Surviving the Holidays

Surviving the Holidays (a.k.a. Cold & Flu Season) in Health

by Bera Dordoni, N.D.

Let’s see, planting season is past, harvest season is over—it must be cold-and-flu season! Oh boy!

People with weakened immune systems are always on the front lines for attracting those myriad cold viruses and making them feel at home as they settle into the host’s body. Thank heaven for doctors and antibiotics, right?

Wrong! Colds aren’t caused by bacteria, which are what antibiotics fight. They’re triggered by viruses. Science currently has NO drugs that kill these viruses. None. Nada. Ninguno. Nessuno. Even penicillin has no effect on the myriad cold-and-flu viruses—that’s right, myriad. There is no single cold virus or “one” flu virus. There are scads of them. Oodles. Flocks. Too many to name or even count.

And while they can only replicate inside a living organism, they can live for hours on the items we touch daily – phones, pencils, computer keyboards, light switches, car-door handles, public washroom spigots, shopping cart grips, mugs, rugs, lugs—in short, just about everything, everywhere. Anyone who has been in contact with a virus and touched anything in their world has left that virus living on those objects.

That leaves you with two choices: 1) wash down your path through the world with antiseptic wipes every time you venture out of the house, or 2) build and strengthen your immune system so viruses cannot get a comfortable grip on your body. How do you do that?

Step One: Avoid Antibiotics

Hey! Want to know a good way to turn a cold into pneumonia? Load yourself up with antibiotics. They won’t kill the cold, but they will make you susceptible to all sorts of bacteria, which will respond to antibiotics—just not the one you’ve been taking, because your body is already used to it. Plus, you’ll become a carrier for spreading not only the virus you still have but the new bacterial infection as well, so you can make more people more sick.

Using antibiotics when you’re not fighting a bacterial infection increases your susceptibility to developing (and spreading) an antibiotic-resistant infection. In fact, the steep rise in antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA is directly attributable to the over-prescribing of those drugs along with the excessive use of them in agriculture. Antibiotic-resistant infections now claim more lives each year than AIDS ever caused, and are costing the American healthcare system more than $20 billion per year.

So forget the antibiotics!

Step 2: Adjust Habits

Most people feel pretty healthy most of the time, yet still battle viruses every cold-and-flu season. Their immune systems aren’t seriously damaged, but they’re not robust, either. Why? The answer usually lies in their daily habits. For example, do you:

  1. Eat too much sugar and junk food?
  2. Live with too much stress?
  3. Not get enough sleep?
  4. Focus on your problems (negative thoughts) rather than on gratitude?
  5. Not drink enough water?
  6. Have toxic overload?
  7. All or a combination of the above?

How quickly you bounce back from a cold or the flu is typically defined by lifestyle habits, not by over-the-counter cough and cold remedies or fever reducers. In fact, as long as your temperature stays below 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius) there is no need to lower it. A slight fever may be uncomfortable, but unsuppressed it will help burn out the virus so you can get rid of it more quickly.

The body is an intelligent machine whose primary job is to stay alive, which it does by staying healthy. In other words, the body’s goal is to survive by maintaining good health. When we suppress temporary symptoms with OTC pain-relief medications, including aspirin and Tylenol (acetaminophen), we also suppress our body’s ability to produce its own virus-destroying antibodies. An aspirin a day may be useful in men trying to control angina, but even this supposedly benign drug has been linked to such lung complications as pulmonary edema (fluid buildup in the lungs) when taken in excess.

Reserve aspirin and acetaminophen for those absolutely necessary situations, such as when you have a temperature greater than 105 degrees F (40.5 degrees C) or severe muscle aches.

Step 3: Stock Up

Clients have asked what to have on hand for immune-boosting during cold-and-flu season. My arsenal includes free use of:

