Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to the doctor…

Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to the doctor…

Any parent with school age children is familiar with the “first round” of viruses that get spread as summer comes to a close and school starts back. The typical pattern begins with one child getting sick, and then spreading it throughout the house. But this does not have to be an inevitable start to every school year. There are some things you can do to help prevent getting sick, and reduce the likelihood that your child and the rest of your family contract the usual “school viruses”.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Taking in adequate fluids supports all of your bodies’ functions including the immune system. Homemade soups and broths are a great way to get in extra liquids, and also provide nutrients to support the immune system. Drink herbal teas like ginger or echinacea daily. Aim to have a bottle of clean, filtered water with you throughout the day. Avoid concentrated fruit juices and sweetened beverages, as the sugar content is harmful for the immune system.
  • Use a saline sinus rinse. Flushing your sinuses with warm salt water helps to keep mucous membranes moist which protects you from harmful microbes. There are different brands and types available such as the netipot, so look for the one that best suits your needs. The rinsing device should be cleaned well with soap and water after each use. Flushing one to two times daily is recommended.
  • Avoid sugar and processed foods. This includes products containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined grain products, and wheat flour. Studies have shown that sugar and the products that rapidly convert to sugar decrease the body’s ability to fight off infections. Click here for some tips on eating right.
  • Eat protein with each meal. Proteins are the building blocks of the body. This includes your immune system. There are many sources of healthy proteins both animal and plant based. If you choose animal protein I recommend finding organic, clean sources for your meat.
  • Include garlic, onions, ginger, and lots of spices in your meals. Add these to your soups and vegetable dishes, as well as dips and sauces. Garlic and onions offer wide spectrum antimicrobial properties.
  • Eat a rainbow at each meal. Fruits and veggies that are high in vitamins C, A, and phytonutrients support the immune system and can help you avoid getting sick. Choose more leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower), peppers, sweet potatoes and squashes. Aim for three to four servings of fruits and four or more servings of vegetables each day.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep. If you are sleep deprived it is impossible for your immune system to function optimally. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Establish a good evening routine to get your body ready to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep you may have other issues that need to be addressed.
  • Exercise. Just 20 minutes of mild exercise 5 days per week has been shown to improve the immune system. If you are feeling run down you should avoid overexertion such as training for endurance events. This will lower your immune defenses and can actually make you more likely to get sick.

I also suggest a few dietary supplements during this season to ensure that you and your family stays as healthy as possible. Below are some of the things I recommend to prevent illness and boost the immune system.

  •  Multivitamin/mineral–most adults and children can benefit from a good broad spectrum multivitamin. Especially at a time when the immune system is being stressed.
  • Vitamin D–It is best to have a vitamin D level checked prior to starting supplementation, but 5000iu daily for a short period of time is usually considered safe and will improve your immune response.
  • Fish oil 1000-2000mg daily
  • Buffered Vitamin C 1000-3000mg daily
  • Zinc 30-50mg daily
  • Probiotics 30-50 billion organisms daily

All of the above supplements come in liquid or powder form for children, and the dose should be adjusted based on the age of the child. I recommend purchasing supplements from a reliable source such as Pure Encapsulations, Metagenics, or Thorne. If you would like to buy from our online store you may use the practitioner code “kchavers” to receive discounts and free shipping.

Make this school year one that is happy and healthy!