How to Fight Viruses by Michael Edson, MS, LAc and Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

What are the best ways to avoid catching a virus? The Centers for Disease Control tell us to wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. Wash for 20 seconds with soap and warm, running water. Avoid touching your face and eyes with dirty hands. If your doctor recommends a flu shot, listen to their advice, particularly relevant for elders and people with immunity concerns.

Eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.

Various nutrients in food help your immune system fight off pathogens. Limit junk foods and fatty foods, avoid all sugar and reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates which lowers the immune system’s ability to fight pathogens.

Practice stress management techniques. Under stress, the immune system is weakened. Get regular exercise. Research has connected exercise with an improved ability to fight off pathogens.

Certain nutrients support the immune system: key are vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and folate/folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc. Except for vitamin D (most bioavailable in D3 form), these nutrients are readily available through your food.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the immune system make T-cells and B-cells, and helps kill microbes. A study found that having high levels of Vitamin C before getting exposed to a flu virus made mice produce extra interferons.1 Interferons are proteins the immune system makes to fight off viruses.

Whether D prevents flu and influenza is controversial, but researchers agree that it is a key regulator of immune defense against infection by activating genes and pathways that support immunity.2 Vitamin D is often found in fortified foods such as orange juice but you should avoid those that also contain sugar.  Good sources of D are egg yolks, salmon, sardines, and other fish, and swiss cheese.

Vitamin E is also considered helpful in support the immune system. Dozens of animal studied report that it offers protection against infections caused by viruses and bacteria.  A Finnish study reported that the incidence of pneumonia in elderly men who had been taking 50mg/daily vitamin reduced the incidence of pneumonia.3 Great sources of vitamin E are nuts like almonds, seeds like sunflower seed, as greens like spinach and broccoli.

Like C and E, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system.  Vitamin A deficiencies have a marked negative effect on immune protection against viral infections because the first line of defense against viruses where mucous (e.g. the nose), IgA, is inhibited if vitamin A is insufficient.4 Vitamin A enhances the effect of vaccination for viruses like H1N1.5 The colorful foods, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, are excellent sources of vitamin A.

Folate/folic acid deficiencies can contribute to alterations in the immune system functionality, which in turn can cause decreased resistance to infection.6 Legumes – beans and peas – are good sources of folate, as well as those all-important leafy greens.

Iron, selenium, and zinc, in balance also play important roles in supporting the immune system.  When your diet contains a wide variety of nutrients through vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seed, dairy, and for non-vegetarians, seafood and meat, you’ll get sufficient amounts of these minerals.


Certain supplements may help boost your immune system, and help balance immune functions. Echinacea Root, Astragalaus, Reishi Mushroom (medicinal), Milk Thistle, Thymus Extract, Cats Claw, andographics, elderberry, Vitamin A, vitamin D3, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), vitamin C, selenium, and l-lysine.

If you start to feel sick, seek medical attention. If you suspect you have been infected by covid-19, call your doctor or county hotline before going to the emergency room.  Self-isolate, hydrate, and rest.

Why Washing Hands Helps:

  • Viruses like covid-19 are:
  • a bundle of RNA,
  • surrounded by protein,
  • glued together by ‘grease’,
  • soap dissolves the grease,
  • breaking up the protein protection,
  • and destroys the virus.

Home Comfort:

Also, you can try this home recipe for comfort.

  • 2 red onions
  • 2 red apples
  • 4 limes
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 6-8 quarts of water

Cut the red onions, apples and limes in halves. Squeeze out some of the juice of the limes into the mixture. Drop the limes into the mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour. Keep warm and ladle out the juice to drink. After the first day, refrigerate the remainder and drink it warm for the course of the illness.

Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist is author of several books, including Natural Eye Care – Your Guide to Healthy Vision.  Since 1980 Dr. Marc Grossman has helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is best described as a Holistic Eye Doctor, dedicated to helping people with such conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches to tackle difficult eye problems. Dr. Grossman founded the Rye Learning Center in 1980, a multidisciplinary center for learning problems, in 1996 co-founded Integral Health Associates in New Paltz, New York, and in 1999 co-founded Natural Eye Care, Inc. For more information go to or call 845-255-8222.


