Saturday, November 30, 2019

Immune Boosting Hacks During Flu Season

Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 
Image result for an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
It’s that time of year again, folks. The dreaded "flu season."

My goal, like all the rest of the mamas, is to keep myself and my kiddos as healthy as possible all the time. My biggest concern with flu specifically is that I have a newborn and a kiddo with asthma, so I really want to be as proactive as possible in preventing it. I've done quite a bit of reading and research and even took a masterclass with a holistic pediatrician on this topic, so I wanted to share some of my favorite homeopathic/natural remedies for boosting immune systems and keeping everyone well. (For the record, it’s not fool proof. Me and one of the boys had a cold just last week. But I do believe these practices help significantly + shortens the duration when they do come down with a little something.) I don’t think there are many things more heartbreaking than seeing your baby not feeling well, so I want to help with that some if I can.

**I also have an awesome FB group called “Health Mama/Healthy Kiddo Hacks” where all my mama & grandmother friends share their fave resources, ask questions, etc., and I’d love for you to join us there if you like. You can just click on that link & request to join.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I am not offering any medical advice/prescribing anything here. I am simply sharing what we choose to do for our boys to boost their immune systems. I do believe parents are the best advocates for their own children’s health, and I highly encourage parents to do their own research/consult with a doctor on each of these supplements to make the best possible decisions for their babies.

Here are some of our fave homeopathic and natural immune boosting secrets. (I included direct links to purchase.)
  • Don’t wear shoes in the house. SO simple! Have you ever thought about all of the yucky germs/viruses/bacteria you're tracking in on the bottoms of shoes? Think about what is on the floor of public restrooms, doctor's offices, in elevators, etc. that you're tracking in! YIKES!! I have a friend who is a childhood oncologist and said it's one of the first things he recommends to his patients family. Easy peasy- just take shoes off at the door. And NEVER set shoes on surfaces where you eat like kitchen tables or countertops. (I used to do this without thinking about how DISGUSTING it really is. And I also quit practicing the "5 second rule" since people do still wear shoes in our house. I'm trying!) I clean our floors with a Norwex mop.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water. I’m not a fan of antibacterial soap (antibacterial disinfectants disrupt our skin microbiome) or hand sanitizer (most are endocrine disrupters) unless it's Poofy Organics, Thieves, or another homemade or more natural kind. There was actually a study in the American Society for Microbology journal that said water is extremely effective in killing influenza A. Teach your kiddos to wash their hands OFTEN & how to do it the right way. (Tip: Teach kiddos to sing their ABCs or the “Happy Birthday” song while scrubbing in between fingers, around fingernails, then use the paper towel to open the door if in public. Stay away from the hand dryers. Google that one if you don't believe me.)
Image result for how to properly wash hands

