This article is written for Evolving Wellness by guest author Dr. Isaac Eliaz of

Cold and flu prevention is important all year long, but especially crucial during these cold fall and winter months. It can be easy to consider the occasional cold or flu, an inevitable fact of the season, but though this threat resurfaces year after year, you do not have to become powerless against it. There are various steps you can take to build up your defenses – both naturally and effectively.

Before you begin treating your symptoms, it is important to understand exactly what is attacking your system. Colds are the most prevalent infectious disease in the United States and are accompanied by chills, sensitivity to cold and wind, clear watery discharge, lack of perspiration, and aches that are better in the presence of heat.

The most common symptoms of a cold are nasal stuffiness, sneezing, runny nose, and sometimes fever. Depending on which virus is the offender, the virus might also produce a headache, cough, postnasal drip, burning eyes, muscle aches, or a decreased appetite — but in a cold, the most prominent symptoms are usually nasal related.

What to Expect From a Cold Versus a Flu

When someone has a cold, their nasal secretions are packed with infectious viruses, so sneezing, nose-blowing, and nose-wiping may cause the virus to spread. For this reason, it is best to keep your distance, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth.

If you are suffering from more intense symptoms, however, you may have the flu. The flu is a contagious respiratory infection that is caused by a variety of influenza viruses. The flu season typically lasts from November to March and can cause mild to severe illness. While most people who get the flu recover within a week, elderly people, newborn babies and people with certain chronic illnesses may suffer longer or can even be at risk for death. The symptoms typically start quickly and may include body aches, chills, dry cough, fever, headache, sore throat, and a stuffy nose.

Natural Support For Your Immune System

My leading recommendation here is to supplement with medicinal mushrooms, which are well-documented for their ability to enhance immune function and help combat infection, especially on a long-term basis. Medicinal mushrooms significantly benefit the immune system when under increased risk of attack, which happens with an aggressive flu pandemic.

Mushrooms naturally contain Beta-glucans, which are simple polysaccharides that enhance immune function by boosting macrophage activity – your first line of defense. Beta-glucans can be cultivated in yeast cells and extracted and added to mushroom products for a booster effect. These herb-grown mushroom formulas can be combined with additional products for long-term benefits, such as an overall multi-nutrient and immune enhancer that contains vitamin C and zinc, both of which are important allies of your immune system

In addition to avoidance and extra supplementation, what you do every day is crucial to a strong immune system in the long-term. Perform simple and familiar activities such as drinking plenty of water, taking a brisk walk outdoors, doing yoga, going for a jog, and doing what brings you joy – as happiness is indeed one of the great immune enhancers!

About the Author

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator, and clinical practitioner. He has been a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s. Dr. Eliaz is a frequent guest lecturer on integrative medical approaches to health, immune enhancement, and cancer prevention and treatment.