[please note that this blog post was originally published in January 2018]

It probably goes without saying, but this winter (2017 – 2018) has been quite the winter for illness so far! Between strep throat, the tummy bug, and the cold & flu viruses, it seems that everyone around me has been sick.

In the last several years, my exposure to illness has increased exponentially with three school aged children at home and my work in a busy doctor’s office. However, with all my exposure to germs, I rarely get sick anymore. Yeah, of course the occasional virus takes me down, but I can honestly go a year (or often more) without catching one as well.

Last month my immunity was put to the ultimate test when not one….not two….but three members of our household had the flu….and the fourth had a “flu-like” illness!

Both my step kids ended 2017 with a positive test for Influenza A. Less than a week later, we rang in the New Year with Roy’s “flu-like” illness. He tested negative to Influenza A & B (twice!), and as a seasoned Pediatrician he would have sworn that he had the flu. (In our house we affectionately refer to those viruses as the “Hot Booka-Kookie”, a name that our youngest daughter made up when she was 4-yrs old and we both had a “flu-like” illness that tested negative to that year’s flu strains.) Then, after two weeks at home, the kids finally went back to school and within two days our youngest was back home with the flu—and she tested positive for Influenza B!

I have never gotten the flu shot in my life and this was the first time I questioned my decision! (Although as many people already know, this year’s vaccine does not seem to be very effective—at least against Influenza A.) Each time I kept telling myself that if I don’t get sick, I would be receiving my own natural “immunization” to each different virus, as I was clearly exposed to everyone’s illness with all the dirty dishes, laundry, bedding….and pretty-much all the air and surfaces in our house!

A few times I felt as though I was coming down with something, but I kept to my protocol and I never got sick! Many of our friends and clients have asked me what I did and so I decided to share my simple protocol with you.

I am a very small and sensitive person and I can’t take a lot of supplements without my digestive system revolting. Additionally, with Autoimmune Disease I am also conscious about how much I stimulate my immune system. So over the years I have found a gentle and effective protocol that works well for me. I have tested it out with clients and friends with amazing success as well.  But the truth is, at times (such as these!) I can’t believe how effective it actually is!

Here’s what I did to prevent the Flu:

Before I dive into the specifics, I am assuming the “basics” are already in place. To me, the basics mean that I always eat an unprocessed whole foods diet with none or minimal sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods. I adequately hydrate with clean water, do the best I can with my sleep,  and listen to my body when it sends me messages (such as to slow down). We also take common-sense precautions in our home such as not sharing foods or drinks with our kids and doing regular hand washing. Lastly, I already take the supplements that Roy & I refer to as The Foundationals, such as Probiotics, Fish Oil, and Vitamin D3.

In addition to the above, here are the supplements that I took:

Elderberry. I absolutely love Elderberry! It is one of my favorite natural anti-virals. The anthocyanidins in Elderberry support immunity and have been shown to decrease symptoms of the flu. Even my most sensitive of clients  seem to do well with Elderberry.  I took 1 Tbsp of Elderberry Syrup, 3x daily. If you use encapsulated Elderberry, you could take 1 capsule, 3x daily.

Olive leaf. Olive Leaf Extract contains significant quantities of phenolic compounds, mainly oleuropein, which has been shown to have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties. Like Elderberry, I find Olive leaf to be gentle yet effective and very well tolerated.  I took 1 capsule, 2-3 x /daily.

Oil of Oregano. I find Oil of Oregano to be significantly stronger than the above two herbs and I take it short-term when I need additional immune support. It has broad spectrum anti-microbial action and a very hot and spicy flavor. I took 3-5 drops in 6 oz of water, twice daily.

Additional Vitamin D3. Normally I take 2000 i.u. of Vitamin D daily, but if I am trying to avoid catching something that I have been exposed to, I may take 5,000-10,000 i.u. a day, for just a few days.

Oscillococcinum. This homeopathic remedy has been studied to decrease the symptoms of the cold and flu. The few times that I felt a bit of scratchiness in my throat and muscle achiness, I took 3-4 vials of oscillococcinum daily for those days.

These are the additional things that I did:

Thieves oil. If you’ve never read the tale of how the four thieves avoided the Bubonic Plague, while robbing the houses of people who died from the illness, you can read it here and here. Thieves oil has been a powerful force in my arsenal for almost twenty years. I drop a few drops in an ounce of water and gargle with it multiple times a day. I also dab thieves oil on the glands/lymph nodes in my neck, and rub it on the soles of my feet.

Air Purifier. This year we purchased an Air Doctor air purifier for our home and office and I have had ours running daily and nightly to help with the airborne germs that are simply unavoidable when your family members are coughing and sneezing.

That’s it! Simple and effective, just as I said 🙂 . I truly hope that this post helps you and your family stay healthy this year. Please drop me a line and let me know. I would love to hear what works for you!


If you are interested in the specific products I took, you can click on each of them above and add them to your cart. Additionally, I have added a “Deb’s Flu Prevention” tab to our Fullscript Online Store. Products vary in both quality and strength, so I went ahead and created an easy way for you to find my favorites.

If you haven’t shopped through our online store yet, here’s how you do it:

Once you register, you can search the store by clicking the link “product catalog” on the top. Then the “shop by” tab on the top left will say “all dispensary categories” and if you click on that tab you can choose a specific category from the drop-down menu (such as Deb’s Flu Prevention).

We know that you have a lot of options for purchasing supplements, and we greatly appreciate your support of our online store! Your support helps us to continue to share helpful information and resources with our community. 🙂

Wherever you purchase from, be sure to purchase safely. Please read our blog post about the dangers of buying fake supplements and how you can make safe purchases.

About Debbie Steinbock, HHC

After years of being told that she had an "incurable" chronic health condition, Debbie turned to her diet to help her understand her disease, restore her body, and regain control of her health. Her personal journey has given her the knowledge and compassion necessary to help her clients take an active role in their own healing. Since starting her practice in 2000, Debbie has successfully helped hundreds of people across the country to improve their diet, enhance their current state of health, and eliminate a variety of health conditions.

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