  • Nasal spray every day...especially after being in a confined environment. Hopefully you can flush out viruses before they begin colonizing in your nose. We like Xlear brand because it  contains xylitol and grapefruit seed extract.
  • Probiotics. ALL of us take probiotics, Over 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut, so gut health is VERY important. Your gut is often referred to as your “second brain” because so many aspects of your health (even mental health, which is astounding) is tied back to gut health. P.S. Antibiotics destroy the gut. They kill ALL bacteria, both good + bad, so probiotics are especially important in maintaining gut health while on an antibiotic and/or rebuilding it after. And we personally try to use antibiotics as a LAST RESORT.  I would recommend amping up probiotics while on an antibiotic, but you really want to take them at different times of day so thy don't counteract one another. Jon and I are taking probiotics that come in our customized IDNutrition. We have switched the boys to this one because it tastes great, is SUPER high quality with 3 strands you REALLY want, & it's really affordable. You can do the subscribe and save for convenience (can cancel, change dates, etc. at any time) and they'll even give you a 10% discount. It'll be automatically applied and deducted from retail price if you choose a date for scheduled delivery.They also have a super fun Black Friday deal that is good through Dec 4th that includes the children's multi (same one we use) and super cute lunch box.
  • Vitamin D. I think vitamin D is one of the most underrated supplements there is, and people are totally missing the mark. (Most adults are deficient too.) The liquid drops/sprays are easiest with littles, and I start at around 6 months (even while breastfeeding). I like to get as much sunshine as possible when the weather is nice because our body stores it up and this helps us fight off infections during the winter months. (I don’t use much sunscreen for this reason unless we are going to be in direct sun for extended periods.) I prefer Mary Ruths because it also contains the co-factor K-2, which helps improve absorption. (I also love her olive oil and she is having a major Black Friday sale that I'm sure is still going on,)
  • Bone broth. If you can’t get them to drink it by itself, cook with it. I use it as a base in soups, to stir fry veggies, etc. Of course it's best if you can make your own & it's actually very easy. (Just google how to do it.) If you don't want to do that, my favorite brands are Bonafide and Thrive Market Organic bone broth. I also use a chocolate bone broth protein & the boys drink it warm like cocoa.
  • Oscillococcinum is an awesome herbal remedy (my personal preference over Tamiflu because of the psychiatric side effects- you can read about them directly from the insert) if someone DOES catch the flu. I’d stock up now because when flu season hits, you can’t get your hands on any. We have friends that used this + elderberry last year and the flu symptoms eased very quickly. This can also be taken as a preventative measure. 
Boiron Oscillococcinum for Flu-like Symptoms Pellets, 30 Count/0.04 Oz each
  • Colloidal silver spray. I first heard about colloidal silver at a huge holistic health conference we attended a couple years ago. They sold me on it. You can give it daily as maintenance, and amp it up when they’re starting to come down with something. You just follow the directions (age/weight and desired outcome determines the # of sprays). You can get drops too, AND they have some for adults as well. We personally just use it when they're coming down with something.Also, make sure you choose a quality brand like Sovereign Silver & don't overdo it.
Sovereign Silver® For Kids Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol™ for Immune Support* - 2oz – Fine Mist Spray - Ultimate Refinement of Colloidal Silver - Safe*, Pure and Effective* - Premium Silver Supplement
  • Vitamin C. I first learned about orthomolecular vitamin C while watching the Healthy Child Summit with Dr. Saul. High-dose vitamin C is POWERFUL for healing! (Check out the site to read more about the benefits, how it works, etc.) Some people give it to the point of loose stools. I don’t do this, but I do give a pretty good amount if they’re coming down with something.
  • Elderberry syrup. We give this daily during flu season and amp it up if someone isn't feeling well (Reminder: NO honey for any babies! Botulism is very REAL, and their digestive tracts aren’t formed well enough to be able to handle raw honey. They say once they’re over a year old it’s okay, but I’m very conservative and don’t do any honey under the age of 2. I also don’t use as much as the recipe calls for.) We buy our own organic elderberries and make our own (Wellness Mama’s recipe, or follow the recipe on the back), but you can find someone local who makes it or buy it pre-made from Mary Ruths too.
  • Limit sugar. Too much sugar at one time shuts the immune system down for 5 hours at a time. FIVE hours!! No wonder “flu season” shows up right after Halloween & Christmas and all the parties, treats, candy, and cookies. We are basically filling them with junk and shutting their immune systems down. (For the record, I’m not a total weirdo and my kids aren’t deprived. I haven’t totally found a solution for how to navigate this and I do let them have candy & treats. I’d definitely like for them to consume less sugar though.) We should shoot for LESS than 25 g a day. When we do go to some type of celebration, I typically encourage the kids to pick one thing they want as a treat. For example, they can have a piece or cake, OR a juice box...not both. (They are their mama's child and always go for the cake!) We also don't do any juice and really try to limit candy & processed treats. 

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  • Make sure they get plenty of sleep. Sleep is when their bodies recover, their brain grows, etc. Not getting enough sleep actually weakens the immune system & hinders their ability to fight off viruses. I know we can definitely work on getting ours in bed earlier more consistently.
**Check out the National Sleep Foundation's guide to how much sleep they need at different stages.
  • On Guard + Thieves (oils on the bottom of feet & diffuse). I use them interchangeably and like them both equally. I personally like to mix it up so they don't develop an "immunity" to it. I diffuse oils every single day & I love them as an alternative to toxic candles, scents, air fresheners, etc. I also uses Thieves hand sanitizer and sometimes I clean our house with Thieves (I just ordered some Thieves oil, but before that I made my own with a recipe I found online.) Make sure you do your research to determine what is safe for littles (not everything is) & proper dilution. Also, I personally do not ingest or use neat. I know some people do, so you’ll want to come to your own decision on that. I do not diffuse around the new baby either since her lungs are still forming and EOs are very potent. Again, I know some people do, but I'd rather not. You can find your fave oils person to get hooked up.
  • Hydrate. Let me say that again for ya..HYYYYDRATE! We live in a society that is chronically fatigued and dehydrated. Get them to drink plenty of water (at least 1/2 their body weight in ounces, and more if they're sick or sweating). I also love to give mine Hydrate because sometimes they get bored with just plain water. It has coconut water, important minerals like magnesium, electrolytes, and NO artificial colors or sweeteners. All 3 flavors taste awesome. Comes in stick packs for on the go or canisters for at home, and they are on sale right now for Black Friday

