Fighting the Back-to-School Cold

Now that we are in the full swing of kids being back in school, we must start boosting the immune systems of the entire family. We all know that what happens when the kids go back to school – they get sick and then they bring it home and then the rest of your family (including you) gets sick.

It’s a vicious cycle, so how can we prevent it—or at least temper this seemingly fall ritual?Here are my top five tips on battling the back-to-school cold and flu routine:

1. Probiotics – have everyone in the household take a daily dose of these healthy, immune-boosting bacteria. Eating yogurt isn’t enough – as you’d need to eat TEN yogurts to get what’s in one dose of a probiotic supplement. My favorite brands are Culturelle (they make a kids’ one too), MegaFoods and Flora-stor.

2. Garlic – yes, garlic. Garlic has amazing healing properties as it has anti-viral, anti-biotic and anti-fungal effects. At the first sign of a cold, I recommend making a tea with two cloves of diced garlic, a dash of cayenne pepper, a dash of sea salt and the juice from half of a lemon—mix it all in a mug of hot water. Drink down the concoction. When you are first feeling sick, have this beverage 2-3 times per day. When you’re just trying to keep your family’s immune system strong, cook liberally with garlic.

3. Vitamin C – keep the house stocked with vitamin C-rich foods like blueberries, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kiwi and oranges. During this time of year, being sure to get at least two servings of vitamic C-rich foods per day will really keep the immune system strong.

4. Homemade Chicken Soup – not store-bought or canned soup. There’s a reason they say chicken soup can heal pretty much about anything – it’s chock full of immune boosting nutrients and is one of the best cures for a cold. I make a big batch and freeze half of it. This way I always have some to dole out. Check out one of my previous Mommybites columns on chicken soup for my recommended recipe.

5. Eucalyptus essential oil – this is one of my favorite cold busters. I recommend buying some of this aromatic essential oil and putting a few drops in a small bowl of water and leaving it beside your bed and your child’s bed at nighttime. The eucalyptus aroma will seep into the air and keep nasal passages open. Another great thing to do is this: get an empty spray bottle, add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil and fill the bottle up with water; prior to a hot shower, spray down the walls of your shower, turn on the hot water and have a nasal-opening, clear-breathing eucalyptus steam shower. It works wonders for a cold. And, kids love it too!

Happy Fall!

Licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and book author Aimee E. Raupp is a women’s health and fertility expert. Her growing practice focuses on improving health and beauty, preventing disease and increasing fertility among women whose health and wellness are challenged by the demands, stressors and imbalances of Western culture. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @aimeeraupp.

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