Here at Spark we know the best way to assure a smooth cold and flu season is by supporting our body in doing what it naturally does best: keeping us healthy.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some natural and easy ways we can help our (and our children’s) immune system remain up to the task of defending us from unwanted intruders.

Essentials For Immune System Support

  1. Vitamin S: sleep is essential to all of our bodily functions, including our immune system. There is no surer way to open yourself up to infection than sleep deprivation. Set an alarm or use your phone’s     bedtime app and make sure adults are getting 8-9 hours of sleep and children 10-12 hours of sleep every day.

  2. Stay Warm: temperature changes are another often overlooked way that our defenses get breached. Make sure you leave the house well bundled and always send your child out with layers so they can dress up or down depending on their environment. Children often don’t register when they are cold and not all spaces are heated the same. It’s always better to err on the side of warmth!

  3. Elderberries: Elderberry tea or syrup is a tried and true immune system support super star. It is safe to drink daily and accepted by most kids. Add to tea, waffles, muffins, possibilities abound.

  4. Handwashing: this is the most extensively studied and MOST effective measure against colds and flu. Yes, better than flu shots and anything else you may be thinking of. So keep soaping up those hands through-out the day: before each meal or snack, after using the bathroom, after being outside or playing, after coughing or sneezing.

Now once you feel a tickle in your throat or start to sniffle, here are a few added measures you can use:

Extra Support

  1. Echinacea: Echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent and reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days. Use as tea or tea or tincture several times a day for 7-10 days.

  2. Sage tea: Also known as Salvia officianalis, sage is an antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti… pretty much anti-anything-that-feels-lousy. Brew 10-15 leaves with boiling water, cover and let steep for 10-15 min. You can also add lemon juice and raw honey (and a pinch of cayenne pepper for adults). Drink 3 times a day.

  3. Honey: raw honey has natural antimicrobial activity and is a tasty emollient that can sweetly soothe a sore throat and cough. Take straight off a spoon or add to herbal teas as needed.

  4. Essential Oils: Essential oils are powerful plant medicine powerhouses that can be used aromatically or be applied topically. When you diffuse essential oils into the environment, you are not only inhaling potent antimicrobial medicine, it also clears your space of germs preventing disease. Essential oils can be diffused every day for 15-30 min to stay healthy or used every 4-6 hours in an acute situation.

  • Another easy way to use essential oils with kids is to rub a drop (diluted) on their feet and then add socks. This method allows for easy and safe absorsion while preventing your child from perceiving the sometimes overpowering scent.

  • Great essential oils for colds and flu are: oregano oil, tea tree oil, thieves essential oil blend, eucalyptus oil, lavender essential oil, frankincense. Always use therapeutic grade oils from a reputable company and dilute properly: especially when using directly on children. For most oils 1 drop of essential oil to 1 drop of carrier oil (i.e. olive oil or coconut oil) is a safe dilution. If you’d like to explore the wonderful world of essential oils we recommend Young Living.

Hoping this helps you stay healthy and happy throughout the winter months!

Nurse Cat