Is it just me, or did cold and flu season start early this year? I’ve been hearing of entire preschool classes being taken out by a very contagious bug. Earlier this month, we had our first hospital stay. Within 48 hours, my youngest bebe’s low grade fever and tiny cough developed into difficulty breathing. Most people avoid the emergency room at all costs, I am no different. Because of my negative experiences with doctors, I find it difficult to trust them, but it is time to go to the hospital when a baby is struggling to breathe.
I take precautions to keep my family healthy and happy during cold season. Unfortunately, this one snuck up on us before I was ready. Our experience at the hospital made me even more invested in building up my children’s natural immunity. We do not want to spend any more nights inpatient. When a baby is sick, it is heartbreaking. I do not wish that feeling of helplessness on anyone. Since having children, I often worry that something bad is going to happen to them. I had no idea parenting was going to be so damned terrifying.
This is a list of our tried and true remedies, and some newer immunity boosters we are starting to use. This cold and flu season is going to be a doozie. Hopefully, you will be prepared for when your little ones bring home those nasty germs. You are going to need to be on point to kick some germy a$* and to keep your little ones healthy.
Our Favorite Remedies
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- Apple cider vinegar— This is my go-to for so many things! We use Braggs exclusively, but there are several great brands to choose from. What ever brand you choose, make sure that there is a brownish film at the bottom of the bottle. It looks funky, but that is the good stuff — known as the “mother.” If I start to feel myself getting sick I take a shot (approximately 2 tbs) first thing in the morning and at night before bed. If I do that for two or three days, I don’t get sick. I also make sure to use a lot of ACV in my salad dressings and other foods that me and my children eat often. If my children start to get sick, I take 1 tbs and mix it with 8 oz of water and a bit of a sweetener and encourage them to sip it throughout the day.
- Vitamin C— Vitamin C seems like a given right? Well yes, it is, BUT I have been learning about high dose vitamin C treatments. There are several types of vitamin C, you will need to purchase Sodium Ascorbate for high dosing with vitamin C. While my little one was in the hospital I also started to feel ill: achy, nauseous, headache. I used it for ONE DAY and the symptoms left overnight. I always try things on my own body (or my partner’s) before using it on my children. Unfortunately, I didn’t order this fast enough to have on hand when my bebe was sick. I will have it ready for next time either of them starts coughing.
- Probiotics— There are many studies that suggest our immune functioning begins in our gut. I’ve written another post about rebuilding the gut after taking antibiotics. Taking probiotics is also preventative. They keep your immune system functioning and in top form for fighting those nasty germs.
- Juicing— I have used my juicer to stay healthy and energized for years. Since becoming a mother, I haven’t used it as much due to expense and inconvenience. It am rethinking that as the time and expense paid into juicing will save the time and expense of a hospital visit. My FAVORITE cold and flu-stopping juice is a combination of carrot, pineapple, orange, ginger and garlic… yes fresh garlic cloves. For my juice, I use 1-3 cloves. For my children, I use only 1 or even 1/2 a clove and put it in a sippy cup so they can’t smell the garlic.
- GARLIC— Garlic is an incredible antibiotic and antifungal. I just chop a clove of garlic and swallow the bits like a pill. There are garlic supplements as well, they are a little easier to stomach.
- Elderberry Syrup— We started using elderberry syrup last year. I have a histamine sensitivity that is triggered by the antioxidants in elderberry syrup so I don’t use it. My children take it daily during cold and flu season. We have been using this one specifically formulated for children, I’ve heard that this one is better since it does not contain glucose. Elderberry syrup also helps to soothe allergies as well. You can even make your own
- Astralgus— I recently pulled out the popsicle molds that I bought when my first baby was teething. They were not a fan of popsicles then, but NOW both of my kids are obsessed. They want popsicles first thing in the morning, and all day long. I’ve been using teas and infusions to make them. I’ve used chamomile, lavender, ginger and I plan to use astralgus. The taste is sometimes described as “sharp” but hopefully they’ll enjoy it. Astralgus is a safe herb for children (although I did read that it is contraindicated for people with Lyme disease) and is best used to prevent illness.
- Fruits and Veggies— We eat a lot of fruits and veggies all year round. We especially love leafy greens, garlic, ginger, and onions. If your kids love spicy foods definitely amp up the spice as it will discourage the germs from taking root.
- Fermented foods— This is part of the reason ACV works so well. It is a fermented product. ACV is so useful, it deserves its own category. However, there are lots of other fermented products that will help us keep our families healthy throughout the season. Miso, Sauerkraut, kimchi (spicy and fermented), kombucha, kefir. Many of these can be made at home, bought online or from your local co-op or health foods store.
- Fire Cider— Fire cider is a folk remedy that requires several herbs as well as vinegar. I made a batch two years ago and never touched it. I think this is the year we will bust it out and see how it works. It is easy to make and there are many variations depending on your family’s preferences.
I love learning about new remedies and preventative methods. What are your favorite remedies to keep your family healthy in the winter months?