How You Can Prevent the Flu and Common Cold, Say 3 Doctors

prevent the flu and common cold

Wouldn’t it be great if you could prevent the flu and common cold from ruining a week or more of your life every year?  It’s certainly possible. I do it. Read on and watch three doctors tell you how it’s done.

 prevent the flu and common cold

IF YOU wander around the Web for health information or read this blog regularly, you’ve bumped into Drs. Joseph Mercola and Josh Axe, but perhaps Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt is new to you. If that’s so, it’s mighty fine day, because this man is brilliant. I’ll tell you why after I tell you a bit about how you can prevent the flu and common cold for the rest of your days.

You’re going to learn how to prevent the flu and common cold by strengthening your immune system, as well as several other strategies. You’ll also discover what you can do if, despite your best efforts, you get knocked to the floor by a cold or flu.

Doctors and pharmacies encourage the flu vaccine, and of course that’s an option for you, but it isn’t necessary for many of us. I’ve never gotten a flu vaccine and I don’t get the flu or colds, mainly due to the interventions I’m going to share with you, which largely come from the advice of Drs. Mercola, Axe and Kinghart.

Before we dig in, know that the cold and flu are often described as two different things, but both are viral infections.

Wikipedia tells us that the Common Cold, also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nose. The throat, sinuses, and larynx may also be affected. Signs and symptoms may begin less than two days following exposure.

Wikipedia also informs us that Influenza, commonly known as “the flu“, is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe. The most common symptoms include: a high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and feeling tired. These symptoms typically begin two days after exposure to the virus and most last less than a week. The cough, however, may last for more than two weeks.

That said, other than the vaccine option, both colds and the flu might be similarly prevented and treated. Read on and safe yourself some grief this “flu season”.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What you should know about the cold and flu;
  • Your chances of getting the cold or flu;
  • Dr. Mercola’s advice on building up your immune system (watch);
  • Dr. Axe’s 5 top remedies for the common cold and flu (watch);
  • Dr. Klinghardt’s innovative approach to preventing and treating the flu; and
  • What I just did to stop the cold/flu dead in its tracks, sorta speak.

Let’s dig in…


What You Should Know About The Cold and Flu

The U.S. Government’s Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (“CDC”) provides a rundown on its site about the tell tale signs of a cold and how to protect yourself and others from getting it, which I’ll summarize.

Sore throat and runny nose are usually the first signs of a cold, followed by coughing and sneezing. Most people recover in about 7-10 days. You can help reduce your risk of getting a cold: wash your hands often and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more.

Most people get colds in the winter and spring, but it is possible to get a cold any time of the year. Symptoms usually include:

  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • headaches
  • body aches

Most people recover within about 7-10 days. However, people with weakened immune systems, asthma, or respiratory conditions may develop serious illness, such as pneumonia.

Interestingly, although both the common cold and flu … there are no vaccines for a cold as there are for the flu.

Unsurprisingly, the CDC also has a lot of information about Influenza (flu).

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* Note: not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Flu Complications

Most people who get influenza will recover in several days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications as a result of the flu.

A wide range of complications can be caused by influenza virus infection of the upper respiratory tract (nasal passages, throat) and lower respiratory tract (lungs).

While anyone can get sick with flu and become severely ill, some people are more likely to experience severe flu illness. Young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are among those groups of people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death. For example, people with chronic lung disease are at higher risk of developing severe pneumonia.

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection alone or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria.

Other possible serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues, and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure).

Flu virus infection of the respiratory tract can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection. Flu also can make chronic medical problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu.

Obviously, you should do whatever you can do avoid getting the flue, or the common cold for that matter, which we’ll get to in a moment.

What’s Your Odds of Getting the Flu?

WebMD says this about your odds of getting the flu and the its impact:

  • 5% to 20% — Percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year.
  • 200,000 — Average number of Americans hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
  • 3,000 to 49,000 — Number of people who die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.
  • $10 billion+ — Average costs of hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits related to the flu.
  • 1 to 4 days — Typical time it takes for symptoms to show up once you’ve caught the virus. Adults can be contagious from the day before symptoms begin through 5 to 10 days after the illness starts.

OK, enough background on the common cold and flu. We’ve experienced them before and don’t want to again, so let’s discover how to prevent getting either and what to do if we do.

As mentioned, we’ll let three doctors weigh in on this.  You’ll note that there’s some redundancies, such as taking vitamin C and zinc.  I purposely did not edit out so that you could see where these doctors’ opinions overlapped.

Drs. Mercola and Axe have videos on this cold/flu topic, so I include them.


Dr. Mercola’s Anti-cold/Flu Prescription

Reduce Sugar to make your gut enable an effective immune response

Reduce the sugar in your diet, particularly fructose!

Sugar can wreak havoc in your immune system. People in the U.S. are consuming 75 grams of fructose a day, about five times more than 100 years ago. Fructose at this level can devastate your health and your immune response.

