August means back to school season is upon us. For normal people, this time of year brings happy visions of backpacks and fresh crayons. At the urgent care clinic, gloom descends as we count down to packed waiting rooms and families made grumpy by the wait time. In equal proportion to our sadness, little viruses can be found joyfully singing and dancing in the metaphoric streets. They know school means close contact for people who still put their hands in their mouths. It doesn’t matter what you tell a kid about these sorts of things. By their nature, they are all at least occasionally gross.
Immunity for a kid is often a hard-earned battle. As I was beginning to gather my own essential defense kit for my family’s return to disease season, this blog was born. My family has methylation issues and so I am as judicious with supplements and herbs as I am with Western drugs. For example something as simple as B12 can throw someone with my genetic makeup out of balance. (Click here if curious about how and why.) These chosen defense herbs/supplements I use are generally safe and well tolerated. However, it is always a good idea to test a small amount of any supplement in your own body before giving it to your child. And go low and slow with initial dosing. For example, a popular children’s immune syrup that contained myrrh made me feel worse than the cold I had. Remember just because it is natural doesn’t mean it’s gentle.
My Top 3 Picks for the School Year
Kids Defense By Gaia Kids
A wonderful all around product with good taste. We use this tincture with raw honey to make a nice warming morning beverage my son affectionately named Stink Tea. This does contain both echinacea and elderberry so this is not an everyday drink. Even natural antimicrobials can affect gut flora with prolonged use. This is however a great option if you see sniffles or know you have been around someone who was sick. Click the link above if your interested to see the entire ingredient list. Though a tincture not meant for anyone less than 1 year old.
Garden of Life Chewable Kids Probiotic
I highly recommend buying your probiotics locally. These are living organisms and they really need to be alive to do their job. If transported without temperature control many of these guys die. Probiotics have been shown to decrease incidence of both colds and GI illnesses; particularly in preschool-age children. This one is delicious. I actually take this as an adult. I had kept forgetting to take mine. Now my son doses us both daily. Anything that simplifies my life is a win. Central Market and many HEBs carry this locally. This is appropriate for anyone that can safely chew hard tablets.
A tasty and convenient way to administer Vitamin C. This is best if used immediately following an exposure or as soon as one notices immune activation. Scratchy throat, energy dip, runny nose are often signs your innate immune system is kicking in. Vitamin C is gas to the cellular components of our immune system and is quickly depleted during an active infection. Of note, I would not recommend taking high dose Vitamin C at the same time as your probiotic if you want those guys to make it to the gut alive. Also, if you are sensitive to acid/base changes, I love estered-C as it is truly gentle on the gut and urinary tract. When you look at the milligrams of Vitamin C this product contains, it will seem low. However, these guys did their research to increase the bioavailability of natural Vitamin C by providing co-factors, sourcing from real food and managed to do it without GMO sources.