Let’s Make It Back to School, Not Back To Sick!

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back to school

Back to School 

Fast forward for a moment. Imagine what the back to school year will be like, let’s say… three weeks in. Teachers know exactly what I’m talking about. The classroom becomes a cesspool of cold and flu bugs. Kids touch stuff. It’s more than just door handles and light switches. It’s play equipment, desks, books, lunch tables.

They pick their noses, share pencils, and put said pencils into their mouth. When they’re out, they touch shopping carts and handrails and every. single. thing.

Homeschool kids are no exception because once those bugs are floating about all of the public places, We’re all in the same boat. Frequent hand washing helps, but eventually, we WILL get sick.

I have spent a lot of time around supplements in my career, and a lot of experience taking them.

Let me disclose right up front, I am not a physician. I am not attempting to treat, cure, prescribe, or make claims regarding your health. I am, however, going to share with you my family’s favorite vitamins and supplements for the season.

Last year, was an outrageously rough year for the cold and flu. Manufacturers actually RAN OUT of product. Many even ran out of the raw materials to make their products! I assisted people in finding these products, just as I had been doing for the last 14 years. Last season, however, there were few products to be found. My first suggestion to you is to stock up now BEFORE your kiddo (and probably you) are sick. You’re out doing your back to school shopping? This should be part of it.

Multivitamins They fill in the gaps for the average Joe (or Jane). My kids love the Kid Sticks by Ester C, American Health, in tropical punch flavor. Its a powder and I make it “fancy” by putting it in a shaker cup with ice. It doesn’t use up any extra dishes than if it were in a regular cup. The ice chills it, and cuts that ‘B vitamin’ taste you always get with a multi. And the kids think it’s special.

Probiotics These are the “healthy bacteria.” We are made up of more of them, than our own living cells. Now, who’s the host species? Creepy but cool, and a big indicator that they make up an important part of our wellness. It is said that health begins in the gut. If you’re a believer in that like I am, then you should be supplementing these guys. Be sure to pick up one that is refrigerated, and make sure it stays that way.

Zinc  This essential trace mineral supports the immune system. Your multivitamin will likely have a bit present, but most are well below the recommended daily allowance (RDA) so adding a little to your fall and winter diet is a good idea. You’ll notice that all of the indications on zinc labels suggest that you eat before taking it. Heed that advice.

Vitamin C  When derived from a food source, it packs powerful antioxidants. It is an essential supplement because it’s not something your body can make on its own. Though vitamin C is considered one of the safest supplements, there are some medications that have a history of interacting with vitamin C, so be sure to discuss this with your doctor.

Vitamin D In order for your body to effectively make vitamin D, you must be exposed to sunlight. If your kids are covered in sunscreen like mine, their skin is safe, but they’re not making as much vitamin D as they could. We use the supplement to help us out. The drops by Carlson are easy to take, each tiny drop contains a daily dose, and it tastes like absolutely nothing. Since vitamin D is fat- soluble, it builds up in your system over time. Be sure to discuss a healthy level and dose for your family with your doctor.

back to school

Okay, They’re Sick, Now What?

It is likely that your kiddo will bring something home with them once they are back to school, whether you’re taking supplements or not. Our family feels that taking these, buffer the severity of it. In the likely event that your kid (and in turn, the entire household) does get sick, I have another helpful list for you. This is where we up our game.

Oscillococcinum Known as ‘Oscillo’ for short, this product falls into the homeopathic category and is made by the company Boiron. The uses listed on the package claim “temporary relief of flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headaches, fever, chills and fatigue.” My own personal experience with it have been very positive. For my family, it has been effective, so this is one we keep on hand and take at the first sign of the flu.

Ivy Leaf Extract  Ivy leaf extract has a long history as a helpful remedy for clearing mucus and supporting respiratory health. Gaia Bronchial Wellness and Zarbees Children’s Cough Syrup + Mucus are the two we usually have on hand. Our family loves these products! Last year, while visiting family out of state, our daughter, little Bird, came down with a horrible cold. The mucus was so heavy, she was gagging in her sleep. Scary stuff for a mama. It is SO difficult to find something effective and safe to address mucus for littles between age 2-6, and these do it.  Zarbees has a nighttime formula as well so your littles can get the rest they need to get better.

Oregano Oil This oil is regarded as a ‘natural anti-microbial.’ In short, it kills stuff. Please note, we are not talking about the essential oil. If you put it in a glass, you’ll find that the oil sits right on top and it ends up burning your lips, and you’ll end up with a big gulp of it at the end. It will be unpleasant. Very unpleasant. At our house, we put a few drops in our water bottle and shake it up. Sip on it, and shake it frequently. It just makes your water taste a little herbal. Be sure to check labels, because there are varying age and dose indications for each brand. Remember those multivitamin sticks I shared with you earlier? Well, I just sneak a couple of drops into that, and my kids never even know. 🙂

Keep in mind, you should always communicate with your physician and pharmacist regarding potential drug interactions and your particular wellness needs. You should also be aware of your family’s allergies, and check the labels of products you are considering.

These aren’t a replacement for seeing your physician and eating right, or prescribed medications. Although I am a SERIOUS believer in supplementing with natural products, I DO believe that western medicine has a rightful place in the world. I could take this part of the conversation quite a lot further, but for now, I’ll just leave it at that. So let’s raise a glass of water to take with our vitamins, and toast to staying well this back to school season. Cheers!