About 80% of our immune response is enabled by our gut, and whether or not the response is robust or weak is dependent on the relative populations of beneficial to harmful microbes residing in our gut.

(Read my articles about your microbiome.)

Sugar, in effect, fertilizes the dangerous pathogenic bacteria yeast fungi and viruses that can assault and weaken your respiratory system, causing infection and the resulting sickness.

On the other hand, fertilizing the beneficial bacteria by consuming prebiotics and probiotics will make your immune system robust enough to fight infection. To make this happen, eat fresh vegetables, fibrous foods such as avocados, artichokes, peas, acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils and nuts. You may also supplement with prebiotic powders, such as inulin, and probiotics.

Boost Vitamin D

One of the reasons why we have such an increase in upper respiratory infections in the fall and winter is because the sun exposure really is minimized, both amount of sunlight hours and reduction of ultraviolet radiation given lower angle, both of which reduce body’s vitamin D production via sunlight, says Dr. Mercola.

Thus, even if you’re outside a lot in the Fall and Winter, you may need to supplement with vitamin D.

Get sufficient Sleep

Seven to eight hours will do the trick. Less than six impairs the immune system.

Tried and true, Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Try an organic, natural type like acerola, given that is contains micronutrients that can facilitate the improvement of on your immune response.

Gradually increase your dosage to a few grams per hour, or until your stool becomes loose, a side effect of consuming too much vitamin C.

Ingest plenty of Antimicrobials

Oregano oil, bee resin and olive leaf extract are potent antimicrobial agents that can substantially aid the immune response.

Use a bioavailable form of Zinc

According to Global Healing Center, zinc is not easily absorbed in the body unless first attached to another substance. For this reason, many zinc manufacturers have “chelated” zinc to organic and amino acids. Supplemental zinc is also available in inorganic form, and non-chelated, usually called zinc sulfate or zinc oxide.

Global Healing says zinc orotate is the best type to take.

Hydrogen peroxide in the ear?

The ear’s Eustachian tubes, connect the back of your throat and nose to your middle ear, and all the nasty stuff that can get lodged there when you have a cold or flu can be cleansed with hydrogen peroxide lurking in your medicine cabinet.

Here’s what to do:

  • Lie on your side, head on a pillow that’s covered with a towel.
  • Pour a capful (not cup) of the hydrogen peroxide in your ear.
  • Rub the outside of your ear to encourage the peroxide to go deep into the ear.
  • After a few minutes, do the same thing on the other side (yes, some peroxide will trickle onto the towel).
  • It’s useful if some of the peroxide enters the sinus cavity, which is accessible via the inner ear.

Note: I’ve used this hydrogen peroxide in the ear technique to expunge earwax. I think a more effective cold/flu remedy is to use the Neti Pot.

Click here to see a four year-old use a neti pot


Get a dose of Mushroom power

There are more than 300 different species of mushrooms that are beneficial to human health. Studies continue to reveal evidence confirming that the minerals, polysaccharides, amino acids and the fiber in mushrooms can improve cellular function and protect against environmental stress.

Mushrooms can support your body’s normal detoxification process, optimize digestion, promote optimal digestion and support healthy gut flora.

A great brand for mushrooms is Host Defense, made by world renown mycologist Paul Stamets, who by the way, helped cure his then 80+ year-old mother from breast cancer using his Turkey Tail Mushrooms.

For colds and the flu, consider Host Defense MyCommunity, which contains several mushroom extracts that enhance the immune system:

Host Defense MyCommunity




Dr. Axe Adds Echinacea and Elderberry to the Anti-cold/Flu Prescription

Since his video is only requires five minutes of your attention, I’ll provide a brief summary of what Dr. Axe suggest you take to prevent or help shorten the common cold or flu and then go take a look at what he has to say.

Notice that three of his suggested “remedies” are the same as Dr. Mercola’s.

Here’s Dr. Axe’s top five remedies:

#1 Vitamin C (1,000 mg 3-4x daily)
Vitamin C helps with immune system function and boosts white blood cells.

#2 Echinacea (1,000 mg 2-3x daily)
Can help your body fight off colds, but it is best to take it at the first sign of illness.  Here’s a selection on

#3 Elderberry (10 mL daily)
It is believed that this elderberry can de-activate the flu virus, reducing symptoms and is high in vitamin C and other immune boosting antioxidants.

#4 Oregano Oil (500 mg 2x daily)
Oregano oil has a powerful antiviral and anti-bacterial effects.

#5 Zinc (50-100 mg daily)
Zinc supports immune function and has an antiviral effect.  It works best when taken at the first sign of illness.



Prevent the Flu and Common Cold with Dr. Klinghardt’s Protocols

There’s so much to learn from Dr. Kinghardt that my head spins. His website takes you into a deep dive

Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt

about healing methodologies for chronic diseases, autonomic response testing, various therapies, neurotoxins, heavy metals, Lyme disease, Alzheimer’s and more.

