Often, parents say they dread this time of year because their child is notoriously sick due to picking up every cold at school. Then the whole family gets sick and stays that way for the entire season. It does not have to be like that. Following these simple strategies to maintain wellness throughout the season, many families have reported having a great, healthy winter.
~ Eat real, minimally process foods including seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and use coconut oil and olive oil.
~ Avoid refined sugars, because they suppress the immune system for four hours after consumption. It is no wonder kids are the sickest from October through March, because that coincides with high-level sugar consumption from some of the “sweetest” holidays.
~ Take multivitamins / mineral supplements and whole food supplements to ensure adequate vitamin A, C and zinc levels that support immune system health.
~ Take vitamin D3, with higher doses fall and winter months to compensate for lack of sun exposure. Adults should get 4,000 IU per day, children 2,000 IU and babies 400 to 800 IU. For asthmatics, vitamin D deficiency may be a consequence of prolonged inhaled steroid use. Our lungs love vitamin D and asthma attacks are very prominent all winter long, so get levels of this critical nutrient checked.
~ Take a combination product for essential fatty acids that include (read the label) ALA, GLA, EPA, DHA and oleic. Adults need 2,000 to 4,000 milligrams per day, and children 1,000 to 2,000. Dose recommendations vary due to Take Charge of Avoiding Winter Colds by Dr. Deborah Bain state of health and age.
~ Take probiotics-typical dosage is 5-10 billion for maintenance, but if suffering from allergies, gastrointestinal issues or history of antibiotic use, then 25+ billion CFU multi-strain probiotics are needed.
~ Specific herbal and homeopathic products are also available to boost immune system health and reduce the likelihood of a full-blown viral infection, including elderberry, which research has shown to stop viral replication. It can be used once daily as prevention or three or four times daily for treatment.
~ Sambucus contains elderberry, echinacea, zinc and vitamin C as ingredients and is also effective. Homeopathic medicines including Boiron’s Briar Rose, is another winter remedy and immune strengthener, as are specific products to aid in treatment and prevention of flu symptoms such as Boiron’s Influenzium and Oscillococcinum and King Bio’s Multi-Strain Flu Relief. Add one of these products to regular immune support when the flu is circulating.
None of these products or remedies is a substitute for hand washing and avoiding the “direct hit” of someone coughing in our face, so cover those coughs and take care; everyone will benefit.
Deborah Bain, M.D., FAAP, ABIHM, is a doctor of pediatrics and owner of Healthy Kids Pediatrics, in Frisco. For more information, call 972-294-0808 or visit HealthyKidsPediatrics.com.