So we’re smack in the middle of flu season and people are getting sick right and left. While there are some seriously nasty bugs out there, rather than being fearful, it is wise to be proactive. There is so much we can do to strengthen our immune systems naturally!
For over four years, these tips have kept my family out of the doctor’s sick waiting room. Of course if we needed medical attention, we would go to the doctor, and so should you. But we have found when our immune systems are strong, they take care of us.
And not so funny story, I have been mildly sick for two days because I didn’t listen to my own advice! 🤣 So read on and learn from both my research and my mistakes, lol.
Disclaimer: I’m not a health care professional, and none of this is medical advice. These are simply common sense tips that have helped my family stay healthy. There are many variables in individual health and your results may not be the same as mine. Do your due diligence in deciding what to try for your own household.
Second warning! 😆 There is a lot of information in this post, please don’t be overwhelmed. If you don’t have time right now, just Pin it for later. After you read it, pick one thing to try. Next week, try something else. It’s always Baby Steps for the win. 🏆
#1 Respect the Fever
When I was a new mom, one of the first things I remember getting from the pediatrician was instructions on dosing Motrin and Tylenol for fever. I remember the feeling of “Oh good! There’s something I can DO!” So, I followed the protocol, despite the endless ear infections and rounds of antibiotics every time my son got sick.
Finally I read an article from The Healthy Home Economist which opened my eyes to this fact: When you lower a fever you halt the body’s immune response. Doing this gives germs a chance to multiply, often leading to a secondary infection.
Long story short, I threw out the Tylenol and Motrin and my kids have never had another ear infection. My six year old has never had an ear infection at all. What happened when I told the pediatrician that I wasn’t giving my kids fever reducers? He said “Good!” and then expressed the same view as Dr. Sears did in this quote:
Bottom line, when you let the body do it’s job, it does it quite well. Also, think long and hard about the consequences of any product that messes with the natural immune response. Ask your doctor when fever should really be a cause for concern.
#2 Respect the Body’s Need to Rest
Our modern existence demands go, Go, GO! Not only of adults, but of children too. I understand, there is huge pressure to get to work and school. Not to mention the push to get our kids to the lessons and after school activities we already paid for. 🤦♀️
The problem is, sometimes we just really need to sleep. I noticed when I started homeschooling my kids, they bounced back much quicker because they could just sleep in when they felt the need to. There was no more pushing until they reach death’s door, they just rest when their bodies tell them to. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you homeschool and work from home for the sake of your immune system. 😆 But I am suggesting practicing being mindful of the cues our bodies are giving us.
And yes, this is what bit me in the butt this week. I got up at 4AM to get things done, when my body is used to a 6:30 wake time. I was emotionally stressed out on top of it. Next day I was exhausted but blamed it on hormones and kept pushing. I did a high intensity workout when by body was saying it wanted something slower. The following day: sore throat and headache! 🤢
If you are feeling run down, is there an unnecessary activity you can skip? Can you go to bed a couple hours early? Getting into a deep, restorative sleep may be just what you need to keep from getting really sick. When you think about it, rest resistance costs us money and productivity in the long run. Which is better, three extra hours of sleep or a week of being miserable? It’s a lesson I’m going to remember next time!
#3 Stay Away from Sugar
Sometimes when we start feeling crappy, we want to comfort ourselves with food. Why is it that salad doesn’t sound good when you have a cold but a cinnamon chip scone sure does? 😜 Perhaps we’ll never know, but we do know that giving into sugary cravings is really bad for the immune system.
Dr. Linus Pauling (a two time Nobel Prize winning scientist), discovered that vitamin C is needed by white blood cells to engulf and absorb viruses and bacteria. From this research he came up with the “take vitamin C for a cold” theory. In order to continue to destroy bacteria and viruses, the white blood cells have to keep accumulating vitamin C.
