It seems that everywhere I go I'm surrounded by little sickies - in the stores, at church, at school, etc. Every year we hear about how awful the cold and flu season is, but for our community it truly does seem to be one of the worst years I've seen.
Before Christmas break our rather small school had 50 plus students home in one day! Considering the high school averages about 35 per grade, that is a substantial percentage of the student body. In fact the high rate of absences warranted canceling many activities, practices and postponing the Christmas concert until January. (All of this provided me with lots of "found" time to prepare for the holidays and subsequently enabled me to have quite the relaxing holiday season...unfortunately it was at the expense of many a sick kid!)
Christmas break provided the respite that everyone needed to recover from the various viruses that were making their rounds in our school. The teens in my life are currently healthy, happy and very active, as are their friends. It's a different story, however, for the little tykes in my life!
Cupcake tends to be the one who brings home the germs that her little friends were so kind enough to share (or give back!) For those of you who are just starting out with little ones in school, this is quite common. In fact, WebMD notes that statistics show that preschool kids have about 9 colds per year, kindergartners about 12, and adolescents and adults have about 7 per year, with most children contracting colds during the months of September through April.
Once kids start attending school and activities they are bound to be exposed to a multitude of germs and, for awhile, it may seem like your child is constantly sick as they build up their immune systems. This can be a tiresome time of life, but there are some things available that can help reduce the duration of these viruses and help boost your little one's immune system.
Below are some of the natural methods that I have used with my family to combat the colds and fight the flu for me, my teens, my toddler and even Hubby (despite the fact that he asks me to do a little witch doctor dance while I'm whipping him up some of these concoctions!) Our success has been to cut down the duration and intensity of the symptoms, from a typical 7-10 day cold to 2-4 days. The times things have lasted a week or more with the kiddos, it ended up being an infection which required antibiotics.
Obviously, I am no doctor, so please consult your physician before implementing any of the following products. Even though they are natural supplements and vitamins, it is possible for things to interact with other medications, so please ask your doctor before incorporating something new to your regiment.
These are items which I have been able to get at our local health food store, grocery store and my doctor's office (Woodlands Healing Research Center.) All of these I use in addition to the tried and true mom treatments of : fluids, rest and homemade chicken soup!
Vitamin C - I use this as a preventative on a daily basis and increase it at the first sneeze or sniffle! For the older family members, I administer a buffered Vitamin C tablet, which helps combat any stomach issues that can accompany high dosages of Vitamin C (we have been known to take 2 or 3 grams several times a day when ill.) I use a liquid Vitamin C for Cupcake which gets added to her sippy cup, usually a 1/4- 1/2 tsp when she's sick.
Vitamin D3 - This is also a good preventative, especially in the winter months when the sun goes into hiding. It too is available in liquid form for little ones, just one drop daily provides 1000 IU of Vitamin D! The rest of us take a 5,000 I U D3 Plus which includes Vitamin A, K2 and E.
EMP - A homeopathic tincture including Echinacea, Myrrh and Phytolacca. As soon as cold symptoms appear, I give Cupcake a few drops in her watered down juice a couple times a day and the rest of the family takes 10-15 drops 3 times a day. There are lots of medicinal teas available too with Echinacea which provide a soothing drink in addition to this helpful herb.
Pulsatilla Nig. 1M - Another homeopathic remedy for colds and runny noses. Cupcake comes running for this "medcin!" I give her just a few crystals to dissolve in her mouth and the rest of us take a bit more a couple times a day. This seems to work best if administered right away, when symptoms first appear.
ViraClear - This is a yummy tasting syrup for cough, congestion and sore throat. It too seems to work best if taken at the first sneeze and sniffle! Sometimes I will add the other liquid remedies into this one and just give Cupcake one little medicine cup with my own concoction. She receives 1/2 tsp of ViraClear three times a day when she's got a cold and the rest of us take 1 1/2 tsps at the same interval.
Oscillococcinum - This homeopathic is best taken at the first sign of fever and flu symptoms, helping to reduce the duration of chills, fatigue, body aches and fever. All of us are able to take a capsule full of pellets, dissolved in the mouth, a couple times a day as soon as the symptoms start.
Some other items that come in pill form, I only give to myself, hubby and my teens. A few of these do have kiddie versions available.
Zinc Citrate: We take a 30mg capsule at first sign of a cold or flu to help our systems combat the oncoming virus. I recall giving our teens Zinc lollipops, so that may be an option for little tykes.
Thymucin: This supplement supports the thymus gland and immune system. I usually hand this out for a few days if anyone in the family comes down with something. There is a liquid variation, called Thymactiv, that I give Cupcake - just a couple drops while she is sick.
Immune-Assist: This is probably one of my favorite immune boosting supplements! I take one a day regularly and up to six throughout the day if I'm sick. I have found that this, in combination with the Thymucin, Vitamin C and Vitamin D3, is great for helping me keep healthy while Cupcake brings home plenty of germs during the school year. In fact, this latter combination is part of the "Flu Protocol" that our doctor's office hands out to all the patients for the winter months.
By using these, and a few other vitamins and supplements in my arsenal, I have certainly seen the benefit of cutting down the duration and intensity of various bugs in our family. It doesn't necessarily prevent illness, but helps us recover much quicker. Although, I have found that all of these things do help to boost my immune system, especially when taken as soon as I realize the inevitable, for instance when Cupcake sneezed right into my mouth...yup, welcome to my world!
Hopefully, you can incorporate some of these homeopathic remedies and vitamins into your life to help combat the colds and fight the flu viruses that your toddler might be bringing home this season. Oh, and word to the wise, keep your mouth shut around a sneezing, sniffling toddler!