Tips for preventing viral infections

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It is that time year again when viral illnesses typically proliferate. This happens for several reasons, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to help protect you and your family from viruses.   Dry air and cold temperatures are known to promote the spread of the flu and other viral illnesses.     At the same time people spend more time cooped up inside and this creates a fertile environment for the spread of viral illness.   In addition, lack of sunlight results in drops in vitamin D levels in the body and this is directly linked to decreased immunity.

Here are some steps you can take to help protect you and your family:

Use a humidifier in your bedroom will help reduce the survival of many viruses including most strains of the flu. Not only does increased humidity lower the survival of viruses in the air – it also influences your response to viral infection. However, it is also important to keep the humidifier clean to prevent mold.  You can also add a few drops of essential oil like eucalyptus to help prevent any mold growth.

Wash your hands – yes, this simple step can prevent many infections! We contract viruses through our mouth, eyes, and nose, and the most common transmissions occur when we touch our unwashed hands to one or more of these areas. Frequent hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds is the single best protection to avoid viral infection. Always have alcohol sanitizer in your car and on your person and use whenever you are not able to wash your hands with soap and water.

Maintain a Healthy Diet – with adequate protein and high in fruits and vegetables – at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (about 56 grams for a man and 46 for a woman).

Stay Hydrated – particularly during plane travel. Dehydration lowers immunity and during dry winter months dehydration is common.

Vitamin C and Zinc – while there are many nutrients that support optimal immune function two that are critical are vitamin C and Zinc. Vitamin C can be obtained by a good diet high in fruits and vegetables.   Zinc is highest red meat. If you are not a meat eater other good sources of zinc include oysters and pumpkin seeds. Supplementation is also an option and can quickly boost levels of both nutrients. Either liposomal or buffered C with bioflavonoids are the most effective types of supplement for C. For zinc choose a high-quality chelated zinc supplement like zinc glycinate, picolinate, or acetate.   For Zinc 30 mg per day is plenty and should be taken with food while for C 500 – 1,000 mg or more than enough on a daily basis.

During onset of sickness the body can tolerate much higher doses of C and this is beneficial in shortening the duration of viral illness.

Optimize Vitamin D Levels – Absolutely crucial for prevention of illness and optimizing immune function. Each person is unique in terms of how much supplemental D is required to optimize blood levels so blood testing is essential to optimize results. See this previous blogpost to learn how to optimize your levels of this crucial nutrient:

Elderberry Extract – elderberry has long been recognized as a potent anti-viral compound in folk medicine, but the good news is that science has proven this designation is on target and how elderberry extract can be used to prevent and treat viral illnesses.  One example is a recent 2019 study where the researchers concluded:“What our study has shown is that common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus.   It inhibits the early stages of an infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells.”

In another study using the leading brand of elderberry called “Sambucol” was shown to reduce the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days which is amazing! Sambucol was also shown to directly boost key immune chemicals and activate the immune system so it works directly to help prevent viral infection and replication while at the same time boosting your immune system.

The great news is that Sambucol is completely safe for all ages and has no known contraindication and is available in vitamin stores and pharmacies everywhere for a very low price! It comes as a sweet tasting syrup liquid or as gummy chews (delicious).  For more information on Sambucol go to

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