When kids go back to school, the germs come out to play. It doesn’t help that there is an increased risk for illness as the months progress: school, colder weather, holidays and diets can all play a role in decreased immune function during the Fall and Winter seasons.
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked in my practice is, “How do I keep my family healthy through the holidays?”
- Keep the family’s immune system strong!
This is so important. If our immune systems are strong, we will fight off illness. It’s really as simple as that. I recommend parents keep their cabinets stocked with the following:
- Vitamin D3 Liquid or Caps: On average 1,000 IU daily for children and 5-10,000 IU for adults is beneficial. I have tested hundreds of Vitamin D levels over the years and over 90% are deficient in Vitamin D. When having your blood draw to test levels, 30-100ng/ml is the reference range, but for optimal immune health, 60-80ng/ml is the goal.
- Organic Elderberry Syrup: Elderberry’s are naturally sweet, so the ingredients shouldn’t include any additives or flavors. Children typically take 1/2 tsp. daily for protection and adults take 1 tsp. If there is an acute illness going around, double the dose for both children and adults.
- Vitamin C 500mg Chew Tabs: These are typically well liked by children because of their light citrus flavor and don’t have extra sugars or additives like gummies. Children take 1 daily, adults can take 3 daily and double for acute illness.
- Watch the family’s diet during these months.
Knowing that the family might indulge more on holidays, use the days leading before, during and after the holiday, to load up on nutritional foods.
- Make vegetable soups, smoothies and green juice for the whole family. I will link some recipes on my blog for a quick and easy resource.
- If there’s a lot of congestion during the Winter season (stuffy nose, ear infections, sinusitis, lung congestion or asthma), minimize dairy or remove from your diet. Dairy is a common culprit for mucus buildup and the above symptoms.
- Do things that keep you feeling de-stressed!
Holidays can be hard and ware on our immune system. Maybe you can’t avoid aunt (negative) Nancy at the holiday functions, but you can help yourself de-stress prior to being in those situations.
- Start a gratitude journal and write 3 (or more) things that you are grateful for each day.
- Take time to do what lights your soul on fire. Is it cooking? Watching a new movie? Writing? Practicing Yoga? Dancing? Getting a massage? The more you stay present to your needs this holiday season, the more you will show up present to your family and friends.
If you follow the above recommendations, I can guarantee your mind and body will feel more energized, mobile and present.
P.S. If you’re still having symptoms that aren’t helped by the above regimen, seek help, keep searching for answers. My goal is to empower all humans to live in their power and make decisions best for themselves and their family.
<3 Stephanie, ARNP, FNP-C
*Always seek advice from your medical providers if you have questions. The above is general guidance for dosing, not tailored to specific populations of people.