It’s that time of year! Thanksgiving, Christmas… and, oh yeah, cold and flu season. What is it about winter that brings out all the sickness anyway? Is it the lack of immune boosting vitamin D from the sun? Is it that we are more closed up inside our homes at that perfect temperature for incubating bacteria and viruses instead of outside getting fresh air or at least having open windows so the air in our homes can circulate out?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m trying to do all I can to keep my family healthy and fight off the sicknesses that come our way as quickly as possible this year. My immune system is naturally low simply due to being pregnant, so I have to remember to take extra good care of myself this winter- something I often neglect when I’m focused on caring for my family.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and don’t claim to have all the answers on health, so be sure to do your own research and consult your own health care facilitator before implementing the things I’m about to share. Also, do not use these remedies as an excuse not to go to the doctor if you are really sick. Use your good judgement!
These are simply things that I have added to our routine, or to my medicine box, over the years, and they seem to work well for us. We do still get sick from time to time, but having our sickness plan well laid out tends to help us get well quickly with very few trips to the doctor. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I or one of my kids has been to the doctor for a sickness. One of my favorite things about herbal or food based remedies is that I’m not afraid to use them right away. If I feel a scratch in my throat- lemon water to drink and salt water gargle, stat! If my kids have stuffy noses, I immediately start some respiratory supportive essential oils in my diffuser and rub them with vapor rub every night until they are breathing clearly again. I tend to hesitate when it comes to visiting a doctor who might have much worse sicknesses lingering in his or her waiting room or using over the counter drugs that might have negative effects on our long term health. I do believe that quick action is the reason these natural remedies usually work so well for us, because on the occasions that I have not acted quickly to take care of an ailment, we usually run into much longer periods of sickness.
THE 2 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE DO WHEN SICK: 1. Get as much rest as possible. Sleep is the best time for your immune system to work to heal your body. 2. Drink LOTS of water. I’m talking about a gallon or more per day for adults. Water hydrates yours cells so they can work efficiently, reduces overall stress on your organs, and helps to detoxify and flush out foreign invaders from your body. Getting enough rest and drinking enough water on a daily basis help so much to prevent sickness in the first place.
Here are some of my basic protocols for when anyone in my family is sick. We actually try to incorporate these into our daily routine especially during flu season to prevent getting sick in the first place, but really double down when sickness hits!
-Take lots of vitamin C (I like this one since it’s derived from berries instead of corn like most ascorbic acid is, but regular ascorbic acid also seems to work pretty well.)
I mix that powder plus this magnesium with water and drink most nights, which usually helps me stay well. If I do get sick, I may double up by drinking a glass in the morning and a glass at night.
-Make sure to get enough magnesium. Magnesium is important for helping your body absorb other nutrients, as well as being an essential nutrient itself. Dates are a good source of Magnesium. We try to keep a supply on hand as well as making and eating our “Brownie bites” regularly. We also take these dissolving tablets daily to make sure we are getting our daily magnesium.
-Colloidal Silver helps with many things, especially bacterial and viral infections. I usually get this kind. Sovereign Silver is also an excellent brand, but generally more expensive. I just started making my own colloidal silver, which is MUCH more affordable!
You can take up to a tablespoon per day for short periods like to get over your cold, and then back off to 1 teaspoon or less if you want to take it as a daily preventative.
-Eat probiotic foods like lacto-fermented pickles, kefir and kombucha, and/or take a probiotic supplement daily. We are a little hit and miss when it comes to eating the fermented foods, so we use a great probiotic powder that’s made from raw foods. This is especially important when you are taking high doses of silver or antibiotics. Just make sure you take the probiotics at least an hour after taking the antibiotics or silver so they can repopulate your good gut bacteria rather than being destroyed along with the bad.
-Vitamin D is crucially important to health and immune system function. You should get at least 15 minutes of middle of the day sunlight on as much of your skin as possible if you can. However, since there are probably many days you can’t, and the winter sun is not as effective at transmitting vitamin D, I use vitamin D softgels like these.
