As the world resumes normalcy and we are back to in-person interactions, we are also becoming more susceptible to common illnesses. And so are our kids.
With kids, sickness is something we just can’t avoid, especially with mask mandates dropping and more in-person activities resuming. It’s a double-edged sword. We’re thrilled to see our kids enjoying time with their friends and catching up on priceless lost time, but then the sniffles, aches, and fevers start.
Our immune systems have basically been on vacation for the past two years with all of the social distancing and remote work/learning. We haven’t brought home too many germs and viruses, and have experienced fewer illnesses. In fact, during the pandemic, flu cases dropped to an “unprecedented low.”
But all that is changing now, and it’s time to wake up our immune system and give it an extra boost of support.
I cannot tell you how many times people reached out to me for holistic immune-boosting advice. In our home, we practice natural health as much as possible, and we see wonderful benefits from it. Here are some of my tried and true go-tos, and why they work.
How I Avoid Getting Sick
Earlier this year I was exposed to Omicron for several days while taking care of sick kids and felt exhausted and had a sore/scratchy throat. As soon as I started feeling bad, my regimen included:
As soon as I started feeling bad, I took Zicam Rapidmelt (three total during the day). Zinc keeps our immune system working and does wonders for fighting a common cold. Researchers from Ohio State University have an interesting way of explaining how zinc works: “it helps control infections by gently tapping the brakes on the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation.” That is so true! Taking zinc at the first sign of illness is your best defense against a full-blown cold. Unlike zinc pills, these rapid melts don’t hurt my stomach.
This is another incredible immune booster. Very similar to rutin, quercetin is a powerful antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables. We take it at the first sign of a cold. It’s also great for allergies, as it blocks histamine release. It’s also been shown to stop viruses from replicating, making it perfect for colds and flus.
Magnesium Citrate or Threonate
Magnesium is one of the best supplements for overall health, and colds are no exception. I would take 400-800 mg per day at the onset of feeling bad (here is my favorite magnesium supplement). Magnesium lotions and sprays are great as well, since a sick stomach may not absorb nutrients as well as it should. I like to rub magnesium lotion on the bottoms of my kids’ feet, or spray magnesium chloride on their chest. The kids love this lotion in particular because of its cotton candy smell!
Also, don’t forget about Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt is loaded with magnesium and absorbs well into your skin while giving you a soothing, relaxing bath experience.
Hardly anything is better for a cold than good old Vitamin C, but for peak performance, it takes more than just chugging orange juice or eating a few fruits a day. You need to take it in high quantities (but be careful of bowel irritation). Try taking 1-2 grams per hour or per half hour continuously until you get a rumbly tummy or feel completely well. Liposomal liquid is what we use when sick. It’s easier on the stomach, so you can take more. Remember, “keep dosing C until symptom free!”
Lymphatic Drainage Drops
One frequent cause of illness is having a backed-up lymphatic system. Your lymph nodes exist to filter viruses, bacteria, and even cancer cells from your body, and if they are clogged, they can't work as they should. These lymphatic drops are amazing! They’re also great for allergies and sinus headaches, since they help clear congestion. Our content editor recently started taking these lymphatic drops and within three days she noticed a persistent swelling in the back of her throat was gone (and she had some gnarly sinus drainage).
You can also try an at-home lymphatic massage to stimulate your lymph nodes and manually push that stagnant fluid out of your system.
Green Tea and Honey, All Day, Every Day
The minute we start feeling bad in our home, I start brewing green tea with raw honey, and we drink as much as we can. In fact, my kids guzzle green tea with honey non-stop when under the weather. The EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) in green tea helps get zinc into cells, which helps stop viral replication. It falls into the polyphenol category, which means it’s a powerful antioxidant that can protect your cells from free radical damage and fend off certain diseases.
Raw honey is also great for colds. Taking a spoonful of it is very soothing to a sore throat, and can help stop a cough. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help fend off infections.
Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil is great for treating allergies and allergy-like symptoms that come with a cold, such as a runny nose and sneezing (it’s even been lab-shown to reduce nasal symptoms). There’s actually a saying in alternative medicine for black seed oil that goes, “a cure for everything but death.” While the liquid formula is not the best-tasting thing out there, they do come in capsules, and you can always rub the liquid version on the bottom of your feet for absorption. When I do take the liquid version, though, I take one tablespoonful in the morning and evening.
