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Filtering by Tag: flu

Tips to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Kerri Vilaverde

It feels like an hour ago we were enjoying the summer at the beach.  A half hour ago, school started. And now, present moment, I’m getting email reminders about flu shots.  In the blink of an eye, it's time to think about cold and flu season. According to the CDC, flu cases start to increase in October and peak between December and February.   

And if you thought I was going to remind you to take preventative measures…….well babe, you are spot on.  You may have a future as a psychic someday. Here we go...

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  1. Wash your hands with soap and water several times a day.  Especially before eating or picking up your cousin’s adorable newborn. If soap and water aren’t available, grab a squirt of hand sanitizer.  

  2. Break the bad habit of touching your face, especially, the eyes, nose, and mouth.  The average person touches their face several times per hour. We don’t even realize we are doing it!

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  1. Sneeze and cough into tissues, not your hands.  Remind those kiddos too.

  2. Avoid close contact with sick people.  

  3. If you are sick, please stay home from work and school etc. until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hrs.

  4. Consider something to boost your immunity.  I like elderberry syrup or gummies. Elderberry can reduce swelling of mucous membranes helping with congestion and has been found to reduce the duration of colds and flu by a couple of days. Click here for our elderberry syrup recipe.

  5. Continue your healthy habits of exercising, eating lots of delicious and nutritious foods, and getting your 8 hrs of rest.

  6. Try to get a handle on your stress.  De-stressing can strengthen your immunity. That’s the best reason ever to finally learn how to meditate or try that yoga exercise video.

  7. Get some fresh air. Germs are not stronger in the colder months.  We just catch them more often in the colder months because we hibernate indoors where it is dry from the heat and full of everyone else’s germs.  If you can manage it, consider walking the few extra blocks instead of jumping on the subway. The air and vitamin D will do you good.

Elderberries: The Natural Cold and Flu Fighter

Janis Covey

Elderberries are your immune system’s best friend!  They contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system a lean, mean disease fighting machine. 


Elderberries are rich in both vitamins A and C which are vital to the immune system’s function. Vitamin C is required for phagocytes and t-cells to preform their disease-fighting tasks. Vitamin A is an immune enhancer that increases the power of the antibody response. It also maintains and restores the integrity and function of all mucosal surfaces including the digestive tract. 

Elderberries also contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins which are a subgroup of bioflavanoids.  Anthocyanidins are are known to have immunostimulant effects. 

Elderberry Syrup:  A daily dose can assist you in keeping your immune system healthy and help prevent illness. 

2/3 cup dried black elderberries (about 3 ounces)
3 1/2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cup raw honey (local is best since it can also help with seasonal allergies).  If you would like to keep the recipe vegan or are going to be giving to children under 2 you can substitute Maple Syrup.


  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. 
  3. Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled.  Pour through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.  Then wring out the elderberries wrapped in the cheesecloth. 
  4. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey or sweetener of your choice and stir well.
  5. When well mixed, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  6. The finished syrup will last refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. 


  1. Prevention: 

Adults: 1 tsp one to two times a day

Children: 1/2 tsp once a day

  1. Treament:

Adults: 3 tsp up to 4 times a day 

Children: About half of the adult dose (always check with Pediatrician before starting a new treatment)


Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections

Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial


Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Janis Covey

With Cold and Flu season upon us, now is a great time to give your immune system a natural boost.  Here are some simple ways to naturally boost your immune system.



1.       Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerhouse!  It is a potent anti-oxidant.   It boosts the immune system by supporting important cell-mediated immune responses and enhancing lymphocytes, natural killer cells and antibody production.  The best way to get your vitamin C is from whole food sources such as citrus fruits, red bell peppers and strawberries. 

2.      Get your Zzz’s:  Lack of sufficient sleep suppresses the immune system.  The more sleep deprived you are the more likely you are to get sick.  Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  School aged children (6-13 years) need 9-11 and Teens (14-17) need 8-10 hours per night.


3.      Wash Your Hands:  There are numerous studies showing that frequent hand washing reduces the spread of germs and your chances of getting sick.  Although, DO NOT wash your hands with soaps containing anti-bacterial agents such as triclosan.  The FDA has ruled that there is no additional illness protection using products containing anti-bacterial agents versus washing with plain old soap and water.


4.      Drink Plenty of Fluids Mainly Water:  Staying hydrated is so important for overall health especially immune function.  Water keeps all the body’s systems working at their optimal level.  Drinking plenty of water flushes out toxins and keeps proper blood volume allowing the proper amount of oxygen to be carried to cells and help them function properly.  Water also is vital in the production of lymph.  Lymph is what the immune system uses to move White Blood Cells and other immune cells throughout the body to fight disease.