Natural Holistic Health Newsletter – Vol. 1, Issue 01 – Sept. 09, 2013
It's Almost Fall!
Ok, I'll admit it, Autumn is my absolute favorite season! The weather is cooling off for many of us, kids are back in school and winter, unbelievably, is right around the corner – again! I thought this may be a good time to share some terrific pointers with you on how to keep your kiddos healthy this winter. If you don't have children, that's ok because these tips work for us adults too! I hope you enjoy the article and please do let me know what you think! ~Dee
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Who Ya Gonna Call? GERMBUSTERS!
Winter is closer than many may want to admit. Even in the fall, the weather turns chillier and that coolness in the air can foreshadow a rough few months as far as health is concerned.
Don’t panic, though. You can take precautions to keep your child (and you!) safe and healthy from now throughout the end of the winter season.
An ounce of prevention (and all that) is the name of the game.
This winter, do all that you can to not only keep the kids healthy, but also yourself as well.
As long as one person in the household is sick, everyone else has the potential to catch it. Germs love company.
Being the Family Germbuster
Now, you won’t prevent all illness. While germs slow down in cold, they do love warm, moist places. Kids have no shortage of these: nasal passages, the mouth, the ears and cuts and scrapes. Anywhere a germ can enter and multiply, it will. It sounds grosser than it really is. The bottom line, however, is being prepared to meet these germ challenges when they occur.
Keep reading to find out the best way to prepare for winter health. From visiting your pediatrician to watching what you eat, this report is chock-full of tips to keep you and your family on top of the germs instead of under them.
It’s also important to know what products to have on hand when the germs strike. Using the right techniques can shorten the duration of the illness, as well as make your child more comfortable as they recover.
What are some winter health issues?
It’s not just the illnesses to think about, but also how your body operates in the cooler months. Protecting your body inside and out can keep the germs away. Find out specifics for different health needs during this time.
When you finish reading what you find here, you and your child(ren) will be ready to go out and have fun this winter instead of worrying about what germs are lurking about. So, let’s get ready to face the cold and start germbusting!
Preparing for Winter Health
Visit the Doctor
Before winter gets into full swing, make a trip to the pediatrician. He may have ideas to help your child receive the best preventative care around. Here are a few.
Get a flu shot – With the H1N1 around, flu shots now combine what was the regular flu vaccine with the H1N1 so your child receives protection for as many influenza strains as possible. Find out from your pediatrician when the flu vaccine will be available and schedule one for your child. Let your doctor know if your child is allergic to eggs or any other component of the vaccine.
Get a thorough check-up – Check to be sure that your child is starting off the season healthy. If there are any health issues, deal with them before they can be complicated by winter illness. If your child suffers from any condition like asthma, eczema or allergies that could be aggravated by colder weather, ask about medicines that might be useful to have on hand.
Ask about germ transmission – Germs live on surfaces and people. They can invade your body and lead to infections. Viruses are seen a lot in the winter, like colds and flu (influenza). The one thing that you should know about viruses is that they have no cure in the traditional sense. With bacterial infections, you can kill off the harmful bacteria with specific products. For viruses, medication and natural remedies treat the symptoms until the virus runs its course. And, there are many strains of the common cold (rhinovirus), so two people may both have a cold but different strains.
Take all the advice you can get from your pediatrician for you and for your child. Kids can be actively involved in their own health as well.
Practice Simple Health Tips
Most of the time, preventing the spread of germs comes down to practicing a few simple measures. These are tips that any child can follow to help keep themselves and their friends safe. Some you may already know but others might be new.
Wash your hands – Hand washing is the single best way to stop germ transmission, especially in kids. They are always wiping their nose or sneezing and then touching hands, eyes, noses, mouths and the like. Teach kids to wash hands after using the bathroom, taking out the garbage, sneezing, coughing or touching a friend or family member who is sick. How long should you wash? Have them sing Happy Birthday twice through and that should do it.
Carry antibacterial wipes – Wipes are great in a pinch when you can’t get to soap and water. For small kids who can’t wash their own hands, use these wipes to remove dirt and germs. Wipes are also great to keep around the house when someone is sick. Use them to disinfect doorknobs, cabinet handles, toilet seats, shared toys and any other surface that might contain cold or flu germs.
Get plenty of rest – A tired body is more susceptible to illness. You lower your immunity when your body doesn’t have time to restore itself through sleep. Put kids to bed at an early hour so that they can get at least eight hours of snoozing time each night.
