6 Immune Boosting Tips + What to do if you get sick

Cold & Flu season is definitely here and this is about the time everyone begins looking for ways to boost their immune system. But part of why this time of year brings so many viruses has a bit to do with how we care for ourselves.

Sure, we are spending more time indoors, maybe traveling more and seeing more people, but many people are also eating more sugar, sleeping less, drinking more alcohol…you get the idea.

Part of preventing illness is being good to your body. Try these 6 tips this winter to keep your immune system in tip top shape.

6 Immune Boosting Tips

Stay Well Fed.

The person on the plane just sneezed on you? Your co-working has been coughing all week? Yeah, chances are you’ve been exposed and now is the time to be a bit more mindful about your food choices. Alcohol, processed foods, sugar, any foods you have a sensitivity to are best left out. Focus instead on plenty of vegetables and high quality protein.

Rest & Relax.

Opt for a night in and aim for at least 7 (8-9 is better!) hours of sleep per night. Try to make space for you to relax every day. 

Wash Your Hands.

Seems simple, right? That 20 second scrub with warm water and soap can be the difference between a weekend in bed or a weekend with friends. No sink? If you find yourself really stuck, opt for a alcohol based hand sanitizer, rather than an antibacterial one. Why? Well, those antibacterial ones contain chemicals that disrupt your hormones and make crazy mutant super germs and nobody wants that!

Take Your Herbs.

Using some immune supporting herbs at the first sign of illness or before you travel will give you an extra edge on fighting off illness.

Echinacea Tincture:

For Children 2-7 years old: ¼ tsp twice daily

For Children 8-12 years old: ½ tsp twice daily

For Adults: 1 tsp twice daily

View the Echinacea tincture I recommend.

Elderberry Syrup:

For Children 2-7 years old: ¾ tsp twice daily

For Children 8-12 years old: ½ Tbsp twice daily

For Adults: 1-2 Tbsp twice daily (Safe in nursing and pregnant women)

View the Elderberry syrup I recommend. 

Medicinal Mushrooms:

Either in a capsule or tincture form, mushrooms like Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake and Shitake can be beneficial to the immune system.

When I travel, I prefer a product, such Immunotone Plus because it has mushrooms and other beneficial herbs that are easily packed in a suitcase.

For Adults: 3 caps once to twice daily. 


Give yourself a daily 15 minutes to keep your immune system in shape. If you’re feeling sick, take it easy and rest. The exercise will be there when you recover. 

Get Your Vitamin D.

Sunshine is a scarce commodity in the winter, which is why having your blood levels tested and supplementing appropriately is so important. In general Vitamin D3 can be supplemented at 2,000 IU daily for adults and 400 IU daily for children as a maintenance dose.

But what if you get sick? It happens. And truthfully, that isn’t entirely a bad thing. We are supposed to get sick, just not all the time. But getting sick from time to time is a good sign your immune system is doing its job.

For more child specific treatments please download a FREE copy of my eBook here.

What to do if you get sick? 

In addition to the preventative measures above, I’d also recommend you consider the following:

Eat Your Vitamin A!  

Vitamin A is necessary for immune function.  

Food Sources of Vitamin A

  • Eggs Yolk
  • Bone Broth. Click here for recipe.
  • Chicken Fat
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Grass fed butter
  • Sweet Potato
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Spinach
  • Butternut swash
  • Pumpkin

Vitamin D3.

Exposure to the sun is good for vitamin D & the soul, but during acute illness larger doses of vitamin D may be needed, especially if you are deficient.

For Children 2+, consider 800-2,000 IU daily.

For Adults, consider 5,000 IU daily.

Vitamin C.

Ever hear it doesn’t work? Um, that’s usually because people are taking too low of a dose. In one study, they found adults who took 8 grams a day, compared to those who only took 4 grams, had shorter colds. High doses of vitamin C can cause loose stools so it is best to go slow, starting with about 250 mg in children and 2,000 mg in adults and titrating up. If loose stools occur, reduce the number of doses per day and space them further apart in the day.

For Children 2+, consider 250 mg 1-3 times daily.

For Adults, consider 1,000-2,000 mg 1-3 times daily. Here’s the Vitamin C I recommend in my office. 

Zinc picolinate.

Use for the duration of symptoms and discontinue 2 days after symptoms have resolved. Zinc should not be used long term.

For Children 2+, consider 5-10 mg 1-2 times daily.

For Adults, consider 30 mg 1-3 times daily. Here is the zinc I recommend. 

Dragon Fire Cider.

Full of immune boosting herbs with a little kick of heat, fire cider is great for both prevention and when you are fighting a virus. Click here for recipe. 

Warming Socks.

Using this treatment at the first sign of illness can help you get over it quicker. It can help improve symptoms of fever, cough or sinus congestion. Learn how to use warming socks here. 

To see the supplements I recommend for immune support >>> Click Here!

And definitely share these tips with your friends & family! It will help you stay well if those around you are taking steps to ward off illness too.

Don’t forget to grab a FREE copy of my ebook Natural Remedies for 5 Common Childhood Ailments.

Wishing you a season of wonderful health!

Dr. Jolene Brighten


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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a licensed Functional Medicine Naturopathic Doctor, best selling author, speaker, and mother. Dr. Brighten specializes in women’s health, from fertility to postpartum care, adrenal and thyroid support, autoimmune conditions, and digestive disorders. In her patient centered practice, Dr. Brighten thrives on navigating the space between conventional and alternative medicine, all while working with patients to help them achieve optimum balance, health, and happiness.