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Home / Naturally Healthy: Five Tips for Keeping Kids Well During Cold & Flu Season

Naturally Healthy: Five Tips for Keeping Kids Well During Cold & Flu Season

As parents, we never like to see our kids sick and uncomfortable or in pain!  But during the school year they are exposed to lots of germs, and as the weather cools and we spend more time indoors, the exposure tends to intensify – so many of us seek out ways to try and help our kids stay healthy and well!

There are many things that we can do at home to keep germs at bay, here are a few!

1. Ensure that your child gets enough sleep.  Often these days we and our kids stay up late to finish homework, go to activities, and just to have some down time.  Without enough rest, our bodies simply can’t function optimally, so make sleep a priority!

2.  Practice good hand washing.  Keeping our hands clean is another simple way to keep the crud away!  Demonstrate how to wash hands properly using soap and warm water at home.  Remind your children to wash their hand every time they use the bathroom, after they cough/sneeze/blow their nose, and before meals.  Many grade school classrooms have a sink available, so make sure your child is taking advantage!

3.  Eat Well.  Good food and proper nutrition helps to ensure that our body is capable of fighting off infection!  Avoiding processed and packaged foods is always a smart idea, and be sure that your child is getting enough fruits and vegetables each day – even if you have to sneak them in through smoothies, pureeing them into sauces, or even adding veggie powders to rice or pasta!  Sugar feeds bacteria, so keep candy and items made with white sugar to a minimum.  Another good idea is a daily serving of a friendly bacteria (probiotic) food.  Some ideas include yogurt, kefir, fermented veggies (think sauerkraut, sour pickles), and sour dough bread or pancakes.  Home made bone broth is another nutritional powerhouse and can be used as a base for soups, stews, chili, or to cook rice or pasta!

4.  Vitamins.  As much as we try, kids can be fussy, and even the best eaters may be missing some critical nutrients.  Giving your child a high quality *food based* multivitamin may be an ideal way to supplement their nutritional needs, and you should also discuss this with your pediatrician as they may suggest specific supplements such as Vitamin D.

5.  Natural Remedies.  Offering relief from symptoms of illness can help your little one rest and recover, and there are many options available.

  • Elderberry is probably one of the most popular herbal remedies right now, and it’s easily found at your drug store in the form of a syrup or lozenge.  There are also many recipes to be found online for making your own elderberry syrup at home!  Elderberry is much loved for being tasty, but it’s also full of immune stimulating properties and is thought to help reduce the duration of viral infections.  
  • Pungent herbs like garlic and onions are also commonly used to help support the body when sick, and you can offer them in foods that kids love like hummus & salsa!  
  • Homeopathic cold & flu remedies, like those from Hyland’s, are readily available at your local drug store and are safe ways to offer some relief from symptoms.
  • Zarbees makes natural, honey based cough syrups that are available a big box and drug stores
  • Teas can be soothing to coughs and sore throats and a way to ensure that your child gets enough fluids.  Try chamomile, elderflower, or peppermint! 
  • For tummy troubles, teas made from peppermint, ginger, or fennel taste good and are soothing.

Getting sick occasionally is totally normal, and often a sign that we need to slow down and be a little more kind to ourselves.  When your child is sick, put a positive spin on the situation, and use the time as an opportunity to relax and snuggle up together!  Comfort care and being with their loved ones is often the best remedy of all to help kids move through illness as quickly and easily as possible.

Erica Bretz
Author: Erica Bretz