We were exposed to a LOT of germs in the month of December. We traveled to Indiana twice and both times there were people in our direct contact that were sick--both the flu and colds. The entire family that I babysit for came down with the flu, including the grandparents. Laurie babysat for our birthday date and texted half way in that she had a fever. Plus, we got an email from Olivia's preschool that there were multiple illnesses reported, including strep and the flu.
Through it all, we remained healthy.
Admittedly, Michael and I both have pretty good immune systems. Thankfully, our children seem to have followed suit. But we also do things to prevent illness. This was the approach of our pediatrician in Texas, and we have been doing these things for three and a half years now with great success.
I mentioned before that I was going to post about it, but I don't think I ever did. So here you go.
I am a HUGE believer in Elderberry. It was recommended to us by Olivia's pediatrician as an immune booster. It is sort of expensive, so I generally give it to her on days that I know she might be exposed to germy kids. So while in Texas she got it on MOPS and Little Gym days. She gets it on Preschool days now. Or on days where she was exposed to a sick person. She loves taking it, and takes it herself. She asks for it regularly. She takes 1 tsp a few times a week. If she does start to get a runny nose or sniffle or anything even remotely close to a cold, I load her up with 2 teaspoons a day. Multiple times now it has kicked the symptom within 24 hours and didn't move into a full blown cold.
Because of our success with her, Michael and I have started taking it as well. We take the pills (also ordered from Amazon) because they are cheaper. You can make your own elderberry, but I haven't gotten that crazy yet. ;) Some elderberry (mostly homemade) has local honey in it, so obviously don't give that to a child under the age of 1.
It was also recommended to us to give Vitamin D3 drops as an immune booster during cold and flu season. The bottle tells you how many drops to give. Olivia gets 8 drops in her mouth and Logan gets 6. It is berry flavored and they both love it. This is less expensive, so I try to do this every day. I was also told a while back that I had a Vitamin D deficiency and to take Vitamin D3 supplements. I take little gel caps and give them to Michael to take when I remember.
Both our Texas pediatrician and our Ohio pediatrician have emphasized just how important probiotics are. Getting probiotics from food that naturally have them is best. Unfortunately, my kids aren't going to eat sour kraut or drink fermented tea. :) I do try to give them both a yogurt daily when possible, but I also supplement with a powder probiotic. Right now Logan is using an infant one that was purchased directly from our pediatricians office, but once that is gone both kids will be using the same one. I just mix it in applesauce or put it in a drink for Olivia and Logan gets his in his bottle.
Olivia also takes a regular multi vitamin every day. We need to get Logan one, but haven't yet.
Those 3 things keep my kids as healthy as we can be. Sickness happens. Immunity needs to be built. I understand that. But we don't need to have a constant runny nose or hacking lung for the entire fall and winter season.
Olivia has been to the doctor twice for a sick visit. Once was when she had strep and the other when she had a staph infection. Neither of which could be prevented by vaccines or oils or natural remedies. Other than that, she has been relatively healthy. She's never had an ear infection (no milk for three years?), and very rarely gets a cold.
Logan hasn't had a sick visit yet. I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible.
I've already turned a few other people into elderberry believers (right, Laurie?), so I thought I'd share for anyone else who may be looking to keep their family (or themselves) as healthy as can be.