As we enter the winter months and think ahead to cold and flu season, I thought I’d share some things that our family does to prevent sickness as well as some of our favorite remedies for those times we do get sick. For a little context, I have a background in nursing and I lean towards using natural remedies first. These are some of the things we have used and loved to treat sickness in our family.

Simple Ways to Boost Your Immunity During Cold and Flu Season

  • Get Plenty of Sunshine – We try to get outside every single day and be in the sunshine. Even if it’s cold, we will bundle up and go for a quick walk. The vitamin D that our bodies absorb from the sun helps boost immunity, not to mention the benefits of fresh air.
  • Limit Sugar – Did you know that sugar decreases your white blood cell count, thereby decreasing your body’s ability to fight infection? We tend to avoid a lot of refined and processed sugars to start with, but when we feel like we might be getting sick, we quickly cut all sugar out of our diet.
  • Get Plenty of Sleep – Prioritizing sleep allows our bodies the rest that they need to stay healthy and fight infection. My husband and I aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night and our daughter gets 11-12 each night.
  • Whole Foods Diet – We eat a diet that is rich in whole foods, mainly focusing on protein, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Hydrate – We aim to drink plenty of water each day, especially if feel like we are getting sick, and also drink a lot of hot tea in the winter time.
  • Elderberry – We supplement with elderberry syrup several times a week during the fall and winter and take it 1-2 times daily at the first sign of illness. You can read about how I make my own elderberry syrup in this blog post.

At the First Sign of Sickness

  • Zinc – Mary Ruth’s organics is our go – to for this also and we supplement as needed during acute illness or when we have been exposed to a bug.
  • Earthley’s Feel Better Fast – This tincture is a favorite and we take it at the first sign of illness. Upset tummies, coughs, colds, flu – we use it for everything.
  • Elderberry Syrup – I make my own and we take it at the first sign of illness.
  • Detox Bath – Mix 2 cups of epsom salt, 1/2 cup of bentonite clay, and a splash of apple cider vinegar to warm bath. This is very soothing, but also helps the body to release toxins.
  • Chicken broth is also very soothing and comforting and is packed with beneficial nutrients.

For Helping with Good Sleep

  • Earthley Goodnight Lotion – We use this every night and it is the BEST for gently promoting good sleep. I notice such a difference if I don’t use it.
  • Earthley’s Sleepy Time – This tincture is great for promoting restful sleep as well. I like to use it when traveling or during illness to help our bodies rest well.
  • Boiron Sleep Calm KIDS – Another gentle way to help children fall asleep and stay asleep, I like to use this when my daughter’s body needs a little extra support.

For Coughs and Colds

  • Earthley’s Cough be Gone – This is a great for coughs and congestion. Safe for the whole family.
  • Boiron Chestal Remedy – This is a homeopathic remedy that is great for dry coughs.
  • Boiron Coryzalia – A homeopathic remedy for children, this is our go-to for cold symptoms. It must be taken at the onset of symptoms and taken consistently.
  • Oscillococcinum – My go-to for flu like symptoms, this is a great one to have on hand. It is also most effective if taken with the onset of symptoms.

For Sore Throats

  • Boiron Throat Calm – This is another great one for dry, scratchy throats.
  • Warm salt water Gargle – Mix 1/2 tsp salt into 1/4-1/2 cup of very warm water and dissolve the salt. Gargle for 15-20 seconds, or as long as tolerated. This is great for soothing irritated throats.
  • Herbal teas with honey

For Fevers

I know that moment of fear when the thermometer registers a high number, but I encourage you to treat the child, not the number. I will usually try a few things first to get the fever down, but if I have tried these things and she is STILL uncomfortable, then I will give her a dose of children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen to bring the fever down, otherwise I just let the fever do its good work.

  • Encourage Good Hydration – Cool fluids such as water with electrolytes, popsicles, natural 100% juice, and coconut water are all great ways to encourage hydration.
  • Warm bath with epsom salt.

It is never easy to watch your child be sick, but I hope these tools will be a help you feel prepared for the next time you or your family does get sick.

I realize it is not always possible to keep all of these things on hand, but I encourage you to keep a few basics on hand and add to your medicine cabinet as your are able to. It is so helpful to have the tools at hand right when you need them rather than having to run to the store to buy something in the moment.

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