Temperatures are falling around here and we’re spending more time indoors with groups of people. While our shopping expeditions, family gatherings, office parties, dinners at restaurants, and even visiting someone in the hospital can be occasions for joy, they are also our best opportunities to “pick up a bug”. Colds and the flu are more common during this time of the year, but they don’t have to knock us down – and we don’t have to run out for a flu vaccine, regardless of what we’re hearing from the media. Healthy people can remain healthy by taking just a few precautions.

While we can be infected with a bug from sneezes and coughs – the air – our general immunity is strongest when our gut is healthy. The best way to insure a healthy gut and a powerful immune system is to use a probiotic at least daily. Twice a day is better when we’re being exposed to illnesses.

Vitamin D3 is a potent anti-inflammatory that works with our immune system to ward off attacks. While exposure to sunshine is the preferred source of Vitamin D3, judicious use of a tanning bed can duplicate the benefits of regular exposure to sunlight. Tanning is safe and effective if you don’t overdo it – short sessions every 10 days to 2 weeks is enough.

Vitamin D3 may also be taken by mouth, in a capsule. Everyone would benefit from a daily supplement of 5,000 units of Vitamin D3. When exposed to potential infection (parties, etc.) double the dose to 10,000 units – even taking it twice daily when you know someone at the event was sneezing and hacking near the punch bowl.

Can a person overdose on Vitamin D3? Of course, but it isn’t easy. I located one case. A 51-year-old woman had Vitamin D levels over ten times normal. She had taken 50,000 units of per day for three months, along with calcium supplements. She went to the doctor complaining of weight loss, vomiting and confusion. The woman had a pre-existing kidney problem, which compounded the problems associated with her excess use of Vitamin D3 and calcium. Using Vitamin D3 supplements in any dose for a few days at a time poses no risk of toxicity.

What can you do if you know you’ve picked up something, have a tickle in the throat, ears itch, or eyes are watery? Bring on the bigger guns – 50,000 units of Vitamin D3 for a few days – and add a non-prescription anti-viral product. One of the better ones is called Viracid. It contains vitamins A, C, B12, B5, zinc, and a powerful blend of herbal extracts. Take two capsules twice daily (or more) for a few days to ward off the viral attack. Remaining healthy naturally will help you fend off the dreaded flu – and there’ll be no need for drugs this year (antihistamines, decongestants, cough syrups, or pain relievers).

Viracid can strengthen immunity against cold sores too. At the first tingling of an impending cold sore attack, take a two Viracid and a gram of L-Lysine twice daily until the danger passes. Again, bolstering your personal immune system will remove the need for drugs.

Good hygiene habits keep us healthy and probably do more for our health than the annual flu shots. Wash hands regularly and keep them away from the face. Use disposable paper towels or an air dryer – never grab a reusable towel, especially one that other people use. Dab your secretions with tissues instead of a cloth handkerchief – and dispose of them properly.

And remember, laugh as much as possible.