Avoid sharing – Kids are taught to share but they don’t have to share their germs. Cold and flu bugs will spread like wildfire through your home when they are introduced into the body. How do they do that? It happens when you share cups, utensils, straws and anything else used by a sick person. To avoid that, give each person a reusable water bottle. Kids can use them at school instead of the water fountain. Give each child their own cup and discourage sharing spoons and forks when one kid is sick. Also discourage kids from sharing these things with their friends.
Stay warm – When your child goes outside, be sure to wrap them up warmly. They don’t have to be so snug that they can’t move, but they need to hold in body heat to avoid getting a chill or worse.
Avoid sick people – When someone is sick, quarantine them in the house. This can be hard for kids so make sure they have a lot to keep them busy as they recuperate. Kids need to avoid sick friends until they are sure that they are germ free. It’s also best to keep infants away from sick people.
Learn how to cough and sneeze – With kids, you might wonder how germs get around so fast and so easily – but have you ever seen a kid cough? Teach your child how to use coughing etiquette. The best ways to avoid the spread of germs are turning their head to cough and sneeze (hopefully away from others), using a tissue or using the inside of their arm. If they do happen to use their hands, have hand sanitizer available for quick germ elimination.
Stay hydrated – The more moisture you have in your system, the easier it is to keep your skin from cracking and bleeding. Cracks in the skin are another way that germs can enter the body. Water is the best choice but juices work as well. Avoid soft drinks with caffeine which can dehydrate your child.
Blow out the germs – Let your house air out a little each day. Most families don’t routinely raise their windows when the weather is cold, but it can help remove stale germy air and pollutants from the house to lower the risk of getting sick.
Change your toothbrush – When your child recovers from an illness, give them a new toothbrush. You may not know it but if your child’s cold keeps coming back, it could be because they are re-infecting themselves each time they brush their teeth.
Keep sick kids at home – Parents have to work, but sending a sick kid to the daycare or school only increases their chances of infecting someone else’s child. Keep them home until they are fever free for at least 24 hours. There is less chance they are contagious to others this way. (by the way, this advice applies to adults also. If you're sick, stay home and avoid passing it around the office which may end up with you catching it again!)
Avoid places that germs breed – With kids, this will be any place that they gather. During the winter, try to cut down on visits to community playgrounds, malls, and parties (if you can!).
Eating for Winter Health
You are what you eat, they say. So, if you want your child to be healthy this winter, try choosing foods that are designed to keep you well and kicking. Antioxidants are designed to fight back against free radical damage in the body. For parents, that might mean eating to help get rid of wrinkles. For kids, it might mean boosting their immune system so that they stay more germ free this winter season. Here are some suggestions for changing your family’s diet.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables – Berries contain plenty of antioxidants. And, since there is not a recommended daily amount of these good substances as yet, load your child up with as many as they will eat. Vitamin C is better the natural way if you can get it from foods (such as citrus fruits). Green leafy and cruciferous veggies like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage contain calcium and beta carotene also.
Raw is best. Introduce your child to the natural taste of these foods before trying dips with them. Cooking reduces the number of nutrients the body receives from the food. Try to get them to eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables.
Cut out soft drinks – Caffeine can dry you out. If you want kids to stay hydrated, stick with water and 100 percent fruit juices. Even with the juice, try for less than two cups a day because of the sugar content.
Give them natural energy – Just because it's cold doesn’t mean that kids will slow down. In fact, you don’t want them to. Exercise can also help increase immunity. Feed their enthusiasm for play with foods that will keep them energized throughout the day. Don’t forget your protein. Protein prevents constant hunger. Try something creative like turkey and cheese rollups.
Fat is important so try and make it the healthy kind. Peanut butter is a favorite for kids. Spread it on some celery and add raisins. Trail mix can be eaten anytime and it full of healthy nuts, whole grain pretzels and some chocolate for good measure.
Cut the sugar – Kids love sugar, no matter what time of year it is. Unfortunately, sugar makes the body acidic inside. Germs love an acidic environment. Give them less to feed on by keeping sugar levels low this winter.
Consider supplements – It’s hard for some of us to get all of our daily nutrients from food. A well-rounded multivitamin made for kids can supplement their daily diet. Ask your pediatrician about which are the best choices. Try gummy vitamins. They are fun for kids to eat and easy to get them to take each day – no pill swallowing involved.
What to Have on Hand at Home
Preventative medicine involves keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet as well as a well-stocked kitchen. Kitchen, you say? Over-the-counter medications are not the only remedies for germs that work. But, we’ll get to that in a minute.
