There are some years where everybody seems to get sick. This has been one of those years! Everywhere around us families have the cold and/or flu running through their entire household. It can be SO hard to keep everyone healthy without just holing yourself up in the house all day. Even then those viruses can still find their way to your kids!
Yet this has been one of the healthiest seasons our family has had. Since we started working on healthy habits, using Rocky Mountain Oils, and trying natural remedies to fight and treat cold and flu, every year is better than the last. Of course, there are ups and downs and just like everyone else we will have some seasons where we get sick more than others. But since we’ve been doing these things we’ve been far less likely to get col and flu and when we do, it doesn’t last long!
So how do we stay healthy during cold and flu season, especially with 6 kids in tow?
1. Washing Hands. First, the kids get reminded often to wash their hands and to drink a lot of water. Often. We have to do mini refresher courses on HOW to wash their hands too. But it’s worth the effort! Try demonstrating the step by step process for your kids and doing some education, especially right before cold and flu season starts (about September) Books like Germs Are Not For Sharing are really helpful for those efforts!
*** Scroll down for a free download of the hand-washing poster I made for my kids when I was teaching them proper hand hygiene! ***
2. Healthy Eating. This is more of a struggle for us but we’re working on it and improving over time! Eating a variety of whole foods, avoiding processed foods and drinks, and getting enough vitamins and minerals through great food sources… these are the things we have been trying to do in our home and it’s noticeable when we are (or aren’t) doing it in our general health as well as attitudes and energy levels.
3. Drinking Water. We all try to drink a lot of water, each of us having a water bottle that we refill several times a day. Water at meals is normal, with milk occasionally and juice rarely. Keeping little bodies hydrated helps fend off and get over illness more quickly! Adding fruit, some lime or lemon, or other simple flavorings can help.
4. Exercise. We make sure the kids get a decent amount of active play time (preferably outside) every day. Some weeks are better than others here in rainy Oregon, but we do our best!
5. Apple Cider Vinegar. Out of our family members, I have had the least cold/flu out of all of us in the past two years. The main thing I do differently is I drink a splash of apple cider vinegar in my water every day because I know that ACV has immune boosting qualities. Sometimes I add lemon and a sweetener along with ACV to some carbonated water from the Soda Stream. It’s amazing how fast that can replace sodas! I use a quart mason jar and these caps and straws to help keep the vinegar off my teeth.
6. Elderberry Syrup. We make and use elderberry syrup. When someone in the house is starting to feel a little icky, or when we’re going to someone’s house who is sick, we all take a tbsp a few times a day. When someone is full blown sick they’d take it more often.
7. Essential Oils. We also use essential oils. I diffuse a combination of Lavender, Orange, and Cedarwood often. It’s kid-safe and helps to fight off AND treat cold, flu, and congestion. I’ll often diffuse it in their rooms at night for a little while if they’re not feeling quite well. Lavender and Orange have great immune boosting and virus fighting properties. Cedarwood does as well, and is great for congestion.
The other main oils we use in fighting cold and flu are the Immune Strength blend from Rocky Mountain Oils (it’s the one that convinced this skeptic that essential oils actually work!) and their Kids’ Line. Among other helpful blends, it has an Immunity roller bottle for kids that I put on their necks at night and before and after we go to a crowded place or somewhere where I know someone is sick. I even get me and my husband with it at the same time for an extra boost!
When We DO Get Sick During Cold and Flu Season
When someone is in full-blown sick mode we do more broths, teas, raw honey with lemon, oils, elderberry syrup, water, and rest. I also recently tried a new recipe for homemade cough drops that was a hit in our home and really helped out the 2 year old with his sore throat from coughing so much with croup.
For my older kids, I often create a rice sock. I fill a sock with rice and nuke it for a minute or two. Then I add a few drops of one or more of the following: Lavender, Orange, Cedarwood, Tea Tree, or a combination of any of those. Put it on their neck or chest at night (with the oil side not touching the skin) and it soothes them while they inhale the oils.
We do all these things for my husband and I when we get sick, too. There are a few additional oils we can use though that really pack a punch. I love to diffuse the Breathe Ease blend or Eucalyptus Globulous and Lavender in our bedroom (as long as there’s no baby in there!) to help with congestion. If there’s no safe place to diffuse because of all the kids, I make up an inhaler instead.
That pretty much covers it! Of course, we’re always growing and learning more natural ways to treat illness during cold and flu season. We try new things like using activated charcoal or for prevention, too! I’m looking forward to seeing how effective these new things are for us long-term (I’m sure I’ll let you know, too. :D)
So tell me, what do YOU do to stay healthy when cold and flu season hits?
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