What does our family harvest each Autumn? Apples? Corn? The last of our fruits before the chill?
As the Summer quickly fades to fog and evaporates from the falling leaves into memories it leaves us with nostalgia. Autumn always smells like the past to me personally, and I’m sure I can’t be alone in this. You are here after-all. Many families feel excitement (this adjective can also be read as “fatigue & anxieties”). But even the craze and overbooked holiday season is not the “harvesting” I am referring to.
I choose not to be one to incite fear en masse so let me be blunt.
Sickness: In Autumn as a family we harvest Sickness.
Regardless of where it comes from: school, work, or other family. We all eventually succumb to the repercussions of our social obligations.
Our household specializes in Upper Respiratory Infections, while my extended family plays host to many URI’s, there are also “Stomach Bugs”, and general flu-like symptoms follow us all around. Forever thriving between the households. A few years back, I took a generous amount of hits when I entered a healthcare job- it was inevitable. But I can attest to the beautiful immunity I received after that first rough year. Our family’s colds and bugs greatly decreased. I imagine this is something that daycare workers and teachers also experience. While the ghost of depression, and anxiety continually scratch at my ankles, pushing in at the temples, asking if I can just hibernate already, I have found many ways to combat the physical ailments.
Because these afflictions affect all of us, here are the tips and tricks I use to avoid expenditure and expiration during these trying months.
Also I should inform you I am NOT a medical professional, and although these things have worked for me they are NOT substitute for medically necessary interventions. Always talk with you healthcare professional and do some research yourself before changing a regimen or starting a new path.
Always check the labels on the medications you buy OTC, many of the individual brands sell the exact same things under different names. (I.e.- guaifenesin and dextromethorphan are common to Mucinex and Robitussin, but you may also find it in the severe flu versions of Dayquils as well. ) Check the strengths/amount in each box, and generics are equivalent as long as they match in those categories. Check with the pharmacist too- they have gone to school for many years to be able to explain this and if there is a question of drug interactions, they could save you a lot of trouble! To this day my husband still sends me into the pharmacy, knowing that I meticulously check the labels and always come out with a low-cost generic product that packs the most punch and the best bang for the buck.
I understand the medical/homeopathic controversy. But the simple fact remains that what we eat and how it works within our bodies affects our health directly. Herbs were the original bases for making medicines in the beginning. Therefore, some basic precautions are always a better buffer than after-the-fact solutions. Or as I say now “Preventative is always better than Restorative.”
My husband and I drink a glass each morning. Half a lemon cut up and infused overnight in a mason jar is excellent! It is energizing and I don’t even get to my coffee some mornings in place of it. There are also some studies that suggest it helps burn a minute amount of calories in the process.
Honey infused with Garlic cloves:
Infused the same as the lemon water, a teaspoon each morning can also help boost an immune system. Garlic, honey, and even onions have long been known for their positive effect within us. Bare with it, this one seems simple, but it’s flavor is strong and pervasive.
A pill each day (and a healthy amount within cooking) is supposed to be quite uplifting. I use it to combat the depression without turning to pharmaceuticals or expensive alternatives like Sam-E- which work, but may have a larger variety of side effects and a hefty price tag).
This one is an obvious help to our digestive system. It is Very potent, but calming and effective. I keep it in powdered form for cooking (find a good recipe for Ginger Rice if they can stomach it), but I have also been known to use the minced/sushi version for my kids if their tummies are upset. Just giving them a sliver of pink pickled ginger was exciting for them. It is thinner, smaller, and easier to handle. If the flavor is simply too much though, try Gripe Water- it works well on kids and adults (this is usually Ginger and Fennel together). Just like my delicious Molasses and Fennel cookies the Gripe water may have a free flowing effect without the risk of over-medicating in children.
*It should be noted that most Ginger Ales are no longer made with Ginger extracts, and so their effect may be due to the carbonation, or mainly a placebo effect.
Ecchinacea & Olive Leaf:
Safely boosters (olive leaf may be better for older kids rather than the young). Both are typically available in swallow-able pills or capsules. These are meant to help the immune system, be forewarned, they will not alleviate the symptoms.
For children teas are a better way to get little ones to take herbal immune boosters. I recommend Zarbee’s products, they are homeopathic and made specifically to relieve the congestion and coughs associated with the common cold in small children. Their main ingredient is dark honey, so I personally never had trouble getting my children to drink it, and their “Nighttime” products are infused with a dose of Melatonin to help ease them into a natural sleep.
*Melatonin, just as any supplement should be used sparingly in children, and always under adult supervision.
FOUR THIEVES OIL:
This is wonderful, it is a mixture of essential oils that have anti-bacterial properties when sprayed into the air or on clothes. As with all essentials, test it before you put it directly onto skin. It may be potent but I have used it as a body mist successfully. Natural stores will sell it, but this one is a pretty penny. Working in the medical field- I felt it was worthwhile.
This has antibacterial properties as well. My husband has a history of MRSA, and rather than dry out his skin with harsh body washes like Hibiclens (typically used before surgeries to help sterilize the skin) this were recommended. It works much better, runs about $10 and is a foaming wash, mixed with peppermint he smells great!
I recommend it to anyone who has similar history or is prone to skin ailments. I do not use it on or near my face, but after shaving my legs to prevent any infections.
SLEEP & HEALTHY EATING!!!!
There is no substitute for these and as long as you balance your metabolism and circadian rhythms, you have Already given yourself the advantage! Proper Hygiene is a Must. But in a house full of kids, that should be an easy one to remember and very hard to accomplish….for those of you potty-training: keep it up, that day will come!