Cold and Flu Season for the Kiddos and You!

It is almost that time of year mamas and papas! Usually once the kids go back to school it isn't long until they start sharing things. Nasty things.....GERMS!! Don't panic though. There are some natural things you can do to boost up their little bodies so they are better protected and to take care of them at home if they do get a bug. 

1. Stay away from too much sugar. 
I know I sound like an evil person especially with Halloween right around the corner, but how many of us have had kids get sick right after a big holiday like Halloween or Christmas when they have had extra yummies. It really slows down the immune system. Not just candy and junk food but juice is another thing to limit or eliminate.

2. Try to introduce some good bacteria.
The gut health of our country isn't very good as a whole. It can be blamed on any number of things from the chemicals in our water, our over use of anti-bacterial EVERYTHING, our over use of antibiotics not only in our own bodies but in the animals products we consume, and all the toxins that float around in our environments. Our gut health is linked to all the systems in our body. If your digestion is out of wack more than likely so is your health and your kids. There are things we can do to help though! Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, real sauerkraut...... All these things help to boost them up over time. Some can be a hard sell for little ones, especially those that are used to chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. Try to make it fun and play around with it! We just had miso soup with our lunch today and my middle child did not appreciate the goodness of the miso! However we played around with it and she found it made an excellent gravy for her mashed potatoes! 

3. Boost there vitamin C with Rose Hips and Hibiscus.
Did you think I was going to say orange juice? Orange juice is delicious but save it for a special occasion. OJ is a strong refrigerant and that is not some good when you are in the middle of winter. Not to mention all the sugar! If you make a tea with Rose Hips and/or Hibiscus you are giving them a super boost of vitamin C, even more than what is found in citrus! And you control the sweetness!! It's a win win!

4. Elderberry Syrup has sweetness that packs a punch against the flu.

Elderberry Syrup
Elder Flowers

Elder is a plant with a two part punch actually. The berries can be a delicious medicine to boost the immune system and the flowers are a fever aid if you do catch something, helping the fever to do it's job better by making you sweat. Elder berries have been shown in some studies (here's another) to prevent flu or at least limit the days you feel like poo. Both the flowers and the berries taste great so they are an easy sell to the kiddos! Here is a recipe for Elderberry syrup:

1/2 cup dried Elderberries
3 cups water
simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes until it has reduced by 1/2
then add 1 cup of honey

Easy right? You can add other goodies too it like Rose Hips, Cinnamon, or Hawthorn berries. ***Just a note that if you do add Rose Hips it will thicken up more.

5. Catnip is one of my favorite herbs for children in pain or with a fever.
Catnip isn't just for cats around my house. It is a nervine and a gentle sedative with more of those fever helpers, diaphoretics, like in Elder flowers. It is really useful for sickness in children because it helps them rest when they have a fever and need to be in bed. How many of us parents have had a child with a fever who just refuses to lie down and take it easy. My kids think it is time to prove they are tough by jumping on the couch and doing laps in the living room! This is also a very safe plant that can be used in babies to soothe teething pain.

6. Slippery Elm and Marshmallow for sore throats.
When your little one has a sore throat (especially strep) there isn't much you can do to make them feel better it seems. Both of these amazing herbs have mucilaginous properties that soothe irritation and inflammation. Not to mention they are nutritive to give them a little nutrition with the liquid since they aren't often up for eating much. Slippery Elm is a little more like the slim on okra in consistency (yuck) but I have found adding some cinnamon and honey it tastes like a yummy graham cracker!

7. Don't forget to keep Garlic and Ginger around.

Old picture of a batch of fire cider, ginger honey, and garlic honey
These two are so useful to have around! Garlic can be thrown in anything for a little goodness but one of my favorite ways to use it is in honey. It is a little weird with the sweet and savory mixture but one spoonful is very powerful. I learned this from Susun Weed here. I will advise that you "burp" the jar daily or it may blow it's top though! Garlic oil can be used to treat ear infections too! 
Fresh Ginger can also be added to honey too but it is so juicy it needs to be kept in the fridge or you will end up with mead. It is a great go to for upset stomachs, diarrhea, and any case of the ickies. You can add it to chamomile tea as a tummy soother or put it in one of those tiny medicine cups, because teaching kids medicine doesn't always have to taste bad is a good thing!
Don't forget you can combine then in fire cider if your kids like spicy things or just make it for yourself. Here is my spin on it!

There are so many things that can be done to help our little ones at home and prevent them having to go to the doctors to pick up another germ. However there are times when that is necessary. I always try to give our nurse a call to check in and see what they think. I like to think they appreciate me not running in for every little thing. I hope our doctor here in the BIG CITY will do the same. 

What are some things you do to keep yourself or your kids or kids you care about safe during cold and flu season? Do you have any home remedies for if the case of the ickies hits?

Tree Love from Georgia <3 


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