This is where the problem comes is: Glucose (how sugar shows up in the blood stream) and vitamin C have a similar chemical structure. It’s so similar, that when a white blood cell tries to pull in more vitamin C, glucose can get substituted by mistake. If the concentration of glucose in the blood goes too high, the white blood cell’s vitamin C concentration can start to drop because of the cell is pulling in all that sugar instead of the vitamin C it needs!
At a blood sugar level of 120, the white blood cell’s ability to absorb and destroy viruses and bacteria is reduced by 75%. This blood sugar level would be easily obtained when a normal person eats sugar (cake, cookies, candy, soda or even fruit juice). Worse yet, it can take four to six hours for the vitamin C concentration in the white blood cells to recover. By that time we are craving more sweets, right? 🍩😱
Most of us love our sugar, but if we are run down or fighting off a bug, it’s probably not be the best time to have a treat. Oh, incidentally, the night before I woke up sick this happened: Cashew Milk Salted Caramel Ice Cream. It was to die for, and the next day I felt like I was dying.😜 Another lesson learned the hard way. 😆
#4 Care for the Gut
You probably have heard that probiotics are important, but did you know that 75-80% of your immune system lives in you gut? Keeping the gut healthy is super important to our overall health. You can read more about probiotics and gut health in this post: 4 Ways to Get Probiotics Into Your Diet . Read next or pin for later. 😉
#5 Use Immune System Support Proactively
When I started using Young Living essential oils four years ago, I was amazed at how quickly we recovered from any stress on the immune system. I quickly learned that to get great results with oils we need to be proactive. At the first sign of a stressed immune system, we get those oils out and use them.
Here are some of my Go-To’s:
Immupower EO: This is a powerful blend of Hyssop, Mountain Savory, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Oregano, Clove, Cumin, and Dorado Azul. I dilute it in a roller bottle with a ratio of 3/4 carrier oil to 1/4 essential oil. Because it is a “hot” blend, the bottom of the feet is a great place to apply. FYI, Immupower isn’t recommended for children under 6.
Thieves EO: I wrote a whole post about Thieves here! We usually have Thieves going in our diffusers every night during the fall and winter months. It feels so good to wake up after a night of breathing in those immune supporting molecules.
Oregano & Thyme: Two amazing oils that are even better together. I also use these in a roller bottle on the bottom of the feet. The recommended dilution for both of these oils is 3/4 carrier and 1/4 essential oil, but a higher dilution ratio may be needed for smaller children. Once again, Oregano is a very hot oil and the bottom of the feet is the safest spot to apply.
Inner Defense Softgel Capsules: These are a really amazing supplement from Young Living. They are designed to reinforce systemic defenses, creating an unfriendly terrain for icky things like yeast and fungus. The capsules contain essential oils like Oregano, Thyme, and Thieves which are rich in thymol, carvacrol, and eugenol for immune support. This isn’t something I take very often, but I always have it on hand for when I feel like I really need the boost.
If you don’t have Young Living oils yet, pop over here to learn more. They are such an awesome tool to have in your wellness arsenal.
And I just couldn’t forget…
Elderberries: This study showed when used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, elderberry extract appeared to reduce the duration of the flu, with symptoms being relieved on an average of four days earlier. 🙌 It doesn’t hurt that kids usually have no problem taking a spoonful of elderberry syrup. Personally, I love adding Young Living’s Thieves and Lemon Vitality to elderberry tea with raw honey or Manuka Honey.😋
Yes, I snuck in a couple more on you with the graphic! HA! Remember, don’t be overwhelmed. The good news is you have lots of choices and you are empowered!
Whatever natural immune boosters you choose to use for your family, use them proactively. If you feel run down or your child complains of feeling puny, get right on it! Roll some oils on the bottom of the feet, get the diffuser going, dole out the elderberry syrup, take a nap. Don’t give those bugs a chance to take hold.
I hope these tips help you keep your immune systems healthy and strong! Do you have anything to add? What tip will you be trying first? I look forward to hearing from you.