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If you have follow me on Twitter or follow Austen’s Facebook page (which you should totally follow me on both, just saying), you know that the winter germs have hit us hard this year. In January we had a respiratory virus that put Atlas in the hospital and caused a massive influx of seizures for Austen, then a stomach virus rampage through the house, and to round out the month we all got colds.
Needless to say, it was miserable, and I’ve had enough.
So the researcher in me came out and I have spent the last week pouring myself over ways to both help build our immune systems as well as cut the sicknesses out when they do enter our doors.
So folks, I would like to introduce to you our winter medicine cabinet. And yes, I have taken the time to explain why I chose each and every thing. Because I’m a nerd like that.
- Multivitamins: In an ideal world we would get all essential vitamins and nutrients through the foods we eat, but then there are days that my children refuse to eat anything other than chicken nuggets. In short, life happens. Multivitamins help fill in the gaps that our diets leave behind. I like the Rainbow Light multivitamins because they are food based, meaning the nutrient sources are as close to those they would get in their ideal diet as possible. They also contain no sugar, no preservatives, and no artificial flavorings which make me even happier about giving them to my kids.
- Probiotics: According to Harvard Health, probiotics secrete a protective substance that some believe turn on the immune system and can help to prevent major diseases. This happens because the good bacteria balances out the bad bacteria in your gut, which can make you sick. I like the Kyo-Dophilus chewable probiotics. The vanilla flavor makes my kids think they are candy, and I don’t have to worry about refrigerating them.
- Cod Liver Oil: When I first told my family I was giving my kids cod liver oil the response was a unanimous ‘why?!’. All my grandparents remembered was being forced to take it in school when they were kids, and how awful it tasted. There was a reason they were given it in school though. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are not only great for brain health, they are also provide excellent cardiovascular and immune support. But what about the taste? Carlson Labs makes a kid version of cod liver oil, and their lemon flavor is very easily hidden in my kids morning orange juice. They never even know they are taking it.
- Essential Oils: I’ve written before about my love for essential oils. I diffuse the Plant Therapy Immune Boom every day in our house to try and boost our immune systems. I’ve also started rubbing a roller onto the kids spines every morning to see if that helps as well.
- Emergen-C: Everything mentioned above has been focused on building the kids immunity. When that isn’t enough and I get sick I turn to Emergen-C for myself. The high dosage of vitamin C has always kicked my colds in the butt, especially if I start taking it when I first start feeling symptoms emerge. The new pink lemonade flavor is my favorite, if you’re wondering.
- Elderberry Syrup: Many take elderberry syrup daily to help build immunity, but I like to save it for when we start to feel something coming on. Black elderberries offer excellent immunity support and anti-viral properties. I make mine by myself with honey and ginger. The kids love it and think it’s candy. Mom win!
- Bone Broth: I admit it took me awhile to jump on the bone broth band wagon, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to get off. Bone broth is super easy to make, is a great use for all the veggie scraps that get left behind, and is actually really good for you. It’s an awesome source of protein, the collagen supports skin health, and studies show that chicken broth in particular really does help us get over colds and illnesses faster. Plus, nothing feels better going down a sore throat than a nice warm cup of broth or tea.
- Natural Cough Syrup: Let’s face it, hearing your little ones hacking away at night is not only heartbreaking, it’s freaking annoying. Having our babies sick beside us already has parents on edge and unable to sleep peacefully, and the sound of their coughs kills any kind of rest we might get. Cough suppressors are simply a must if anyone is going to get any rest. In our case Austen is too little to take most cough medicines, and even when she is big enough we have been told to avoid anything labeled DM, PM, or benadryl unless it’s in an emergency situation due to her disease. Because of this we have decided to try and rely on natural cough medicines as much as possible to help our kids get some rest. We have tried several brands but the Hyland’s 4 Kids Cold and Cough seems to be the winner amongst the kids for taste and effectiveness.
- Garlic, so much garlic: The National Institutes of Health might say that there is insufficient evidence to support whether or not garlic helps with a cold, but from my experience it does wonders. Because of that if one of us is sick, or pretty much all winter really, we go through a lot of garlic. I’m talking a whole head in a chicken soup recipe. It’s a good thing we like the taste!
- Tylenol and Ibuprofen: And last but not least, the good ole fever suppressors. Let me start off by saying that I know fevers are not actually bad. In fact they are a good sign that your body is trying to fight whatever is attacking it. The problem in our household is that fevers also cause seizures. Austen has been known to seize with a fever as low as 99 before, so if her normal 97.6 temp rises about 98.6 I bust out these bad boys and start on an every two hour swap. It sucks, but it’s a lot better than the alternative. For Addi and Atlas though, we use these a lot more sparingly. They do not get them unless their fever reaches at or above 102.
And those, my friends, are my top ten winter medicine cabinet must haves. What does your winter medicine cabinet look like? Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping all those nasty winter germs away?