Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. See my full disclaimer here.
I’ve decided that I was born for the Caribbean.
When I meet people who tell me they live in, say, the Virgin Islands or Jamaica or Key Largo, I have to try really hard not to be sangry (this is my word for sad/angry), particularly when my parka and five layers of thermals are not adequate to hold out the hypothermia while getting the mail. Wintertime in my corner of world is a dark, gray, frigid five months, in which the entire population comes down with this year's variety of serious strains of illness. Somehow my people insist on staying here, despite my informing them that tropical paradises do exist and people live there, so should we. I have no idea how my logic hasn’t won them yet.
At least it’s pretty when it snows.
If you live anywhere with a yearly flu-fest, staying healthy- especially during postpartum when you’ve got a tiny babe with a fragile immune system- can be super tricky. Baby season is not the most ideal time to come down with all the bugs.
All these years in the northern tundra (and getting sick way more than my allotted quota) has allowed me ample time to experiment with natural cold-fighting remedies. These tricks are the top line of defense for myself and my family, and they work super well when you’re consistent with them.
Wipe Your Mouth
If you’ve been out in public, around someone sick, or in any germ-infested location, wiping around the mouth and nose with a cotton ball soaked in Hydrogen Peroxide can help keep the germs at bay. Use the over the counter version- 3% peroxide to 97% water, not the industrial strength version. This can also be done for older children.
The Trick: Do this as soon as you get home for the most effectiveness.
Use: As needed. (Not recommended for continuous use)
Lemon & Cayenne
Both lemon & cayenne pepper have multitude health benefits and can do wonders keeping you in top shape. Take this concoction daily, first thing in the morning before eating. (A warning: after drinking your mouth will hate you for a few seconds. Be warned. Also use a straw which helps slightly in directing the burn.)
WHAT YOU NEED:
- Cayenne Pepper
- Half of a Lemon (organic if possible)
- Warm Filtered water (1/4cup-ish)
Juice the lemon half, add to water, and add a shake or two of cayenne pepper. Drink up. It’s ROUGH, friends- but effective.
The Trick: This mixture works well as a preventative measure when you when you do it daily.
Scrape your tongue
Say what? Without going into too much of the science of it, there are some really interesting connections between the inflammatory immune response created by an unhealthy oral environment and the state of your overall health. Keeping your oral health in top shape can really impact your total health. Scraping your tongue gets rid of the biofilm of bacteria that develop on your tongue- which, while you’re sick, can be a contributor to your poor health. Interestingly, just brushing your tongue won’t do it. The how-to: After brushing and flossing, take a spoon and scrape along the surface of your tongue. You’ll be grossed out. But your breath will be fresher and your mouth will taste cleaner. Bacteria removed- Check.
Every morning before eating or drinking, swish a teaspoon or two of Organic Coconut oil in your mouth for 15 minutes before spitting it out, rinsing and brushing your teeth. The coconut oil pulls toxins that have built up through the night, which helps keep your mouth (and by effect your health) in top shape. Bonus: Oil pulling will (eventually) have whitening effects.
Elderberry anthocyanidins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines, which in regular language means that elderberry is an immunostimulant that can be effective against cold, flu, and bacterial and viral infections (among many other things). Daily doses of Elderberry Syrup for you and the older kids (toddler and up) should keep everyone in top shape.
Wash your hands for time rather than quality
I mean, do a good job of course. But did you know that it’s not about the soap or the heat or even the quality of the water? Wash your hands well, but more specifically, wash them long. Twenty seconds or longer- it takes a while to get all those germs off. Almost nothing is more effective than a good old hand wash- and you don’t even need a special soap.
Do these six things consistently and you may find that you drastically reduce the amount of illness that takes you down. The six tips above are specifically for keeping your immune support strong, rather than fighting off an infection once it hits. Keep an eye out for more posts on the natural remedies you need to keep that bug from getting the best of you- and baby too.
The trick: Consistency. And if possible, stay away from anti-bacterial soaps. I recommend Dr. Bronners Castile Soap for purity-just know that it's concentrated and goes a long way.
What do you use to stay healthy while everyone is getting sick? I'd love to hear in the comments below!