Melatonin (and Rest)
Sleeping off a cold is your body’s way of preserving energy to ward off the illness. A natural way to get better sleep is by taking melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone in your brain that regulates your sleep cycle. By taking melatonin supplements, you increase sleepiness, helping you get extra rest when you need it. When feeling sick, I take about 5 mg of this liquid melatonin before bedtime.
Another thing I did was take up a good sweat in an infrared sauna. Sweating helps rid your body of toxins, plus the heat was so soothing and comforting, especially if I was achy. While it’s impossible to “sweat out” the cold virus, the heat and sweating does kick-start your body to create energy, which can be used to wipe out the cold. The heat and sweating are also great for opening your sinuses and relaxing sore muscles.
In a perfect world, we could all safely enjoy the sun year-round and naturally absorb all the Vitamin D we want. But since we live in reality, we take Vitamin D supplements. I love taking Vitamin D liquid drops, since they absorb into your body quickly and effectively. Another great source of Vitamin D is cod liver oil, something I learned from my Norwegian great-grandmother. Cod liver oil is packed with Vitamins D, A, and omega-3’s, all of which can be front-line defenses for your immune system. Vitamin D can shorten the length of your cold, and if your body already has a healthy level of Vitamin D, you could avoid most colds in the first place.
B-Vitamins and Flushing Niacin (B-3)
B Vitamins help convert food into energy, which is perfect when you feel under the weather. You’ll want to fuel your body’s natural defenses as much as possible. B-Vitamins are also perfect for colds since it helps fight the stress your body is under.
A particular B-Vitamin I like is Niacin (B-3), but you’ll need the “flushing” kind. It’s called that because it makes your face flush, sometimes turning bright red. This happens because niacin opens up your capillaries, allowing extra blood flow. The flushing is mostly harmless, other than being slightly uncomfortable.
Iodine is a nutrient that can help fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. You may know it from your iodized table salt, which has iodine added to it. Iodine gained a lot of traction during the COVID-19 pandemic, as some studies say it can stop the virus from replicating. One study in particular showed that simply gargling an iodine solution helped put the COVID virus below detectable levels.
In our home, we add one drop of Lugol’s iodine to water or juice. Since the taste isn’t too pleasant, we sometimes mix it with a spoonful of raw honey or liposomal C to hide the flavor.
My list could go on and on, but here are a few more remedies that I highly recommend to start taking once cold symptoms creep up on you:
- Chicken noodle soup. Add lots of sea salt to it. We love this homemade chicken bone broth recipe as a base.
- Probiotics and/or Sauerkraut/Yogurt. We all drink sauerkraut juice when we are sick (it must be fermented). My kids ask for this sauerkraut recipe when they don’t feel well, especially with indigestion or during a stomach bug.
- Warm coconut oil. This is great for sore throats (can gargle with it or just swallow). It can also help stomach trouble if you swallow it (helps stop infection from getting established). You can also add it to coffee or tea or cook with it for a little immunity boost.
- Onion syrup. I love this for kids’ coughs. Chop up part of an onion (I used red), pour raw honey over it, and cover and let sit at room temp for at least two hours. Scoop the liquid off the top and take it like cough syrup as needed. It actually tastes good and the kids like it!
- Thieves Essential OIl. Just one drop of Thieves essential oil with a spoonful of raw honey can really help quiet a cough and soothe a sore throat.
While we love these natural remedies when fighting a virus, it’s smart to consult with a licensed homeopath for the best remedy selection for your specific symptoms. You can learn more about homeopathy in our blog article, and we also recommend Miranda Castro’s “The Complete Homeopathy Handbook” as a guide to choosing remedies to try at home.
Here’s to Wellness
Remember, the earlier you start treating a cold or the flu, the less likely you are to develop full-blown symptoms, so don’t be stubborn! Start taking action the minute you begin feeling ill. We hope these personal tips help you on your journey to wellness!
Personal recommendations courtesy of Be Vivid You Brand Manager Kathleen Kropp.
These are all personal recommendations and do not constitute medical advice. You should always consult with your physician when ill or before starting any new supplements.