Thanksgiving isn't only the start of the long winter eating season in the United States, it's also the time when colds and the flu seem to get a jump start. How can you fight them off?
"Probably my favorite would be would be onions, but the next would be raw potato juice." Ella McElwee gives her top remedies for colds and sore throat.
You can eat onions or put them on your chest as a poultice. You just drink two ounces the raw potato juice. McElwee's a doctor of both naturopathy and homeopathy at Health By Choice, in Bedford County.
She offers rows of preventives and remedies, as well as various organic foods at her Health Care Center and Natural Food Store.
If your nose is running she may suggest a homeopathic remedy."The only ingredient in Antronex is reindeer liver, but it is nature's antiuhistamine," she says. "It'll support your liver, your body's own antihistamine producer."
To ward off colds and flu, she suggests echinacea year round. To boost your immunity overall , she advises cutting out flour, sugar, and processed foods---focusing on veggies, fruits, and protein.
She says, "people who have a reasonably decent immune system should be able to do the simple things and it should help."
Those simple things including washing your hands, drinking lots of water (add a little lemon), and physical activity, such as yoga.
Medical professionals on what some consider the other side of the health spectrum would probably agree with at least part of that prescription.
At Blair Medical Associates, Dr Megan Hess says there's evidence echincea helps ward off viruses, but only short-term.
"You need to take it before you get sick so it's kind of a gamble, 'I think I'm going to get sick in the next two weeks or I'm going to take it for those two weeks,' "You might miss your window," she says.
The only other natural remedy Dr. Hess says may help is vitamin D, but that's hard to get naturally right now.
"It's mostly from having exposed skin and in Pennsylvania, it's really hard to be outside with exposed arms and legs to sunshine, 3 times a week in January.
Neither Hess nor McElwee support using antibiotics for colds or flu. Dr. Hess says a flu shot will help protect you from influenza.
McElwee's recommendations include a remedy called Gripp Heel and a supplement called Congaplex as cold and flu fighters.