Here’s how Dr. Mercola introduced him before he interviewed Dr. Klinghardt about Lyme disease:

If you have become a fan of Dr. Klinghardt the key thing to know is that things will change. He’s always on the leading edge. Things are always different. I’m always amazed when I come back to him how much more he’s learned. When you think he learned it all, you’ll find out that there is an order of magnitude more to learn…

So, maybe you think you know all you need to about preventing or curing the common cold and/or flu, but as he typically does, Dr. Klinghardt presents another angle with his addition of homeopathic and sauna prescriptions.

On his flu treat protocols website page, which I summarize below, Dr. Kinghardt splits up his cold/flu protocols into “Prevention” and “Treatment”.

How to prevent getting the flu
  • Two capsules Freeze Dried Garlic after each meal during the flu season.
  • Chlorella 30 minutes before eating, 3-4 times per day.
  • Vitamin A from Biotics Research: 5 drops/day (unless you are pregnant) .
  • Echinacea tincture 1-2 tsp/twice daily *
  • Vitamin C  2 grams 3 times/day (He suggest pure ascorbate).
  • Good probiotics.
  • Trifal (Ayurveda herbal cocktail): 2 caps twice daily.
  • Olive leaf — liquid Phyto Caps from Gaia Herbs: 2 caps 2-3 times/day.
  • Gigartina (red algae): 2 caps twice daily.
  • Sauna therapy at least once/week.
  • Avoid stress and contact with large groups of people.
  • Don’t fly (airplanes are certain ways to contract the illness).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water each time you enter your home.
  • Do not wear street shoes inside your home.
How to treat the flu if you get ill
  • Use the homeopathic Oscillococcinum from Boiron with the first sign you may be getting the flu.
  • Take vitamin C every hour until bowel tolerance is reached.
  • Dissolve freeze dried garlic in a glass of water and drink 2 capsules every hour.
  • Homeopathic Eupatorium 12c, 4 pellets 4 times.
  • Vitamin B complex and B12 injections daily.
  • Sauna therapy daily for 1 hour, split up in 15 minute sessions, unless you’re certain you can tolerate more.
  • Raw vegetable and fruit diet.


Joe’s Flu-busting Protocol

Two days ago, I was contemplating what topic to write about for this week’s blog post; at the same time I was feeling lethargic and beginning to get those tell-tale signs of some kind of sickness approaching.

I haven’t been sick for more than a decade, partly because I have built good immune system habits and partly because as soon as I feel something coming, I attack it fast and hard.

Here’s what I consumed (and did):

Click here for detox bath instructions.

Prepare this:

1. Fill up a tub with hot water.

2. If you have a window in the bathroom, crack it a bit.

3. Pour 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of sea salt and 1 heaping tablespoon of ginger powder* into the tub.

4. Fetch a big glass of purified water (over 8 oz if available) and mix in trace minerals if you have them (if not, no worries).

5. Grab your loofah (skin brush sponge-thingie).

Now, do this:

1. Take btwn 250 and 500 milligrams of regular Niacin** and wait for the flush.***

2. Swirl around the water mixture… add more hot water if needed.

3. Get in the tub.

4. Soak a bit and then scrub yourself from head to toe with the loofah (no soap).

5. Rest and repeat the scrubbing three times… stay in the tub for at least 20 minutes.

6. Take a shower and scrub head to toe with soap and the loofah, rinse and shine.

* Be careful with the ginger powder as it can “burn” if too much is used, particularly in sensitive areas of the body. I suggest you start with 1 tablespoon and add when ready. If the amount you use does not produce some heat (other than temperature) in the tub, add more.

** Niacin comes in two forms (that I know about): the stuff that allows the capillaries in your skin to be flushed with blood (which can feel uncomfortable, like a sunburn), or non-flush. You want the flush kind, such as Solgar Niacin. Be careful with the amount, because the flushing can be uncomfortable (although the detox bath alleviates this quite a bit). 250 milligrams may be too much on an empty stomach. I use 500 milligrams, but I’m accustomed to this craziness.

*** Have I said enough about “flushing”? If you don’t like the feeling of being sunburned, be careful with the amount of Niacin you take (see above). Same thing with the ginger powder (see above).


Needless to say, knocked that flu out of the ballpark.


Your Takeaway

For most of us, getting the common cold or flu is an annual event that we despise.

Rather than hate it, so something to prevent it, or at least knock it down swiftly if you get sick.

Do this:

  • Review what the three Doctors suggested you can do to prevent and dispatch the common cold and/or flu, and select those remedies you’re willing to take.
  • Go buy them and take them at the least little sign that you may be getting symptoms.
  • Given that we’re in “flu season”, be vigilant about getting enough sleep, destressing and washing your hands regularly.

Now, go forth and have a healthy Fall and Winter.


Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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