For colds and respiratory issues:
I like to make sure I have a vaporizer running in the bedroom at least (or wherever you will be sleeping)- if you can have another running wherever you are most of the day, so much the better. I like to add a few drops of essential oils to mine- I love the Breathe Easier blend from Edens Garden for respiratory issues and clearing stuffy heads and noses, and the KidSafe Sniffle Stopper blend from Plant Therapy. Eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemon are all excellent for respiratory health. (However, eucalyptus is not recommended for young children. Spearmint, wintergreen or the KidSafe Sniffle Stopper blend are safer for little ones.)
-I make a vapor rub which I try to always keep on hand, and rub it on the chest, back, and soles of feet (where it is absorbed most quickly into your blood stream).
For sore throats:
-I gargle with salt water, gargle and drink raw apple cider vinegar mixed with water (1-2 tablespoons to 6-8 oz water). I also mix warm water, vinegar or lemon juice, and some raw honey for a great throat soothing, health boosting drink. Also, drinking nourishing teas throughout the day is a great idea. For my kids, I mix some lemon juice, raw honey, and warm water to make a soothing drink for them to sip all day.
-I put a little water, silver, and peppermint, clove, oregano, and lemon essential oils in a small spray bottle and spray the back of my throat. It helps numb the pain while also fighting viruses and bacteria.
For the Flu:
-Get lots of rest. If your kids aren’t into sleeping, be sure to read lots of books and do other restful things with them.
-Drink plenty of fluids. Water, herbal teas, or even juice or lemonade if that’s what it takes to stay hydrated. The most common complication from the flu is dehydration.
-We like to keep some nice sized plastic containers around for “throw up bowls”. I buy sour cream in 3 lb containers that work perfectly for this. For some reason, having their own little “throw up bowl” really comforts my kids when their tummies hurt.
-Have easily washable comfort items handy. My kids love to cuddle with a homemade heated rice pack, so I made little covers for our rice packs that can be taken off and washed easily. I also try to wash all the bedding every day while we are sick. If I can’t wash something, or don’t have time or energy to do all the washing one day, I make sure to spray everything down with Thieves spray. In fact, I walk through the house spraying Thieves as well as diffusing it daily while anyone in my family is sick. (Thieves spray is simply pure water with several drops of Thieves essential oil mixed together in a spray bottle.) It kills viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
-Rub bottoms of feet with diluted Thieves or lemon essential oil. I use about a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil with 1-2 drops of essential oil in it to rub on my kid’s feet.
-Rub tummies with “Tummy All Better” essential oil from Plant Therapy. Dilute by adding 1-2 drops of the essential oil to a carrier like olive oil or fractionated coconut oil, then rub on tummy in a clockwise motion. You can also rub on the tops of feet and you can simply take a whiff of the oil to give quick relief from a queasy tummy.
General healthy habits:
Something I try to do every day, but especially focus on if I’m sick, is to squeeze 1/2 a lemon into a glass of water first thing in the morning and drink that before I eat or drink. It helps detoxify the liver and prepare the body for digestion, as well as being great for sore throats.
Another thing that is really important and often overlooked is to maintain healthy iodine levels. This is important not just for thyroid function, but for the health of all your cells. I’ve been using this kind, and feel great! You could also add kelp or dulsi powder to your food daily to help maintain your iodine levels.
This lympha rub from Trilight Health is great for sore lymph nodes and speeding healing. You can get a free bottle of this by joining their newsletter. They also have an amazing ear oil called hear no evil that has helped us not have ear aches turn into ear infections for the last 3 years. They also have some great products to help your body fight the flu and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
I hope this isn’t too overwhelming! I’ve added these things in gradually, so don’t feel like you have to buy everything at once or implement everything into your life right away. I have found that it works best for me to add one or two things at a time, make them part of your routine for about 3 weeks to a month, then add something else new after your new routine is established.
Note: The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to buy through these links, I’m grateful for your support! I only link to products I personally use or recommend.