Sunday, June 9, 2013

Natural Cold and Flu Prevention


 Winter has arrived with a vengeance here in Perth, and the sudden change in weather from super hot, to super cold (by Perth standards, anyway!), can wreak havoc with your health. After a bad start from Stephen, I am really stepping up our natural prevention methods, to try and stave off any further episodes of illness.

The first thing I've done is really refocus on having the family eat more nutrient dense foods, lots of garlic and ginger, and lots of vitamin C-containing fruits and veg, such as oranges, strawberries, blueberries and red capsicum. Smoothies are an easy way to accomplish this, as are stir-fries, and both of these are hits with the kids. I am still drinking my hot ginger tea at least once a day, and so far, so good! I am trying to make sure the kids are really well hydrated, as this has also been shown to help the immune system function properly.

Secondly, I'm reminding the kids about proper hygiene and making sure they wash their hands more frequently throughout the day. The cold virus can live for a reasonable length of time outside of the body, especially on hard surfaces like door handles and desks, so washing your hands more often is a proven way of reducing your exposure. I don't believe in "anti-bacterial" hand wash (regular soap and washing properly is just as effective and doesn't contribute to antibiotic resistance) but I do always carry a natural hand sanitizer in my bag for when I can't get to a bathroom. 

Lastly, I've just made another batch of my Elderberry Syrup, and I'm giving the kids a teaspoon a day (2 for me) as a general immune booster. This syrup will last for 2 months in the fridge, so this batch should last me through most of winter. If you can't make it yourself, there are a few good commercial ones available at the chemist or health food store. I've been using Sambucol (which is finally available here in Australia) for the past two weeks while I was trying to find some time to make my own.

And just in case you do get struck down with the lurgy, here are three more things that I use frequently:

Homemade Decongestant Balm (Vaporub)
Normal vaporub is made with a petroleum jelly base which I try to avoid, so this is a good, and effective, substitute. You could also use the same essential oils in an oil burner.

Honey
Honey has been clinically proven to be just as effective as soothing a cough as cough medicine, and is much gentler. Plus, it is naturally antiseptic, and it tastes better!

Elder, Mint & Thyme Cough Lollies
I haven't had time to make a batch of these this year, but they really work, so they are definitely on my to-do list.

Sore Throat Tea
If your throat is bothering you, make up a cup of my hot ginger tea, but add in a teaspoon each of fresh chopped sage and thyme. Let stand for 10 minutes (I make it in a thermos so it stays piping hot), then add the juice of half a lemon and sip slowly.

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Disclaimer: All content on the Chic Mummy blog is for general information purposes only. The information on the Chic Mummy blog is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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