Oh, how I wish we weren’t discussing this #MomTalk Tuesday topic. Hell, I wish we weren’t even thinking about it. Because acknowledging it, like we are now, means that it’s real. And that it’s coming.
The topic I’m referring to is cold and flu season. You know, that period between October and April where everyone everywhere seems to be ill with some kind of cold or virus? That one. And which age demographic is most susceptible!? Babies and kids, that’s who. BECAUSE THEY TOUCH EVERYTHING AND PUT THEIR HANDS IN THEIR MOUTHS. Disgusting, but true. Add in daycare/school, holiday travel, and the frequency of being in large public places (mall/church/etc), and you have all the makings for cold and flu season.
So what can you do about it? You can’t go into hiding and keep the kids home from school, avoid family gatherings and public places. That is no way to live! Not to worry – I am sharing a few preventative tips that will help carry you (and your kids) through this dreaded time.
TIPS FOR PREVENTION
1. Get Your Flu Shot
I debated whether or not to even include this in my list because of the controversy and questions that surround it: will the flu shot cause me to get the flu? Does it even work? I got the flu shot last year and still got the flu! Aren’t flu shots just a ploy by Big Pharma to make boo coos of money? What if they pick the wrong strain of the flu this year?
Now if you know me, you know that I tend to lean on the natural side of life (especially when it comes to the food I eat, the products I use, and the medications I take). That being said, I still choose to get the flu vaccine for myself and for the rest of my family. Even if it doesn’t prevent the flu, it lessens the severity of and duration of the virus if you get the vaccine. And I’m all for that!
2. Use Essential Oils
This should come as no surprise to you all who have been longtime readers of the blog, or to those of you who follow me on Instagram. I am a huge believer in the power of plant oils in helping to prevent and fight against bacteria. (You can read my story on how and why I started using essential oils here).
While I definitely have my favorite oils for boosting immunity and for prevention, the Thieves blend from Young Living tops my list. It is a blend made up of antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial oils that smells like Christmas, but packs a big punch in the fight against illness. I have Thieves roller bottle that I roll on my kids’ spine, as well as my own, every morning before school. I could go on and on about how it has helped our family time and time again.
For example, one time, I had a cut on my mouth that was infected and just would not heal. I tried antibiotic creams and every over the counter remedy you can think of, but nothing seemed to help. Then one night before bed, I remembered the Thieves oils and rolled it down the back of my neck. This is no exaggeration- I woke up the next morning and the cut was completely healed. No redness, no pain. The bacteria-fighting oils in the Thieves blend did their work!
If you’d like to grab some Thieves oil for yourself, you can learn about how to purchase some here. I also have an awesome essential oils email course that will have you using essential oils like a pro in no time!
3. Have a Daily Dose of Elderberry Syrup
You can google the benefits of nature’s flu prevention, but in short, Elderberry syrup is full of antioxidants that help boost the body’s immune system. It has also been shown to lessen the severity and symptoms of the flu. In addition, it can help tame inflammation, lessen stress and help protect your heart (WEB MD). And the best part is? You can take it daily… and it doesn’t taste so bad, either. My kids and I take a daily dose of Elderberry syrup as a preventative, and then double up when we feel cold or flu symptoms coming on! My daughter actually looks forward to it!
You can buy Elderberry syrup over the counter at almost any health food or drug store, but my favorite cost-saving tip? Make it yourself! I order these dried Elderberries from Amazon and use my favorite recipe is this Instant Pot recipe from Don’t Mess With Mama.
4. Take a Probiotic
I know, you might be thinking, A probiotic? I thought that had to do with gut health? That is precisely correct. And I’m about to blow your mind with some data here: Did you know that your gut houses up 60-70% of your entire body’s immune cells?!? Yup. You read that right. So it’s probable to assume that if your gut isn’t healthy, then your body isn’t as able to fight off bacteria and diseases, such as the common cold or even the flu.
I won’t go into how probiotics work (you can read more about that here) other than to say probiotics provide your gut with the healthy bacteria it needs in order to thrive. This healthy bacteria helps to balance out the “bad” bacteria that lives in our guts. In summary, healthy gut = a more health you. And a more health you means you’re more equipped to ward off nasty bacteria and viruses. So take your probiotic. 😉
While you can easily take a probiotic pill, getting your little ones to do so isn’t so easy. For infants to toddlers, I recommend buying a probiotic powder. These can easily be mixed with water, juice, milk or even combined with yogurt or put into a smoothie! For my 2 year old son Patrick, we use this powder probiotic and mix it with his milk in the mornings. For my 4 year old Johanna, we give her a packet of MightyPro, which is a probiotic formulated especially for kids from Young Living. It basically tastes (and is eaten) like a Pixie Stick- needless to say, Johanna asks for hers every night.
5. Wash Your (and Their) Hands
You might think vitamins are, but truly, washing your hands is your first line of defense. I have my kids wash their hands every day as soon as they get home from school, or anytime we have been out in a public place. We always try to use a disinfecting soap (did you know that not all soaps, like Dove for example, disinfect?), and reserve antibacterial gel for emergencies only.
I, myself, am a bit of an avid hand-washer. You might say I border on being OCD about it, but I say – I can easily count on one hand how many times I get sick each year!
So, those are some tips I have found to be useful in arming my family as we go into cold and flu season! Be sure to check out posts from my other fellow Mom Talk Tuesday bloggers- Polished Closets and Stilettos & Diapers!
I’d also love to hear from you all- what have you found to be helpful during cold and flu season?!