This nasty flu is making its way through our homeschool. The children are miserable, school work isn’t getting done, and our normally organized days are out of control. Any advice on how to get everyone back to health quickly and into a workable routine?
Like most illnesses go, when one child comes down with it, the others are sure to follow. Same goes with the flu… especially when there’s a group of kids involved.
Now, you know how to keep from spreading the flu. You do your best to isolate the sick child from the rest of the family, you encourage coughing, sneezing, and blowing noses in tissues, everyone washes their hands frequently, and you spend extra time cleaning commonly touched and shared surfaces, but what happens once it’s already arrived in your home and everyone’s down and out with it? Life must go on, right?
Well no worries because today I’m here to share the best thing you can do to help your family recover from the nasty flu bug as quickly as possible.
The Flu Doesn’t Have A Cure
When your kid comes down with the flu you’re pretty much stuck with it. It’s one of those things that you’re going to have to ride out. A cure… a treatment… medicines… or any other specific thing you can do to make it go away doesn’t exist. Your best bet is to treat the symptoms in order to help your child stay comfortable, and to work WITH their bodies to help them deal with it as quickly as possible.
The Flu Is A Virus
The reason there’s no quick answer to the flu is because it’s a virus, and at this time we don’t have any for-sure treatment for viruses. A virus isn’t like bacteria in that you can run to the doctor for antibiotics (or antibacterial herbs and oils in our case) and get rid of it that way. There are antiviral medications that are offered by doctors. These are not a sure thing either, and they have their own side effects on the body. They work in a variety of ways, but mainly, they either prevent the virus from infecting as much of the body as possible or they boost the immune system to destroy the virus quicker. The CDC claims that these antiviral drugs may help to shorten the duration of the flu by 1-2 days. So what’s a parent to do to help their child get over the flu and get back to normal as quickly as possible?
The Solution: Boost Your Child’s Immune System
Ideally, you will always be doing things to keep your child’s immune system healthy and in top-notch condition so their bodies can work to keep them free of sicknesses, but even with your best efforts, illnesses will come. And honestly, it’s a good thing for your child to get sick here and there. That in itself strengthens their immune system so that if there’s ever a time when they really need it to work well… it will be ready. The immune system is the #1 defender against things like viruses.
What happens is that a virus enters the body, the body senses there’s something inside that doesn’t belong, and it starts putting out all these distress signals. Those signals tell the body to start turning the temperature up in order to make the environment unsuitable for the virus, and it also signals the body to send in the troops to fight the virus. Those troops come in, assess the situation (try to figure out what kind of virus they’re dealing with), develop a plan of attack (how to stop it from spreading further), and then attack if it needs too (kill off what’s already in the body).
Do you see how important the immune system is? Do you see what it’s important to keep it healthy and in good working order? Its #1 job is to keep us from getting sick, but if something slips past it, its job then becomes to get rid of whatever entered our body.
How To Boost Your Child’s Immune System When The Flu Strikes
As soon as you notice your child coming down with the flu, there are a few things you can do to help equip and strengthen their immune system so it can deal with the flu as quickly as possible.
1 – Supplement with herbs ASAP
Two herbs come to mind when a virus hits home. Echinacea and Elderberry… right off the bat.
Echinacea is a wonderful herb! It’s known for its use in many ailments, but when it comes to the flu or a cold virus it works by increasing phagocytosis. That’s just a fancy medical term for when the immune system kicks into high gear which causes an increase in white blood cell production and blood flow. The more white blood cells there are in your blood and the faster your blood is circulating, the quicker the white blood cells meet up with the virus and deal with it. That’s phagocytosis. Having a tincture of Echinacea Root on hand to give around the clock is a fabulous way to help your body work at its best.
Elderberry is also traditionally used at the start of a cold or the flu. Especially in syrup form. It, like Echinacea, helps the immune system to “get going” and act quicker and more efficiently to stop the virus and rid it from your body. The great thing about Elderberry and Echinacea is that you can give many small doses over the course of the day to kids of all ages with no worries, and it’s sooooo good for them!
2 – Supplement with nutrition
Once you act quickly and get your kids started on the above herbal supplements, it’s also a good idea to make sure they’re getting some extra nutrition in order to strengthen their bodies and build up the immune system at the same time.
Here’s the deal though. When your child is sick, especially with the flu, and they have a fever… they’re not going to feel like eating. It’s natural. Their body is working hard and focusing on getting them better, not on breaking food down for nutrition. Homemade broth is the BEST thing for your child at this point. Not only is it packed full of nutrients, but it’s easy to take and your child can sip on it all day long, here and there, drinking as much as they’d like. Plus, it helps to combat the issue of dehydration that can so easily happen in sick children.
You can also give them added vitamin c to help their immune systems as well. Many times you can find tasty chewables that your child will enjoy taking… even when they’re sick.
As your child starts to feel better you can gradually increase and add to their diet. Their bodies know what it needs.
3 – Rest
When your kid is sick, they’re not going to feel like running around and playing, but they may not want to lie in bed and sleep all day. Thankfully they don’t have to, but you do want them to stay calm and let their body use its energy to work at getting them better. Books, movies, calm board games, coloring, and other activities that don’t require a lot of action are great to do while your little on is in bed or on the couch recovering.
It Just Takes Time
No matter what you do to help your child recover from the flu as quickly as possible, the fact of the matter is that it just takes time. Our bodies were designed to repair and heal itself. Our job is to work with it… not against it. The first step in doing that is to understand how the body works when sick and how the illness works. The next step is to know what you can do to assist the body at getting its job done.
Taking a break from school could be a good thing for everyone… even you mom. Take some time to enjoy your children, care for them, and get organized or ready for what needs to happen when everyone is well enough to get out of bed and back to their normal routine.
Special thanks to
guest blogger Meagan Visser, owner of Growing Up Herbal, where she offers natural skincare and herbal supplements for children. She’s a Registered Nurse, wife, home-schooling mother to 3 small boys, and editor of the Bulk Herb Store blog. She lives in the southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. You can connect with her at http://www.growingupherbal.com/, her Etsy shop, or on Facebook.