While it is probably not possible to prepare for every eventuality, there are some illnesses that you know will be more likely to occur: colds and flu, for example.
Let’s begin with the medicine cabinet. What kinds of things are recommended?
Cough drops – The change in the weather can lead to your child developing a dry cough. Having cough drops available can soothe a tickle in their throat when the cough starts.
Saline spray – Dry skin around the nose is not uncommon when kids play outside a lot. They often forget their hats or scarves when they play at school. Kids don’t like to be hindered when they are having fun. Cracked skin around and within the nose is another entry for germs. Saline spray can moisturize this area at the first sign of irritation to prevent discomfort and pain.
Neti pot – Just about everyone has seen these. The purpose is to flush out the sinuses and reduce swelling in nasal passages. It is a natural way to keep germs out of your system and reduce the duration of a cold. Kids may like the idea of water going in one nostril and coming out the other.
Cold medicine – Remember that with viruses like rhinovirus (common cold) and influenza (flu), you are treating the symptoms. Common indicators include runny nose, sneezing, body aches, fever, sore throat, sinus congestion and chest congestion. If you try to account for all indications you will have enough medicine to open your own pharmacy. For kids, stick with multi-symptom liquid medicines. They often complain about not feeling well when they begin to show more than one sign of a cold at a time.
Petroleum jelly – Skin can get dry. Petroleum jelly can be applied and seal in any moisture in the skin. It is also a good barrier against the wind and potential skin cracking for your child when they bundle up to go outside to play.
Fever reducers – While your child has a fever, they are still considered contagious. Try chewable Tylenol and Motrin. Alternating them may break the fever sooner.
Sunscreen – Who says that you can’t get a suntan in the winter time? If your child will be outside for any length of time, cover their exposed skin with sunscreen to prevent winter sunburn on their sensitive skin.
Antibiotic ointment – This helps cuts and scrapes from becoming a breeding ground for more germs. Wash thoroughly and then apply a thin layer of ointment.
Prescription medications – If your child has a condition (like asthma, eczema or allergies) that could get worse in winter weather, stock up on their medication so you can treat them at the first sign of need.
Now it’s time to stock your kitchen.
Natural remedies were how winter illness was treated in the past before there were commercial medicines. It is true that a child’s immunity is made stronger when they catch some germs. Parents don’t always want to expose their kids in this way, though. Another option is using natural remedies to reduce the duration of colds and flu whenever possible.
Honey – It is not recommended to give honey to anyone under one year of age. Honey contains the immunity of their makers – bees. A teaspoon of honey can help relieve the pain of a sore throat by coating the area. Add it with lemon to hot water also.
Chicken soup – It’s cliché but it works. Full of vegetables and chicken in a soothing broth, the soup can help soothe nasal passages (the steam) and also soothe your child and reduce the duration of their illness. Increase the antioxidants and vitamins in the soup by making your own.
Cinnamon – Kids love it and it's super healthy! Cinnamon is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory.
Green tea – It is full of antioxidants. Instead of plain black tea or hot chocolate, give your child a dose of this to help keep them warm during the winter and boost their immune system.
Orange juice – While it is better to eat your fruit, juices come in handy to help boost immunity and reduce duration of a cold. Choose 100 percent juice. Try varieties that contain additional vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
Check with your pediatrician about natural remedies that are safe for kids. They may be able to offer some suggestions to you. To learn about more herbs and spices that can help keep you and your children health, check out our article What You MUST Know About Herbal Medicine.
When the weather gets cold, kids don’t have to slow down. Most don’t. But, germs don’t either. Protect your child as best you can through preventative care as well as good preparation for the germs that are common in winter time.
All the preparation in the world can’t prevent germs from invading. But, when they do, you can help your child manage it so that they can continue to function and be happy and healthy. Eating well can help them even during an illness. Think back to grandma’s old remedies and put them into practice again for your child.
Check It Out
Staying healthy during the fall and winter months can be a challenge, so now is the time to take extra good care of your immune system!
What I recommend is a product by Native Remedies called ImmunityPlus. ImmunityPlus is a natural, safe and effective liquid herbal formula that is a blend of African, Asian and other herbs specifically formulated to optimize immune functioning.
It is a potent, complex remedy that contains ingredients to provide a wide range of benefits to those who want to boost their immune system to optimal functioning.
The benefits of ImmunityPlus include a liver tonic; immune system strengthening; improved body functioning; detoxification; and enhanced convalescence. This amazing remedy can be used to tone and strengthen the immune system during and after illness and is a useful overall tonic for the body.
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