The Yearly Onslaught: Managing Colds & Flu

by Dr. Greg Eckel – Nature Cures Clinic director

Uh oh, it’s that time of year again… sniffles, coughs, fevers oh my…

Every year we get into the same discussions about whether one should get the flu shot, how to handle a fever, how to get through a cold. Well look no further, here is a resource for you. I’ll share what I do for my family and loved ones (that includes you!).

Shot or no shot? Join the discussion at

First of all, you have heard the virtues about vitamin D. In this case it helps activate natural killer cells. Natural killer cells are a major part of your innate immunity (you’ll have to ask me about one of my favorite super heroes….), which will help you overcome countless viruses. If you don’t know your blood level of Vitamin D, I highly encourage you to get it done at your next blood draw. You can then individualize your dose of Vitamin D. Ideally you want your blood level to between 50-80 ng/ml.

The next piece is always a shocker as it sounds so wrong…the wet sock treatment. In these PC times, it’s been renamed “warming sock treatment.” (By me!) You need a pair of cotton socks and a pair of wool socks. You take a hot foot bath before bed, put the cotton socks under the faucet water as cold as it’ll go, ring them out (so they are damp, not dripping), and put these on your very warm feet. Pull the wool socks over top of that and go directly to bed, do not pass go. This is home hydrotherapy.

At first signs of any upper respiratory illness (sore throat, nasal congestions, sneezes), do this technique for a few evenings to stimulate your immune response. It increases your blood flow at night, your feet will be dry in the morning, and your head will be more clear.

For those with perennial runny nose and congestion, I feel for you. Look no further than EHB (Echinacea, Hydrastis, and Berberine). I use EHB at the first signs of any type of ‘cold.’ This is a very drying formula, has a lot of immune system punch, including garlic and vitamin A among other ingredients. This is also my first go to when I’ve seen a lot of sneezing, coughing patients during the day. We sell it in the Nature Cures e-store — check it out there if you don’t have time to come in to the clinic.

Another component of your immune system function is your gut. Did you knowthat roughly 90% of your immune system surrounds your gut in the GALT (gutassociated lymphoid tissue)? Probiotics are a great addition to your home medicine cabinet. Every doctor has their favorite blend of beneficial bacteria…. of course we have our favorites at the clinic, high ORAC or super natent are two of my favorites.

I’m not impressed with the latest and greatest strands of human microflora. I find most of the time this gets into marketing hype on the most recent research article on so and so particular brand. We do our research so you don’t have to is what I’ll tell you. We see what works clinically and stick with that.

For the kiddos, we have a chewable vitamin C that goes down easy. No complaints coming from them in the morning, even requests for it, when mama or papa forgets. It’s always nice to not have to force anything on them.
Living in the hometown of Linus Pauling, one can’t write an article on immune system function without mentioning vitamin C.

I’m going to leave the discussion about the flu vaccine for those that are interested. If you are interested in that discussion, let’s carry that on our facebook page. Please post a question you have and I’ll be sure to get on there and answer.
Here’s to a healthy and happy new year to you!

-Dr. Eckel




Image Courtesy USACE Europe District