  • Nutrition. I try to help them eat real, whole foods as much as possible. Shew- this is NOT always easy! I try to offer lots of fruits + veggies. There really is power in eating the rainbow because i provides so many antioxidants and phtonutrients that strengthen our immune systems. Organic when you can. Avoid processed food, junk food, and fast food. I sneak in Superfoods when I can by making homemade smoothies, grain free muffins with Superfood blends, etc. I have some tips for getting kids to eat healthier here.
  • Juice Plus gummies. Speaking of nutrition, I like my boys to take the JP gummies because their diets aren't perfect, and this helps bridge the gap. My boys take these in addition to their daily multivitamin. I recommend continuing to give the IDLife multi too (highest quality I've found and best formulation of specific nutrients) because it contains important minerals and co-factors needed for absorption (things they aren't getting in their diet).
  • BetaKids. Beta Glucan is powerful & so beneficial! I also love that is has selenium and vitamin D. Just to save money I don't give this daily, but I do love it.
  • Cod Liver Oil. I only give it in the Fall/Winter, and other times of the year if they seem to be coming down with something. (Same with elderberry.) I've been using this brand - either the unflavored or the orange (I give it to them in a little medicine dispenser and they all take it like a champ), but am trying this brand next. 
Genexa Homeopathic Allergy for Children: The Only Certified Organic Kids Allergy & Decongestant Medicine. Physician Formulated, Natural, Non-GMO Verified & Non-Drowsy (60 Chewable Tablets)
  • V Clear. Highly recommend!! Much better than traditional cough meds, etc. in my opinion. Upper respiratory and lung health support.
  • Get moderate daily exercise. Family walks/hikes/bike rides, sports,etc. If it's too intense, it actually has the opposite effects. But staying moving, getting your body to sweat will be helpful in boosting the immune system.
  • Detox baths. You don't want to do this daily, but I like to do detox baths occasionally for the boys. You can use your own ingredients or just get this one.
  • I am not one who is quick to go to the doctor. I avoid antibiotics at ALL COST unless 100% absolutely necessary. If we’re not careful, we can develop a resistance to antibiotics which would make them less effective in the future if we ever had a serious infection and REALLY needed it. (We are starting to see the effects of this with the super bugs, and it is being addresses in the healthcare industry.) Plus, antibiotics destroy your gut by killing the good bacteria (it has know way to differentiate between the good & bad guys, so just kills them all and takes TWO YEARS for your gut microbiome to recover!). I have also found that it seems lots of antibiotic use leads to more sickly kiddos. When you don’t develop and immunity to something, you won’t be able to fight it off next time, and the weakened gut/immune system leads to contracting stronger bugs in the  future while your immune system is weakened from the previous antibiotic use. Are they absolutely necessary sometimes? Absolutely. But the reality is that most things will run their course if you allow them, and many most viruses cannot be distinguished whether they are bacterial or viral. Antibiotics are pretty useless against something viral that would need to run its course anyway, and there are better ways to manage symptoms. Of course you’ll want to use common sense/discernment here. I personally do NOT use fever reducers anymore. (With a fever, it's less about how high it is and more about how they're acting. We should be more concerned with a 99.9 acting puny and pitiful, not eating, etc. than a 103 kiddo acting totally fine.) Thankfully my boys haven’t had many fevers, but fevers are actually our bodies’ way of fighting something off. They are for our benefit. Our bodies heat up to kill whatever is trying to take us down. When we use a fever reducer, we are many times extending the life of the virus & interfering with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Febrile seizures typically happen when fevers spike very rapidly, so definitely keep an eye out for that! 
  • Also, I definitely encourage you to do some research on the topic for yourself. I recommend reading THIS BOOK (absolutely NO offense to doctors- so grateful for their knowledge! I wish it had a different title, but it is FULL of valuable info nonetheless) for a more comprehensive overview & explanation about this topic. Maybe check out this article about Tylenol raising risks of asthma. If you’re in need of a more natural pain & fever support, I recommend this homeopathic option. 
Homeolab USA Kids Relief Pain & Fever

**I also love earth clinic to look up a collection of natural cures and remedies. Awesome resource to keep in your back pocket!

Sweet mama friends, I hope this is helpful for you. I know mommin’ ain’t easy, and we all want to do the very best by our children. Praying that if you’re reading this, the Lord blesses your children with a hedge of protection and thriving HEALTH in the upcoming year! Also praying He gives you wisdom as you navigate the BEST way to take care of your babies. I truly believe God has given you instincts to know how to best care for them, but I also know that when we know better, we DO better. Knowledge (applied) is power.

P.S. I’m always looking to learn! Anything else you use I need to know about??

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