by Dr. Carmen Luterbach

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 How can we best protect our families during the cold and flu season? As a busy mother of two, I know that keeping my family healthy is a top priority!  What are the lessons I have learned since having little ones in the home? How does a naturopathic doctor-mom keep her family strong?  I will be exploring a few treatment options below that I use seasonally with my family.

         The ideal time of year to begin your immune prevention plan is early October.  The foundational immune support program would include daily vitamin D, vitamin C and probiotics for gut mediated immune protection. Please remember to wash your hands frequently – after all public outings too! Ensure your body is hydrated to flush out infections before they take hold. Aim for approximately half your body weight in fluid ounces per day (e.g. 140 lb patient should drink 70 fluid oz.), with an additional 8 oz cup with every 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.          

         Medicinal mushrooms are incredibly effective at increasing our body’s resilience to stress and protecting against infection. At home, we like to have our slow cooker always going filled with water and pieces of Chaga mushroom and chai spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.  We like to sweeten our Chaga Chai with local honey which has anti-microbial benefits while soothing and coating a sore throat. 

         Immune herbal formulas containing Astragalus are considered immune tonics and will increase our immune defenses by elevating our white blood cells. Astragalus is immune protective and is used throughout the entire Fall-Winter season. Astragalus is a child-friendly herb when used in a glycerite, slightly sweetened, form.

         To increase the innate defenses of your body, ensure you eat 4-5 cups of rainbow coloured vegetables daily, organic where possible. Avoid fruit juices and refined sweeteners during the cold flu season.  Determine your food intolerences and find healthful alternatives. Consuming intolerant foods distracts your immune system, increases inflammation and amps up mucus production which traps viruses and increases incidence of the cold/flu. For example, children intolerant to dairy products, tend to have more frequent ear infections and asthma exacerbations if they consume dairy regularly and tend to require more frequent use of antibiotics. 

         In the office, we offer immune prevention protocols tailored to your individual needs and lifestyle. Twice yearly, I recommend the entire family receive immune stimulating injections (oral drops are available for children). I suggest patients have their vitamin D tested in the Fall in preparation for the winter months, the vitamin D dosage is often temporarily increased. Further, in the office we have a nebulizer to administer specific nutrients like glutathione directly into the lung.  Glutathione is used to treat chronic cough, acute bronchitis, COPD and allergic cough by reducing inflammation in the lungs and thinning mucus to allow air passage through smaller airways. 

Recap: Points to Ponder for Bolstering Immunity

  • Wash hands regularly
  • Drink 1/2 body weight in water
  • Avoid sweeteners and fruit juice
  • Drink Chaga Chai daily
  • Immune Boosting combination formula including astragalus
  • Four to five servings of rainbow coloured organic veggies
  • Avoid allergic foods
  • Immune Stimulating Injections for the whole family
  • For chronic coughs nebulizer treatment with glutathione

         Dr. Luterbach is a mother of two lovely girls and clinically has a special focus on women’s health, pediatrics, hormone balancing and hypothyroidism. Questions? Email: