So, not to open a can of worms here, but we didn't get the flu or H1N1 vaccines. I'll leave it at that without launching into how we came to that well researched decision. However, I have done a ton of research on how to boost the kids immunity this year...We are fortunate that they seem to have solid functioning immune systems and rarely get sick - they eat healthy, take vitamins, get good rest, wash hands a hundred times a day, etc. But I wanted to bump it up even more since everyone we know has been or is sick. So here are some tips I've come across that have been helping us stay healthy.
Note: These are tips from a mom (ME) with no medical training (I was a geology/environmental studies major in college). Not a doctor. If you have flu symptoms go see your doctor, don't email ME!
1. Elderberry. An herb with anti-viral effects, elderberrry (or Sambucus nigra) has been touted as an all-natural defense against the H1N1 swine flu. Although research on elderberry's flu-fighting benefits is somewhat limited, there's evidence that this antioxidant-rich herb may reduce the duration and lessen the severity of the flu. Various products containing elderberry can be found at your local drugstore or online here. Additional info about elderberry's potential benefits here. We take Quantum Health Cold & Flu Immune Defense (Elderberry, Echinacea, Goldenseed & Vitamin C). Sam takes Irwin Kids Immuno-Zappers (Eldeberry, Zinc & Vitamin C) chewable vitamins - they taste like watermelon and Get Well Soothing Herbal Drops (Elderberry, Vitamin C & Eucalyptus). Henry gets 1/2 dropper of Elderberry Liquid Extract with water.
2. Andrographis. Anytime Will, Sam or I start to feel sick we start taking Andrographis. We like Plum Flowers Brand - Chuan Xin Lian. It has natural properties similar to an antibiotic. Note: We take the sugar coated (although said to be less effective because it is nasty if it dissolves too quickly in your mouth). We give Sam one tablet, 2-3 times a day. We take 3 tablets, 3 times a day. We just hide hers in a scoop of icecream and she is able to swallow it.
3. Obsessive hand-washing and resist all temptations to touch any part of face. We keep disinfectant handwash in our cars, bags, etc.
4. Gargle with salt water several times a day. H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling may help prevent proliferation.
5. Vitamin C & Zinc. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc
to boost absorption. We all like Trader Joe's Raspberry Flavored Zinc Vitamins.
6. Acerola - A tropical bearing fruit that contains 32x the amount of Vitamin C found in orange juice. Find it at your local health foods store.
7. Vitamin D. Get your daily Vitamin D. Best from sunshine but if you live in a rainy, dreary part of the country, take supplements.
8. Eat healthy, get some exercise & get enough sleep. Fuel your body with nutrient rich, warm foods, exercise on a daily basis and get at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night. Tired, unhealthy bodies become breading grounds for illness.