Cold and flu prevention is important for that difficult time of year when your kids collide with all types of viruses. Statistics show that, on average, children will acquire two viruses per month during their first year of daycare or school, each lasting 10 to 14 days. If you do the math, you can see why it seems your child is sick the entire winter season!
Here at Cannizzaro Integrative Pediatric Center, we arm you and your kids against viral attacks with both conventional tips for prevention and natural ways to boost the immune system. With our protocols, we can help shorten viral illnesses. And let’s not forget prevention of secondary bacterial infections!
Cold and Flu Prevention Protocol
The following describes the typical natural protocol for cold and flu prevention that we use in our office. We feel strongly about using the latest evidence-based research to create an effective, harmless approach.
NOTE: These treatments should not be administered to all children; some are too young and some may worsen or have an allergy. Some essential oils are deadly when ingested. We give this information as an illustration of the natural healing protocols we use in our office. We advise that you and your sick child visit the office for correct diagnosis, dosages and treatment instructions!
High-dose Vitamin D: 1,000 IUs for infants, 2000 IUs for toddlers, 3000 IUs for school age and 4000-5000 IUs per day for middle school and above.
Elderberry syrup: (from a health food store) once daily; the dose on the bottle is typically based on a 3-year-old child. An important research study showed that the combination of Vitamin D and Elderberry given to a child daily in the winter was more effective than a flu shot.
Diffuser with Aromatherapy Oil: run all night near the bed, but out of reach. There are respiratory oil blends or mixes such as eucalyptus, tea tree, oregano oil and thieves’ oil (which is itself a blend of essential oils). When the oils are inhaled straight to an inflamed airway, they kill the infection or clear the inflammatory cells. Oregano oil is great for bacteria, thieves’ oil is great for mold, and tea tree cleanses everything. Eucalyptus opens the airway, though a small percentage of children actually cough more, so use with caution.
Cinnamon and Ginger: Diffuse together to treat stomach aches. Cinnamon stabilizes the blood sugar and ginger soothes the stomach lining.
Food Choices: Eat high-dose Vitamin C foods and eliminate wheat and dairy as much as possible. Vitamin C works as a natural antihistamine. Wheat and cow’s milk cause congestion and increase mucus production. Homemade broths, coconut water and lots of water provide proper hydration.
Hygiene: Of course, take care to frequently wash hands and separate symptomatic kids from others, especially if they exhibit fatigue, fever and/or sniffles. If your child has the flu, expect a fever for up to 4-5 days and fatigue, poor appetite and cough for up to two weeks. If a child is wheezing, short of breath, or has a prolonged fever or other concerns, get medical attention.
Natural Treatments to Prevent Secondary Ear and Sinus Infections
Garlic Ear Oil: Warm oil can be placed in the ears 5 times on the first day and 3 times a day for 2 more days. You can buy garlic willow ear oil from the health food store or you can make it yourself with olive oil that you warm with fresh garlic juice. It is very important to warm up the oil and get it to coat the inner ear membrane. This means having the child lie on his side, pulling slightly up and back on the upper ear near the hole, and filling the canal until the oil pools at the opening of the ear canal to the top!
NoseFrida “The Snotsucker”: (If tolerated by a younger child.) Children do not know how to blow their noses well and the congestion removed mechanically makes them more comfortable and avoids sinus or ear infection due to stagnant mucous.
Warm compress for sinus pressure and congestion: Microwave a moist towel. Place the towel in a plastic bag. Wrap with a very thin towel and place over sinuses until heat dissipates. Repeat as needed.
Salt Therapy: A 40-minute salt therapy session helps alleviate respiratory symptoms, soothing lungs and encouraging drainage. Read more about the Salt Room in other articles on this blog and schedule a session at the Salt Room we have on our premises!