Natural Ways To Prevent and Treat Viral Illnesses and Influenza

Let’s look at natural ways to prevent and treat influenza and viral respiratory infections.


To keep your immune system strong eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, proper rest with some relaxation time every day and adequate sleep (most people need about 8 hours).

Organic, local, fresh food is optimal and try to avoid processed food such as GMO’s, white flour, sugar, and artificial sweeteners/high fructose corn syrup.

Other daily practices such as meditation and prayer are also helpful.

Avoid close contact with persons who have colds or coughs or the flu.   If this is not possible, wash your hands frequently and be sure not to share cups, forks, spoons, tooth brushes etc.


At the first sign of stuffy nose, sore throat, sinus drainage, cough, body aches or fever take:

  • Vitamin C : take 2000 mgs, 4 times a day for adults. children ages 6-12 years 500 to 1000mg 4 times a day. If it causes loose bowels decrease the dose.  Powdered buffered C is your best option.
    • Potent C Guide™ by PERQUE  is what I recommend and is available at the office.  It has 1,500 mgs per level ½ teaspoon. Potent C Guide™ dosages are:
    • for adult: a heaping 1/2 teaspoon, 4 times a day
    • for a child, 6-12 years: a heaping 1/4th of a teaspoon,  4 times a day.
    • and younger child, 3-6 years,  1/16th of a teaspoon,  4 times a day.
  • Many people reach for packets of Alacer’s Emergen-C which has only 500 mg of non-buffered ascorbic acid per packet (4 packets= 2000mg and have 16 grams of sugar which suppresses the immune system.) Not recommended
  • Nasal irrigation  / Neti pot 2 to 3 times a day   Nasal irrigation is important because it washes the virus out of your nose. It also washes away the things that cause your nose to swell up.

Use this recipe:

  • 8 ounces of filtered or bottled water warmed up to near body temperature
  • 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of baking soda (not baking powder which contains aluminum)
  • Mix well. Use ½ of the solution in each nostril


  • Quick Defense by GAIA – available at the office
    • For adults: take 2 capsules, 5 times a day for 2 days.
    • For children ages 6-12: take 1 capsule, 5 times a day for 2 days.
  • High dose of high quality Gaia’s Echinacea Supreme tincture and Gaia’s Black Elderberry Syrup.
  • Androgaphis and ginger are also effective.

Continued Instructions:

Continue the vitamin C and nasal washing until you feel better which is often in 1-3 days instead of 7 to 14 days if you had a full-blown infection. At the same time slow down and get extra rest. It’s important that you start the above protocol as soon as you feel symptoms! Do not wait 2 or 3 days

What about….?

Over the counter homeopathic medicines can also be helpful and are safe for children. The specific homeopathic remedy depends on the particular symptoms a person is having. Usually when there is a large outbreak of influenza there will be one remedy that will be helpful for the vast majority of persons in that area.

For some people prescription medication might be helpful. This is true especially for people with severe asthma and other lung conditions, poorly controlled diabetes, and neurological problems that make it hard to breath or cough.

In my experience, however, the above measures improve symptoms more quickly and shorten the duration of the symptoms of infection by several days more than medications according to scientific studies.  They are also much safer and much less expensive.

Mark L. Hoch, MD

Diplomate American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine Co-Chair Past Presidents Council, Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine Bush Medical Fellow

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Asheville, NC 28801

Mark Hoch, MD