Arguably one of the worst things ever is getting sick. It's no fun! I used to be fairly lax about sickness and figured if I got sick, oh well! It wasn't a big deal when I only got sick 2-3 times a year (before kids.) And then, once I became a mom I was a little overly nervous to be judged as "that person" that was over the top worried about sickness. (which is honestly silly, because I'm the one that has to deal with being sick or having sick kids so who cares what people think. 🤷🏼♀️ I guess I'm "that person" now 😂 but have stopped caring a bit because overall my little family is happier and healthier, yay! So, I guess I say go ahead and judge. :) we're all just trying to do what we think is best!) After last winter when the kids and I were sick for about 7 months straight, with maybe a week long break here or there, I've started some new habits/immune boosters to help us avoid getting hit so hard and I personally feel that they have really been working.
Don't get me wrong, I know you don't want to go too far and lock your kids up in bubble wrap so they can never strengthen their immune system, but last winter was too much! And it was pretty weird that I, as an adult, was getting sick that frequently as well, especially since I wasn't pregnant and was exercising fairly regularly. Living like that (and being the main care taker of two little ones) is draining! I also know that it's very normal for toddler age children to be sick frequently within a year and that a lot of it is inevitable, but I think there are some things we can do to help shorten those sicknesses as well as to help us as adults not catch every single bug our kids get! Since applying these habits and preventative measures for the last 9 months, we still get sick yes, but it's been dramatically cut down (frequency AND time frame) and for that, I am so grateful! And the extra nice thing is that you can use all of things while pregnant, huzzah!
*Also, as a side note, I don't profess to be a medical professional or a health genius or anything like that. I've just read a lot about different things you can try to boost your immune system and I've finally found some things that I personally feel have been working well for my family and I. (I've linked some websites throughout the post to back up some of the ideas and statements used as well as linked the specific products that I buy.) This post is not meant for me to strut around like I know everything there ever was about not getting sick, but simply to offer you my experience and how my life has changed positively since I've started incorporating these things into my life. Some of them are "duh" things or maybe even things that you find ridiculous, but once we applied all of these tips together into a lifestyle, it's made a noticeable difference for our family. :) I also found that using all of these things in conjunction with one another has been most beneficial and I can't vouch for using them one on one on their own. I added things into the mix as I learned more about them and found the combination to work well for us which is why I have the modge-podge of remedies/immune boosters that I do! Hopefully some of these things will help you guys too! ❤️ Disclaimer over!
This tip comes from my sister in law Sharla! She noticed that when she and her family consistently ate oranges (especially during flu season) they hardly got sick. Other kids would be sick at school (coughing or some even throwing up) and her girls would come home just fine, rarely, if ever, catching it. I've since tried to do better at making sure we always have oranges or cuties on hand, especially during flu season, and if I feel a bug coming on I make sure to eat one or two a day and feed them to my kids. Although I haven't found much research to back up vitamin c preventing sickness, there are studies showing that vitamin c reduces the length of sickness by a full day, so if not before catching something, for sure eat all of the oranges you can when you're sick! Yay for Vitamin C!
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
I love Apple Cider Vinegar! Although widely debated on whether or not it actually helps in the many different ways people often claim(i.e, for weightloss, diabetes etc), I have found that it does fight off some bad bacteria's that can cause infections in the human body. A few times a week I'll put a teaspoon of ACV in some orange juice and drink it 1-3 times a day. A lot of websites suggest downing it with water but my gag reflex is a little too strong right now while pregnant, but when it's in juice I can't taste it at all! It's also nice because I can hide it in my kids juice and they don't notice a thing. :) I also love that it's inexpensive and you can pick it up at any old grocery store.