Michael Edson is the co-founder and President of Natural Eye Care, Inc. He is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and co-author of Natural Eye Care: A Comprehensive Manual for Practitioners of Oriental Medicine and Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing, 2019. His latest book is Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing & Managing Parkinson’s. His upcoming book, Natural Brain Support: Ways to Help Prevent and Treat Dementia and Alzheimer’s Naturally, will published in the late 1st quarter of 2020

For more information on “Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Managing Parkinson’s”, go to where you can see the Table of Contents, an introduction and to order his latest book on Parkinson’s.

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Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

The skin and the eyes are the two parts of the body that get direct contact with the sun. The sun’s rays can burn the outer layers of the eyes, just as the rays can burn the skin. Sunglasses help your eyes filter light and they protect the eyes from ultraviolet light that may contribute to conditions such as-cataracts and macular degeneration.

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Acupressure Exercises for Better Eye Health by Marc Grossman OD, LAc

Acupuncture/acupressure is an ancient system of healing developed over thousands of years as part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan and other Eastern countries. The practice of acupuncture is thought to have begun with the discovery that the stimulation of specific areas on the skin affects the functioning of certain organs of the body, and that there exists currents of energy that flow in distinct patterns throughout the body called meridians. The belief and experience has been that when these currents of energy are flowing smoothly, there is health, when any of these currents are blocked there is pain and disease.

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A New Look at Eye Exams by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

Getting a thorough eye exam has always been about more than reading letters off an eye chart. That’s even more true today. One reason: We’re harder on our eyes than ever before. Many of us spend hours each day staring and squinting at screens, developing digital eyestrain and exposing our eyes to potentially damaging blue light. But the typical tests offered during a standard eye exam, even one during which your pupils are dilated, may not go far enough to find problems as early as possible.

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Surviving & Thriving in a Technological World by Marc Grossman OD, LAc

Technology impacts and shapes our lives in countless ways. Our technologies surely bestow benefits, but our relationship to technology is often fraught with imbalance. In particular, our vision suffers from the hours we gaze at two dimensional screens. The good news is that, as part of the brain, our eyes share in our brain’s innate adaptability. The not so great news is that modern demands on vision, especially our constant focus on close-up screens, is causing our eyes to make unhealthy adaptations. But there’s more good news—you can do something about that! Here’s how…

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Top Tips for Helping Dry Eyes by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

The innermost layer of the surface of the eye is an aqueous mucous layer that forms the bulk of the tears, and contains electrolytes, a variety of proteins, and water. This layer is vital to a stable ocular surface, since it allows the tear film to actually adhere to the eye. Workers spending the most time on the computer have the lowest concentrations of an essential component of the mucous layer of the tear film, mucin 5AC, which contributes to their dry eye syndrome.

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Top Tips for Avoiding Myopia (Nearsightedness) by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

Nearsightedness affects around 1.6 billion people worldwide. A study predicts that 49.8% of the world’s population will be affected by myopia by 2050 – that’s a whopping 5 billion people! So below are my top tips to slow down this visual epidemic…

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Cataracts: an Integrative Medical Approach, Part Two by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

There is a strong correlation between the risk of cataract onset and the patient’s diet. Subjects who ate the most meat had the highest rate of cataracts, and those who ate fish but not meat had a lower rate. Vegetarians had a lower rate and vegans had the lowest rate of cataract incidence.

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Cataracts: an Integrative Medical Approach, Part One by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

The holistic and Eastern Medicine approach seeks to look at each person as a unique individual so treatment strategies can often vary from person to person even with the same diagnosis. By combining the medical approaches of the East and West along with other alternative health modalities, we may be able to achieve better health with less cost and greater success in helping patients preserve vision.

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Glaucoma: An Integrative Medical Approach by Dr. Marc Grossman, OD, LAc

Glaucoma (chronic open angle) is the most common form of glaucoma, and is an insidious disease that can be difficult to detect until a significant amount of vision is lost. The reason it is so dangerous is that most people with glaucoma have no symptoms. Many feel no pain, and most have 20/20 visual acuity, although possibly only straight-ahead vision. But left untreated, glaucoma can slowly steal your peripheral vision until you think you’re peering through a tunnel (at best) or until you go blind (at worst).

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