healthy tips for flu season!

from a mom of five kids, four of whom are in public schools
during flu season in the midwest, USA, here are my pearls:

~cod liver oil (carlson's, lemon infused) - 1-2 tsp every night
(the vite d alone helps boost the immune system and reduce allergic reactivity- and this time of year in michigan, we ALL need more vite d - this is one of the best, most readily absorbed sources!) Cod Liver Oil Lemon Flavor at Carlson Labs
~elderberry extract or concentrate, 2 tsp every night when everyone is healthy, 2 tsp 3-4 times daily or as symptoms pop up - you can't overdo this stuff and it's super YUMMY! (just google "elderberry & flu" and you won't b/l the amazing properties of this wonder food).
Natural Sources Elderberry Juice Concentrate 16 oz

~pomegranate molasses for when the sore throat is past the 'tickle' stage. this powerhouse antioxidant is packed with immune-boosting vitamin c. even better, if honey or elderberry syrups are just too sickly-sweet for a queasy system, pomegranate molasses has that perfect tart zing to it, so it won't upset your stomach on top of a sore throat or impending flu. it's super heavy, so it coats and clings to a sore throat. this is our #1 choice for sore throats - we do 1 tsp 3x daily w/ sinus/flu/sore throat symptoms (some can experience a warm, tingly belly if taken on an empty stomach). most often used as an ingredient in latin and persian soups and sauces, it can usually be found in latin and middle-eastern stores. if not, it's also available online - or you can make your own by simmering pure pomegranate juice until thickened. 'indo-european' is the best brand.

~sinus rinsing/flushing. the squeeze bottles by neilmed seem to be easier for the young kids than an actual neti pot. we always use the neilmed saline packets - or you can make your own saline mixture to add to the warm water. NEVER use plain tap water, unless you boil it first. we buy a 3 gallon dispenser of distilled water just for the nose bottles and keep it in the bathroom closet. we do this every morning . (this helps to rinse away allergens, dust and environmental irritants breathed in while sleeping all night and helps to remoisturize sinuses dried out and irritated by the artificial dry heat in winter. evidence suggests that it can also help to control or alleviate facial eczema by soothing and controlling the initial flare-up that begins in the sinuses with airborne exposure to seasonal and environmental allergens.  if one of our kids has a stuffy or runny nose, we will do it as often as 2-3 times daily to keep the nose clear and prevent stuffiness. since beginning this routine, our kids have never progressed past clear nasal mucous nor had a crusty, snotty nose again!
NeilMed Pharmaceuticals

~lanolin or aquaphor to line nostrils, every morning. we use q-tips - if you don't like petroleum-based products, use 'lansinoh' brand lanolin. if you have hyperallergic kids, you might want to stick w/ the aquaphor. this lines and seals the delicate nasal membranes and prevents more penetration by airborne/environmental allergens. it also seals in the moisture from the nasal rinsing and is 100% effective in preventing winter nosebleeds if done at least daily! we do the rinsing & moisturizing 2-3X daily when the kids have very runny noses, especially if it turns greenish. with this routine, my kids never have more than clear snot for 2-3 days anymore, even with the worst flu and colds. this also prevents crusty, painful & irritating buildup -& boogers!- in the noses. i also apply a thin layer around mouths and cheeks in the colder weather to prevent dryness, chapping and cracking.

~slather the feet with vapor rub and cover with socks for congestion and coughs - especially at bedtime! it somehow penetrates and seems to work better - especially on kids who have sensitive skin and say that "it burns" on the upper body.

~peppermint oil in a tepid bath can help to reduce fever - and the anti-nausea part of the aromatherapy can help anyone around it!

