I have three kids. Two bring home every germ from their elementary school and the other one is regularly exposed to many other little kids in the daycare at my gym. Avoiding flu germs isn’t really an option for us. A couple winters ago I was literally sick off and on like all winter. It was awful.
I’ve learned a few tricks since then and I have not been sick once this year (knock on wood) and only my youngest has gotten a touch of the flu.
The biggest ‘trick’ is Vitamin D. It is gaining popularity and with good reason. Our bodies manufacture it from sunlight. But if you live in the frozen dreary north like me (Minnesota, represent) you get basically zero for months on end. Vit. D is crucial for health in general but if you don’t have enough you will have no immune system. My levels were abysmally low at my last physical so I take 10,000 iu a day. I give my kids vitamin D gummies every morning.
My next trick up my sleeve is probiotics. We take them every day. They even have tasty, chewable ones now that kids love. They keep your digestive system happy and give a major boost to your immune system as well.
We also avoid antibacterial anything. Antibacterial soap leads to super germs…and decreased immunity to them. Yikes, no thanks. Hygiene is good but exposure to germs isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many experts now site our overly sanitary lives as reasons behind the rise in asthma and allergies. Our bodies aren’t being exposed to enough germs so they become hyper-active towards them. A better bet is building up our immune system to be able to handle whatever is thrown at it.
I’m not diving into the controversy that surrounds the flu shot but suffice to say we wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. 🙂
When my kids do still catch some junk I have three other tricks that really help.
For that dry cough that keeps everyone up a night- a spoonful of raw honey is just as helpful as cough syrup. Plus, you won’t have to force them to take it.
Running my essential oil diffusers with certain oils works almost like magic to suppress coughs so kids (and the parents!) can get a good night sleep. Oils I have found to be the most helpful are; lavender, frankincense and cedarwood. They also smell amazing. If you don’t have a diffuser you can put a few drops of lavender (pretty easily obtained at even a regular grocery store) in a humidifier. Shut their door at bedtime so they are breathing in moist air with healing properties all night.
When they wake up with the ‘sick’ look- glazed over eyes, snotty noses, etc. I will put them in a hot bath with Epsom salts (about two cups) and the essential oils I mentioned (five drops each). It also does wonders.
I also will rub lavender and frankincense or myrrh (diluted with oil or lotion) onto their chests and massage their lymph nodes to promote drainage and calm an irritated respiratory system.
If you’re just getting started with essential oils just be cautious and always dilute when applying topically. They are very powerful and effective so kids don’t need much. For a massage you only need one drop of each oil you are using, diluted in at least a tablespoon of lotion or oil. You also don’t have to spend a fortune to get good oils. Aura cacia is widely available, inexpensive and IMO just as good as any other brand.
Also; basic things like eating well, sleeping enough, exercising and managing stress are also biggies.
Here’s to your healthiest flu season yet!