AAAACHHOOOO! They’re everywhere. Germs. Can you avoid them? What can you do to protect yourself and your kids? And, what if you get sick, is there any hope? Yes, lots of things, and YES!
The flu season seems to be particularly intense this year, and typically lasts until late March. Even if you chose to get the flu vaccine for yourself or your kids, CDC reports it is only 25% effective against the predominant virus that is circulating this season, and 36% effective overall (all viruses). That means if you got the vaccine you still have a 75% chance of getting sick if exposed to the virus! Yikes!
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family?
Prevention is key! Let’s boost those immune systems and play “keep away” from the bugs.
- Avoid icky surfaces. Viruses stick around longer in the cold, dry air of Winter. That means DO NOT TOUCH all those surfaces in public spaces that are sneezed on and touched frequently. For the ones you do come in contact with, consider first using a surface sanitizer spray or wipe that contains naturally antimicrobial essential oils, such as Thyme, Clove, Cinnamon Bark or Oregano.
- Stay clean, naturally. If you touch those icky surfaces, you definitely want to wash your hands! This is to prevent cross contamination from hands to mouth or nose or eyes, access points to viruses. Choose a natural soap product, like castile, because even the FDA warns against use of antibacterial soap. Try using the Think Dirty app to make sure your soap won’t make you sicker than the flu!
- Play outdoors! Air stagnates indoors and re-circulates causing the spread of germs, so get yourself and your kiddos outside! Exposure to nature and fresh air boosts our immune system and keeps us healthy. We are lucky in San Diego that the weather is almost always gorgeous, but even if you live in the snow, you can still reap the benefits of the great outdoors. Perhaps try Forest Bathing? Did I go too far? 😉
- Be good to your body. Get plenty of rest, regular exercise (see above), eat whole, nutritious foods, avoid sugar, and keep up a good regimen of quality vitamins and supplements (not Flintstones, sorry Fred). Vitamin D, as well as Probiotics, have both been shown to be crucial to immune system function.
- Boost it up! There are a number of scientific studies supporting the use of Elderberry Syrup in both preventing and treating the flu. Homemade Elderberry Syrup is going to give you the most benefits over store bought. Bonus: use the homemade syrup to make Elderberry gummies for the kiddos.
If you still end up getting sick, then what?
- Nurture your body back to health. You know the deal. Rest, lots of fluids and some soup! Make your soup with nutrient rich bone broth, or have some delivered. Take a nice warm bath with essential oil infused bath salts. You probably feel horrible, but sickness can often be a sign that your body is run down and needs to rest and heal.
- Help your body fight that bug, naturally. Load up on Vitamin C, Zinc and Elderberry (see above). Run your diffuser containing the immune boosting essential oil blend, Thieves, to keep the air in your household circulating and fresh. A diffuser is specially designed for use with essential oils, as opposed to a vaporizer or humidifier (see below).
- Soothe symptoms, naturally. Use a vaporizer vs. a humidifier (unless otherwise directed) to help keep sinus and chest fluids wet and moving. Dilute essential oils in coconut oil and rub on chest, back and feet for a homemade “VapoRub” using a kid-safe blend for congestion like SniffleEase. A neti pot is also helpful for keeping the nasal passages clear, but can be difficult using this with younger kids. For babies and toddlers, I like to use saline spray and the Nose Frida (AKA snot sucker and best baby shower gift ever!).
Stay healthy, San Diego!