~use pure hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash once weekly, especially during times of illness. not only does it have amazing health benefits and kill germs and bacteria, but even only doing this once a week, i notice all the kids' teeth get whiter and brighter right away & any bad breath is eliminated and reduced for days! i don't recommend it any more often for kids, though - as it can cause tooth sensitivity.
~we use 'republic of tea' brand 'get wellness' & 'get soothed' teas for when sore throats and stomach upset creep in. chock full of beneficial healing and soothing herbs, they're the perfect remedy to stomach flu.
The Republic of Tea

~coconut water for hydration during vomiting. loaded with essential rehydrators and electrolytes and nothing artificial, there is no match for pure coconut water during illness with vomiting and/or diarrhea. it has been used as an actual IV fluid in emergencies, it is so benign & beneficial to the human body. forget the bubbly corn syrup- laden clear sodas, this is best for sick people!
c2o Pure Coconut Water - Naturally Isotonic, All Natural Coconut Water

~ice chips spritzed with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar is another aid i have found for children with stomach illnesses to help rehydrate them. doesn't leave a nasty aftertaste like 7up, and lemon juice is an incredible anti-bacterial and germicidal agent.
~'dr. bronner's' peppermint magic soap in a bucket for actual vomiting. perfect for kids who might not make it to the toilet. the uplifting, soothing fragrance is a known anti-nausea remedy and fills your house with much lovelier aromas than those that come with stomach bugs! also much nicer going down the toilet than a plain bucket of barf!!
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

~for travel barf buckets, we take an empty water gallon and cut a face-sized hole out of the top, leaving the handle 90% attached. this creates a portable receptacle that is virtually backsplash and spill- proof. it can even be set on the floor of the vehicle fairly reliably if the child can't stand to have have the smell near them after use. if we have foreknowledge that someone isn't feeling well, we add a cpl inches of soapy, peppermint dr. b's to it before leaving the house. this tip is a carsaver for families with children prone to carsickness!

and if you're reading this idea too late and your car has already been baptized, the same dr. bronner's i recommend as aromatherapy for the for the green-gilled is also the best vomit smell-remover and cleaner i've ever found. the hard way, of course - on a vacation in florida, in a rental car in 100 degree heat, no less! the car rental company ended up calling to ask what air freshener i had sprayed in their car as everyone loved it and they wanted to use it in all their cars! (i used hot water to make a rich lather, scrubbed with a scrub brush, toothbrush and q-tips over all the barfed on areas, then used hot, damp towels to wipe up and press out the excess soapy residue).
these are the things we do in our house that we've found really work in a state of neverending flu season and very little sun. we also can't use traditional medications on our multiple, hyperallergic little guy, so these are the natural remedies we've found & tried.

~and here's an addition we've just discovered for heartburn/reflux, queasy stomach, diarrhea and even constipation! this stuff just seems to put a GI tract right back on track:


Pig in the Kitchen said...

Maybe it's the light...but is that bucket a quarter full of - umm - something?! My mind has gone to a bad place! We are on the same page over at the Top 25 food allergy blogs, that's how I found you, hello!
Pig x

jack said...

LOL! rest your mind at ease - it was sudsy warm water that was wafting the healing scent of peppermint through the room! if it had been used for its intended purpose already, i would not have taken a pic until i dumped and refilled it!
good luck in the contest, it's very exciting - totally unpredictable!
and i love the name of your blog - esp b/c my hubby has taken over all the cooking in our house recently and well, he's a cop...

mammal said...

have to disagree: elderberry is yuck!
as is hydrogen peroxide internally. try sage infusion instead and "oil pulling" with sunflower oil.

Unknown said...

Love this article. Thanks for sharing. I will deffinitley be using some of these great suggestions!

jack said...

Michelle McGraw Trela Oh yeah, I've been a HUGE fan of the barf buckets for years. Heck, I use them when Nate and I are sick, too! In fact, back in the days when I was the site editor at Detroit Moms Like Me, I even did a blog post on peppermint and stomach bugs, emphasizing the peppermint barf buckets. I use Dr. B's, but throw in some extra peppermint EO to make the scent stronger. It's so soothing. And when I'm sick, I like to put a few drops on some paper towel to sniff. I remember being really sick one time, and it fell out of my hand onto the pillow, but I had a fan on near the bed, and I discovered the fan was blowing the scent at me without me having to actually hold it, and I thought I was in heaven, LOL. I was trying to recreate that for my poor little sickie by wafting the paper towel at her. :(
Michelle McGraw Trela Sorry, I meant to say - "for years, since you introduced me to them." I always give you credit for that idea! It's really brilliant - one of the only things that makes stomach bugs halfway tolerable.

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