Your Winter Wellness Kit: Beat Cold and Flu Season

Keep these immune boosters handy during cold and flu season
A family outside in the winter enjoying the sun and snow
© Can Stock Photo / grafvision

Don’t let those winter colds and flus get you down! Beat the viruses that the season brings before they take hold by strengthening your family’s immune systems. With a little bit of knowledge, some simple lifestyle changes, and a few immune boosters at the ready, you can enjoy the chilly weather without the extra challenge of illness!


Regular hand washing is a simple and effective way of preventing colds and flus. Teach kids proper handwashing technique: wet hands, apply soap, lather for 15 seconds while rubbing fingertips, between fingers, under nails, and back of hands, then rinse and dry. Also, make sure to wash hands after sneezing or coughing, or blowing your nose.

Getting your zzzz’s isn’t just to make sure you don’t fall asleep during class or that big meeting, it’s key for good health and immunity. Create the perfect sleep space by providing a cool, dark, quiet room that’s technology-free.

Ditching the sugar gives our immune systems the chance to fight off bacteria and viruses. Indulging in processed foods and any one of the over 50 forms of sugar available negatively impacts our health. Load up on whole foods, fruits, and veggies instead!  


Round out your family’s wellness routine with a few key herbs, vitamins, and minerals that help promote a healthy immune system and keep your body in battle-ready form!

Astragalus is a powerful adaptogen that helps to protect and support the immune system, including infection prevention (and it’s a great stress reliever too!). A word of caution: don’t use it if an active infection is occurring.

Echinacea possesses antimicrobial properties that can support the immune system. It’s especially good at targeting upper and lower respiratory conditions like the common cold.

Elderberry is an antiviral that enhances the immune system, making it great for fighting colds and other acute viral infections. This tasty botanical is popular with kids and can be given as a syrup, a tincture, or in some DIY elderberry gummies!

Probiotics can help ensure that we have the right bugs in our gut, and since 75 percent of our immune system is found in our microbiome, this is especially important. Foods that naturally contain probiotics like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are all great daily add-ins to your family’s diet. If a supplement is needed, talk to your naturopathic doctor to find which strain is right for you or your child.

Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that helps your white blood cells fight off bacteria and viruses. If you become deficient, it may make you more vulnerable to colds and flus. Foods like citrus, peppers, and broccoli are all rich in C.

Vitamin D helps your immune system function at its best. Make sure to add egg yolks, fatty fish, fish liver oils, and/or a quality supplement to make sure your family is getting enough!

Zinc is naturally found in the body and is involved in immune cell production and function. A powerful anti-inflammatory, zinc can also be found in seafood, animal products, legumes, leafy greens, and root vegetables.   

Before adding herbs or supplements to your wellness kit, speak with your naturopathic doctor to determine if they’re right for you.

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