How to Boost Immune System When Sick! 15 All Natural Remedies to Get Your Family Through Cold and Flu Season
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical expert. The content I share in this post is from my own research and what I do for me and my family. You should consult your physician before trying new supplements.
Kids are exposed to new viruses every day especially during the cold, winter months when everyone spends more time indoors breathing the same re-circulated air. Children build up a defense against these viruses each time they are exposed, but it’s a process that develops over time. We can assist their little developing immune systems by giving them a super boost to fight off viruses and infections and to lessen the duration and symptoms when they do get sick.
How to Boost Immune System When Sick! Here are some of my favorite all natural immunity boosting, cold and flu supplements that you can give to your kids. They are all natural, safe and effective. You should give these supplements to your kids at the start of sickness to reduce symptoms and duration.
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15 All Natural, Immunity Boosting Cold and Flu Remedies for Kids
Did you know that 80% of your immune system lives in your gut? (Source). Giving your kids a daily probiotic is one of the most powerful things you can do for their developing immune systems. Probiotics help boost the good bacteria thus boosting their immune systems which is super important especially during cold and flu season.
You especially want to give your kids extra probiotics while they are on antibiotics. While the antibiotics are killing off the bacterial infection in their bodies, it’s also killing the good gut bacteria that makes up a healthy immune system. You want to give probiotics either 2 hours before or 2 hours after giving antibiotics so the antibiotics have a chance to do it’s job and kill off the bad bacteria that is causing the infection.
According to Dr. Mercola, probiotics and a healthy gut flora have many health benefits for kids:
Influences your child’s metabolism and weight
May help reduce potential adverse side effects from childhood vaccinations
Supports brain health during growth and development
Helps digest food and produce certain nutrients
Helps support urinary tract health
I like to give my kids Flora Toddler Probiotic. It comes in powder form and it’s good for babies up to age 5. It has 3 billion cells and 6 infant/toddler specific strains. You can mix 1/4 teaspoon in any liquid. I mix it into my kid’s smoothies, oatmeal or sippy cups.
For the older kids, I use Flora Children’s Probiotic. This is designed for children ages 5-15. It contains 5 billion cells and 7 strains of friendly bacteria. This product comes in pill form, but you can empty the capsule into a liquid if your child can’t swallow pills yet.
All Flora products are Non-GMO Verified, certified organic, gluten free and Kosher.
Cod Liver Oil
It doesn’t sound too appetizing, but Cod Liver Oil has tons of health benefits. The greatest benefit of Cod Liver Oil is it has high levels of fat soluble vitamin’s A, D and K which aides in immune support and overall vitality. Fat soluble vitamins help our bodies absorb minerals from the foods we eat. Cod Liver Oil is high in Omega 3’s and fatty acids like EPA and DHA which are essential for brain development, intelligence and vision.
Weston A. Price , a dentist in the 1900’s that traveled the world to study nutrition, found that cultures with the highest longevity rates consumed 10 times the amount of vitamin A and D compared to modern diets. Their diets consisted of foods that many don’t have access to today such as intestines, brain, lungs, thymus, fish liver, fish heads, fish eggs and fat from various game animals. Unless your kid’s diet consists of animal organs and fish heads, Cod Liver Oil is the next best thing to supplying them with the abundance of nutrients these foods provide.
So what kind of Cod Liver Oil should you give your kids? You want to be certain that you purchase the highest quality of cod Liver Oil. Many brand’s use chemical solvents and tamper with the vitamin content. To give your kids a low quality Cod Liver Oil, you’d be wasting your time and money.
The brands that I like for my family are Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil It isn’t the greatest tasting supplement but it’s tolerable. These brands make different flavors you can choose from. I usually mix it in their favorite juice and give it to them in a syringe or you can give it to them straight out of a medicine cup. You’re giving just a small amount so it’s doable.
Every fall the sun sets further and further into the south and the days get shorter. The sun’s rays diminish in duration and intensity. This is when D3, ”the sunshine vitamin” comes in handy.
According to Dr. Randall Neustaedter, a pediatric doctor specializing in homeopathic and Oriental medicine, vitamin D is one of the most important supplements you can give your kids during the fall/winter months.
Some benefits of adequate vitamin D are
- Immune Function
- Bone growth
- Reduction in Asthma
- Reduction in allergies
- Reduction of tooth decay
- Reduction of Diabetes
I give my kids Carlson Super Daily D3 if I order it through Amazon, or ChildLife Vitamin D3 if I need an emergency bottle and buy it in a health food store. I only give it during the fall and winter months when the “sunshine vitamin” has diminished. During summer and spring, I make sure my kids get plenty of sun exposure.
Appropriate dosage of Vitamin D according to Dr. Neustaedter is:
Infants – 400-800 mg
Toddlers and elementary school age kids – 2,000 mg
Teens – 4,000 mg
Echinacea is an herb that naturally boosts immunities. It has been proven to decrease the frequency, duration and symptoms of common childhood illnesses. I use Echinacea for my kids as a preventative measure and to treat when they are sick. According to Dr. Sears, there are a few different ways to use Echinacea to prevent illnesses.
- 8 weeks on, 2 weeks off
- 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off
- continuous use – research shows that it is safe and effective to continuously use echinacea (source)
For my kids I opt for the 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off unless someone has symptoms of an illness, were exposed to someone who was sick, or we’re in an enclosed, germy area. Then I will keep them on longer. I keep them all on the same schedule as it’s just easier to keep track of.
Elderberry is a natural plant with tons of medicinal properties. It’s a potent antiviral that dates back to prehistoric times. It has been shown to decrease the duration of colds and flu if taken at the first sign of illness.
Elderberry has antiviral properties and can prevent and treat flu. It has been proven to shorten the duration of flu symptoms after 2 days of taking it. (Source).
I like to give my kids added vitamins and minerals during the fall and winter months. I give my kids ChildLife Multi Vitamin & Minerals. It contains 16 essential vitamins and the primary minerals to assist little bodies as they are developing. For the younger kids I administer the liquid through a syringe while the older ones drink it straight out of a medicine cup. It mixes well if you need to mix it in a liquid but it tastes good.
I was introduced to Guna flu this year as a natural flu prevention. Guna flu is a homeopathic, low dose medicine that contains natural ingredients to help prevent the flu. It also lessens cold and flu symptoms and duration if your kids do get sick.
To use as a flu prevention, take 1 tube every week for 6 weeks. Babies take half a tube every week for 6 weeks.
Oscillococcinum is another homeopathic remedy that relieves symptoms and lessens duration of flu symptoms. It’s effectiveness is greater if taken at the onset of symptoms.
Homeopathic medicine is a safe alternative method to treating illness. It uses natural plant, animal or mineral sources, in a very dilute form, to stimulate the natural healing process. It helps your body recognize what’s going on and do what it needs to do to heal. They are tiny little pellets that dissolve in the mouth. They are super easy and convenient to give. Homeopathic medicine is very individualized but if you get the right medicine that matches your child’s symptoms, the results can be amazing.
Here are some common homeopathic medicines I give to my kids
Pulsatilla for colds with thick nasal discharge
Belladonna to treat high fevers
Ferrum Phosphoricum for low or mild fever
Spongia Tosta for croupy cough
Ipecacuanha – for nausea and vomiting
Arsenicum Album – to treat diarrhea
I hope these supplements keep your little ones healthy this cold and flu season. Check out Super foods that boost immunity
What are your “go-to” supplements that you use fo your family? Leave a comment below.
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