The 'New Normal' means the return of the usual seasonal sneezes and sniffles.
However, this September, we may all be feeling more anxious than usual about our family's health and immunity.
So here are a few tips that could be helpful.
Research tells us that stress can negatively impact our immune systems.
Colder weather, adjusting to term time routines, tired children, closer contact with friends and families and busier lifestyles can create the perfect environment for circulating microbes to invade and take hold.
Try not to plan too much, too soon and learn to say no when you feel overwhelmed - ease your children in gently to the start of this academic year.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Reduced sleep increases the chances of falling sick when exposed to a virus and slows our recovery too. During sleep our immune system produces chemicals, including cytokines, which are needed to reduce inflammation, infection and stress levels.
A Cup of Tea?
Try a cup of chamomile tea (you can sweeten with honey) to help induce relaxation and sleep.
It contains apigeninin, an antioxidant that binds with receptors in the brain and can help sleep and calm an anxious child.
Children - take the tea 30 minutes (adults 45mins) before bedtime.
Colourful Mediterranean Diet
Lots of fresh colourful and green leafy vegetables and fruit.
The internet is awash on the immune boosting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, with plenty of healthy lunchtime snacks and meals suggestions.Give some a try but perhaps steer away from raw, cold foods as the weather gets cooler.
Hummus is a great snack and a favourite recommendation of mine, with raw garlic, tahini, chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil & lemon juice (plus add anything else to adjust to your child's taste!)
Raw garlic has potent anti-viral qualities. Both tahini and chickpeas are loaded with zinc and magnesium and lemon juice is high in vitamin C. Olive oil is an anti-inflammatory and is high in antioxidants. It's the definition of an immune system powerhouse!
Chicken or mushroom soup with herbs such as Thyme, Rosemary and Sage is soothing and hydrating for a poorly child. The fragrant herbs themselves provide immune support, especially to the upper respiratory system.
Picky eater?A common issue and it can become incredibly stressful. Choose your battles - a good children's multi vitamin and mineral tablet of jelly chew can suffice and give you some peace of mind. Flavoured omega oils are great too.The fat soluble vitamins A, D and E plus Vitamin C and Zinc can help boost immunity, so look for one that focusses on these and immune health. Vitamins derived from food sources, or liposomal suspensions are preferable as they have better bioavailability when ingested, but can cost more.Alternatively, if you're not keen on the pills, turn to your kitchen cupboard; a salad or vegetable dressing of honey, fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, wholegrain mustard and extra virgin olive oil offers a healthy dose of immune boosting vitamins, fats and minerals and tastes great.
The digestive microflora provide crucial support for immune health and development.
Try to include fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut, or consider adding a probiotic supplement if easier. (The capsule can be opened and the granules disguised in a smoothie or cooled porridge ….)Exercise, fresh air and socialising.
A dose of fresh air, running around in the playground and having fun can’t be topped.
Research shows regular, moderate-intensity exercise enhances the ability of the immune system to respond to infectious threats.
Playing outside in the fresh air increases our oxygen intake. This assists our immune defences.
If the sun is shining and its warm enough to expose your skin thats even better - as it will boost vitamin D synthesis too.
Laughter is medicine; it helps boost our immunity by increasing the production of anti-infection antibodies and T-cells in the blood that help protect us.
Keep extremities and the kidney area warm
Discourage bare feet, exposed midriffs and going to school or bed with wet hair.
For that added natural boost I encourage my clients to turn to herbs.
A traditional remedy used over thousands of years and there’s a wealth of literature for you to look into.
For children, I tend to keep things simple with our syrups and teas.
A few suggestions from my range are;
This can work very nicely as a flu / cold preventative, starting on a daily dose one week prior to school starting and continuing for a couple of weeks.
If symptoms of a cold/ flu occur the dose is altered.
Helps to combat and soothe a sore throat, congestion and the start of a cold.
Combats and soothes an irritating cough. Especially beneficial in the middle of the night as a natural alternative to ease coughing.
Thyme infused in Honey
Put dried thyme in honey, leave for a couple of weeks and filter off.
A spoonful a day helps protect the respiratory passages and soothes a sore throat. Lovely in a warm drink or dressing.
A blend of ‘Breathe Easy' Essential Oils
such as eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint and lavender can be put in a steam room diffuser or on a tissue close by, to assist respiratory immunity and clear breathing.
These can be tricky for children if they don't like the taste. Try adding liquorice root for its soothing properties and sweet taste due to inulin. Alternatively, try honey.
Use local herbs - everything we need is on our doorstep.
Fresh or dried, use individually or combine.
For Fevers or the start of a Cold; Yarrow flowers, Chamomile, Elderflower, Lime blossom, Peppermint, Catnip.
Colds and Flu and Cough; Echinacea, Lime blossom (first day) , Ginger, Cinnamon, Hyssop, Elecampane, Peppermint.
Pippettes Farm Protection Tea - contains Lemongrass, Ginger, Persian Limes and Orange Peel and helps to protect against and fight off a cold.
Pippettes Farm Digestion Tea - contains Liquorice, Peppermint, Plantain, Cinnamon and Calendula.
Whilst it settles digestion it's also a good all rounder to boost immunity too and most children love the taste.
So it won't hurt to stock up on a few herbs for teas to enjoy in the meantime and and be prepared too!
Elaine Everitt BSc(Hons) DO LicAc MGOsC MBMAS MNIMH MCPP Osteopath Acupuncturist Medical Herbalist (07587 743850)