Preventing colds and flus takes a committed and conscious effort from everyone involved with you and your children's lives. Understanding how diet, fresh air, exercise and proper elimination play a vital role in preventing colds and flus, as well as other diseases, is an essential first step in keeping your household healthy.
Pay attention to what your school age children are eating and drinking when they are away from home. Many school lunch programs are very deficient in fresh, whole foods, and instead, offer over-cooked, processed foods in poor combinations that promote mucus in the body (a condition called catarrh). Schools rarely offer children frequent opportunities to drink plenty of fluids while they are at school.
Remember, the body needs eight glasses of pure water a day, and a school age child is away from home for more than half of their waking hours. If you suspect that this situation exists in your child's school, then bring it to the school's attention. Talk to other parents and see if they share your concern. Cold and flu bugs are contagious and if your actions can help other children from succumbing to these illnesses then it will help your child as well.
Children, as well as adults, should be allowed adequate fresh air and
exercise everyday when weather permits, because this, along with the required
amount of fluids our body requires promotes health by keeping our elimination
processes in good working order. Sunshine and exercise is essential
for proper bone growth in children (see Vitamins A and D in the vitamin/mineral
guide), and promotes regular biorhythms and restful sleep in both
adults and children.
Many mothers will declare that their children don't get sick unless they go to school or have their children participate in a playgroup. This fact is true because they are open to many new viruses and germs that their bodies have to battle all at once.
This is why it is so important that our children have clear systems and avoid constipation. For when the toxins enter the body our natural immune system gets rid of the foreign substance (germs, salmonella, dirt, viruses, etc.). The liver and bowels will eliminate the toxins only if they are clear and moving.
Washing hands, using the toilet when needed, drinking plenty of water, using tissues and skipping playgroup the week of an illness will help to prevent these contagions.
During the cold and flu season, there are certain herbs and foods
that can help to prevent illness. They include Echinacea, Goldenseal, Garlic,
Astralagus, and Onions. See a detailed list of healthy cold preventing foods here and the Herbs for Kids site for more information.