Garlic is another highly debated remedy. There are various studies suggesting that it does indeed strengthen your immune system or even shorten the length of colds, but other studies declare that the current research is inconclusive and more studies need to be done. There's even debate on how to eat them in a way that is most beneficial. All I know is that in my personal experience, when I've taken these garlic gels when I'm feeling sick, somehow it helps keep things at bay. I'll have a tickle in my throat or be feeling body aches that typically signify I'm about to get sick. I'll take a few of these gels throughout the day and somehow, magically, the sickness never develops. Maybe it's placebo, maybe it's voodoo, maybe I was never sick in the first place, who knows! But I can't help but feel like it works! I guess it's up to you to decide. :)
4. Multivitamins, probiotics and colostrum
These 3 things are one of the top reasons I believe my kids have stopped getting sick quite as frequently. Everyday they take all three of these. The multivitamin and probiotic are in gummy form and the colostrum is a tablet they chew up. (I cut Rosie's in half.) As a mom, I've heard over and over again how beneficial it is for babies to have a mothers colostrum because of the health benefits and the immunity it provides. These tablets are cow colostrum, and although that sounds a little odd, I've been truly happy with the results. For awhile we were just doing multivitamins but the kids were still getting sick a ton. Once we added the probiotics and colostrum I started seeing some results and noticed longer healthy periods for my kids in between colds/infections.
I also personally take a daily women's probiotic and multivitamin (currently I'm taking prenatals instead of the latter), and have been doing that for years. :)
5. Essential oils!
I've officially crossed nto hippie territory with this but I love essential oils so much! I can't afford DoTerra prices but I've found a great cheaper version of DoTerras On Guard (which claims to support the immune system and fight off bad bacteria) called Guardian. I diffuse it throughout the day so we all inhale it while going about our day to day business and then at night I use it in roller form to apply to our chest, back of neck, spine, and soles of our feet. I've never used the actual On Guard product but the reviews of Guardian said that people who have used both didn't even notice a difference between the two products. 🤷🏼♀️ I personally love how it smells (kind of cinnamon-y) and it's such an easy way to boost your immune system. I love it!
6. Wash hands more frequently
This one may seem obvious but for me it was a learning curve to consider how frequently and WHEN I should be washing my and my children's hands. Obviously I washed my hands (and the kids) after the bathroom, when preparing food or after coughing or when someone was already sick, but I never thought about washing our hands when we first got home from running errands or play dates or before eating food. Since doing this extra hand washing (that I'm ashamed to now realize I should have been doing all along- live and learn I guess!) I've noticed that I feel healthier and have longer periods in between getting sick. If I don't have access to soap and water then I just use hand sanitizer. I know it's not as good as hand washing but it's better than nothing. :)
7. Don't share water bottles with your Little's
This one is sometimes hard to avoid but I've noticed that by packing separate water bottles when we're out and about or making sure the kids don't drink from anyone's water bottle but their own has helped us to stop sharing sicknesses. It amazed me when Kyler and I got sick about a month or two ago and miraculously our kids didn't catch it from us. I'm sure that was due to a combination of things, but I definitely think this factor helped as well. Of course I get that that can be less convenient (especially when running errands) and what mother wants to lug around a bunch of water bottles, blech! But, I do think it's been worth it to me overall to accommodate that inconvenience over the bigger inconvenience of all of us being sick all the time. 😬
(Pictured here in this bunch is some elderberry syrup which I unfortunately haven't had a chance to try yet so I didn't feel comfortable reviewing it. I have heard many positive things about it though and have heard other mom's swear by it. I'm excited to try it out soon and see how it goes!)
Well, that's it! By applying these tips and habits into our lives I've felt a definite shift in regard to how sickness affects my life as well as my family's. I don't feel as out of control as I did last year during cold and flu season and I'm glad I finally found something that works for our family. We definitely still get sick because that's just a part of life, but our sicknesses haven't lasted as long, we don't catch every single bug that's out there anymore, and they don't knock us down as hard so we don't feel as miserable as we could. Hopefully there's an idea or two that can help you and yours as well. :) If you have any other tips or remedies that have worked for you, please share!