A Note from Dr. Natalie: Winter Sickness

Winter Sickness: Upper Respiratory Viruses and Influenza

Dr. Natalie

Having a sick child in the house can be so stressful. Symptoms in children can affect almost every part of the body, from high fever to body aches to stomach pains and even pinkeye. Flu can cause fevers that only lessen with Motrin and Tylenol, won’t break, and come back quickly. What can you do immediately to help?

They are like tuning pegs for your body, helping keep it in balance. I recommend the following to my patients:

Try: Oscillococcinum
Take 1 tube daily for prevention, 3 tubes daily if starting to get sick. Add to your kids’ water bottles and shake. They can drink it all day - safe for all ages.
Try: Cold Calm  and/or Chestal Kids 
Both are helpful for symptom management.

Vitamin C
It is no coincidence that winter is citrus season. Your body simply needs extra Vitamin C. Eat oranges, grapefruit, or kiwi daily. Red peppers are also full of Vitamin C. Put some lemon slices in your water or tea.
Try: Vitamin C & Zinc Liquid

Zinc is involved in so many immune system reactions.
Try: Nature’s Way Zinc Gummies
Try: Trace Minerals Zinc Gummies

Boosts immunity and tastes yummy. Many good combination products exist to help your child get an immune edge.
Try: Immune Improver Gummies
Try: JoySpring Vitamin C+ Zinc

Garlic and onions are both members of the allium family and contain many bioactive products that help when we are sick. Onions are a natural source of quercetin, the antihistamine we use in Snifflex. Antihistamines help decrease inflammation and dry up secretions helping ease congestion and helping your child get some sleep.
Try: Snifflex and Snifflex Plus

US Map

Vitamin D
Anyone who lives above a line drawn along the 37th parallel (see pic to right), or who spends the majority of their days indoors, needs vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is essential for immune function and it can help guard against seasonal depression. When sick, double up your Vitamin D for a few days.
Try: Barlean’s Vitamin D3 Strawberry Milkshake

Probiotics can work by “crowding out” viruses and bacteria trying to invade the body. Traditionally, we consume fermented and preserved foods for extra immune strength in the winter. However, our diets have strayed from traditional patterns as food is plentiful year-round and we have lost some of the health benefits of fermentation. The addition of probiotics can give you some mucous membrane defense.
Try: Garden of Life Organic Kids Plus Probiotic

If your child does not consume fruits and vegetables in amounts you would like, the addition of a prebiotic can help foster diversity in your microbiome which leads to improved immune function.
Try: Llama Naturals Prebiotic & Probiotic Gummies

Essential Oils
Children rely on nasal breathing more than adults so when their noses are congested sleep is difficult. You can diffuse oils (check safety for your child’s age) and run a humidifier to thin secretions. Also avoid dairy as it thickens and increases mucus production.
Try: Creekside Naturals Sniffle Sticks

Other Tips & Tricks

  • Nothing works quite as well for body aches than Epsom Salts. The magnesium decreases muscle tension and also supports the body’s relaxation response to aid in a better night’s sleep.
  • Diffuse lavender, sage, and peppermint to soothe a cough and help kids sleep.
  • Avoid foods that require a lot of energy to digest. Stick to soup (the best food for illness) and push fluids.
  • Peppermint tea can soothe a sore stomach, cough, and a sore throat. Add some raw local honey.
  • An essential oil based chest rub can at least help kids rest comfortably.
  • If you do the math, the average child has 8 viral infections a year and they last about 2 weeks to return to baseline so that equals 16 weeks of coughing between November to March. The good news is your child’s immune system is learning and by early childhood, that immunity reduces missed school days and overall illness. Pay now or pay later- the learning process cannot be skipped.

    Above all else, rest! Your kids want you to stay near them and your presence gives immense comfort. Let everything fall away and offer yourself and your energy to help them get back on their feet. You need the rest, too, so your defenses can stay up. Watch a movie, snuggle, sleep and everyone will persevere! If your child coughs longer than 2 weeks, has shortness of breath, chest pain, persistent fever, or lethargy please seek medical attention.

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