  • Coconut oil
  • Raw garlic
  • Loads of cayenne tonic in a raw, apple-cider vinegar base
  • Oscillococcinum®, a very effective homeopathic flu remedy by Boiron available in health-food stores and even some grocery and drug stores (use at first sign of flu)
  • Flu Solution™ by Dolisos
  • Alpha CF™ by Boericke & Tafel
  • Florammune® Echinacea by Flora Laboratories, Inc.
  • Ferrum Phos, a homeopathic that reduces fevers gently and safely and helps the body return to health naturally
  • Echinacea combined with Golden Seal in homeopathic, herbal, or tea form
  • Sambucus (elderberries), a herb that stops the flu-virus replication in many cases
  • Hot herbal teas that make you feel cozy and nurtured and help ease symptoms
  • Slippery elm tea for a sore throat; add licorice root for sweetness
  • Noni juice
  • Fermented foods (filled with probiotics) such as sauerkraut, kimchee, miso, etc. This is not, however, the greatest time for pasteurized yogurt, as it produces mucus despite its probiotic activity
  • Plenty of pure, fresh water. Water is essential for the optimal function of every cell and system in the body, helps with nose stuffiness and dry throat, and loosens secretions. Your urine should be a light, pale yellow; if it’s not, drink more water to flush out the toxins
  • Hourly vitamin C until symptoms subside
  • Extra vitamin D3 for several days
  • Drink chicken soup

Chicken soup? That old wives’ tale?

Yes, chicken soup contains cysteine, a natural amino acid that can thin lung mucus and make it less sticky so it expels more easily.

For best results, make fresh soup or ask a family member or friend to make it for you. Processed canned soups won’t work as well. Use lots of hot and spicy peppers, some ginger, garlic, and onions. The hot spices will trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in the mouth, throat, and lungs, which, again, helps thin respiratory mucus for easier coughing and expelling.

When a Cold Isn’t a Cold

Viruses aren’t the only cause of feeling cruddy. When clients visit me during cold-and-flu season, I look at the big picture of what often causes illness. Gunk. Clogging. Toxic overload. Piling it on without taking getting it out. In other words, constipating the body.

Sometimes if the immune system is overloaded with toxins, the body presents as if it has a cold, but in reality it is just detoxing rapidly all the accumulated mucus buildup and junk. This happens when the immune system is strong enough to release the toxic overload through whatever elimination channels it can use. No virus is taking hold; the body is just cleansing and repairing itself.

Do not suppress this detox with medication. Just rest and pay attention to the lifestyle factors noted above to recover quickly. Altering those daily habits will significantly reduce the chance of ‘catching’ a cold or flu.


If you are not moving your bowels after every meal, you are likely constipated, which negatively impacts the immune system and may mask as a cold or flu. Cleanse or detox this condition rather than add more junk food to relieve the aches and pains. A colon-therapy specialist can assist with this.

A Nasty Coincidence

Sugar is everywhere during the holiday season, which just happens to fall smack in the middle of cold-and-flu season. We can’t get away from the cookies, season-special candies and ice cream flavors, cakes, brownies, spiked punches, etc. of the Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, and New Year’s celebrations.

All those goodies make avoiding sugar—artificial sweeteners included—even harder when you feel yourself coming down with a virus, but sugar and processed foods are particularly damaging to the immune system. Eating them at a time when the immune system requires boosting, not suppressing, only makes us all the more susceptible to ‘catching’ something.

And despite the flurry of extra activities and plethora of parties, cold-and-flu season is also the time to get some extra sleep, do mild (not overly taxing) exercise, and address any stress issues that are keeping you from experiencing a relaxed, happy holiday season. Don’t wait until a virus takes hold; do this the moment you first feel yourself getting any bug, as that’s when immune-enhancing strategies will be most effective.

Step 4: Take Control

Health food stores are wonderful places when your body needs a little extra nurturing. Those of you within 100 miles of the Gallup area will find La Montañita Co-op just the place to find what you need with friendly, helpful, extremely knowledgeable management. Membership buys benefits. If you must drive a great distance, call them first to see if they have what you want at (505) 863-5383; they’re located at 105 E. Coal St. in Gallup. They carry many natural products and books and literature that can help you on the road to health.


One of those titles is I Have a Choice?!, my own primer on building and strengthening the immune system. If you can’t find it in your local health-food store, email me at or visit



Dr. Bera Dordoni, N.D., lovingly referred to as the “Wellness Whisperer,” is author of the highly acclaimed book “I Have a Choice?!”, nutritional counselor, and a naturopathic doctor who has over two decades of experience counseling clients with ailments ranging from allergies to cancer to numerous life-threatening dis-eases. She incorporates the laws of attraction to help her clients accomplish their health goals and now holds workshops, wellness retreats and natural health classes in the Ramah area. To request a consultation or learn more, visit or call 505-783-9001.