural approaches help antibiotics be more effective.
Seeking Medical Care for a Viral Illness
While most viral illnesses can be supported at home, it’s important to seek medical care in the following circumstances:
- If fever climbs over 102-103°F – use cooling techniques and stay hydrated to keep it in a safe range
- If phlegm becomes yellow/green – this can indicate a secondary bacterial infection that may need antibiotics
- If chest congestion and breathing difficulties develop – immediate medical care is needed in this case
- If illness lasts longer than 10-14 days without improvement – further care may be needed for complete recovery
If asthma, pneumonia, or acute breathing distress occurs, or very high fevers develop, it’s important to promptly seek medical help. Otherwise, implementing these natural treatments at the very first signs of viral illness often allows fast recovery without needing medications.
Individualized Programs for Optimal Results
Every person has a unique body makeup and reacts to illnesses and supplements a little differently. While my protocols work very well for most people, I recommend connecting with me if you need help personalizing your approach.
My team can advise on advanced testing to pinpoint your needs, optimal dosing, priority supplements, and diet and lifestyle adjustments specific to your body. Custom tailoring the virus recovery plan is important, and guidance is available.
You should tune into your body’s signals as soon as viral illness threatens, and immediately supporting your immune system’s efforts with the natural tools we mentioned. Early action is vital and can dramatically shorten sick time and prevent complications of viral infections. My goal is to help you partner with your body for a quick and complete recovery.
I put together a Cold and Flu Recovery Guide, which you can download for free here.
One of the best ways to prevent colds, flus and other viruses is to support your body to recover from stress by optimizing your cortisol and adrenaline levels. When we are depleted by stress and our adrenal glands are under or over functioning, we become more susceptible to all infections. To start learning how to recover from stress, and how to heal so that you can fend of infections better, you may want to get my book Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.
For the most comprehensive support, even with the most difficult health issues (physical or mental), it is best to meet with me one-on-one, which is available to you no matter where you are in the world (via phone or zoom). You can set up a one-on-one appointment with me here.
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