Posts Tagged ‘coconut water’

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Staying Healthy During Flu SeasonWith flu season coming up, it’s time to start talking to the kids about being healthy! We try to explain to our oldest (3) what germs are and how they can get you sick. We use very simple terms, of course, but that doesn’t stop him from touching dog poop at the park. No, really. He picked up dog poop and asked, “Mama, is this dog poop?”

With that basic lack of understanding about germs, we really rely on other methods of staying healthy.

We place a heavy emphasis on washing hands in our household. Not only because of things like the dog poop incident, but because the kids instantly touch their eyes, nose, or mouth after handling germy things. It’s almost instant. In an attempt to instill some sort of good hygienic practice, we wash our hands when we come in from outside, after play time is over, before helping put dishes away, etc. This, of course, on top of all the times you would fully expect hand washing (after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, blowing your nose, etc.).

Other things are a bit more “behind the scenes.” We can only do so much to get our kids to follow hygienic practices at young ages, but we can help them boost their immune system. Offering foods like garlic or barley can help lessen the likelihood of getting sick. Many foods can offer antimicrobial properties, so it’s a great idea to read up on different foods and try to incorporate them into your family’s diet. Heck, oats and barley not only boost immunity, but they can help antibiotics work better if you do get sick.

There are also lots of herbal supplements that people take to help with their immune system. I’m not big on trying to push things like this on my children, but I am a big believer in Sambucus (elderberry) in helping the immune system. Not only has my (asthmatic) son had less episodes that require him to use a breathing nebulizer since taking elderberry syrup, but when he does have to start nebulizer treatments, they don’t last as long. Instead of a week, we see a day or two. He also really enjoys the taste of elderberry syrup, and we mix it in with some almond milk and sometimes keifer, too.

If you’re not too keen on store bought supplements like Sambucus, you can always make your own syrup using fresh, frozen, or dried elderberries. Our local health food store has dried elderberries in the bulk herb section. There are a plethora of recipes available online with a simple search, so you can find a recipe that would suit your family’s needs (taste and dietary) best. Just a little elderberry a day helps, and a few times a day if you happen to get sick.

Also, if we happen to get sick, we keep coconut water on hand. Not only does it have electrolytes and no artificial sweeteners or dyes, but it has extra calories in it which you could really use if you’re sick and quickly losing whatever you eat (regardless of the method).

Finally, laughter! Yes, really. Laughter can help boost your immune system, improve your blood flow, regulate blood sugar levels, and is simply contagious. Who doesn’t love laughing? With colder days around the bend, we like to get some good shows or movies queued up to watch. Some for the kids, some for us when we have child-free time. Everyone enjoys smiles and laughter, and hey! It just might help you beat the flu.

Christine Kangas is a mom of two trying to lead a greener life. She lives in the mid-western U.S. with her family and three cats.

Surviving Norovirus Naturally

Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Lots of people are getting sick lately, and it seems to be a vicious outbreak of norovirus. Norovirus causes 19-21 million illnesses in the U.S. each year, contributing to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations. Norovirus is sometimes confused with the stomach flu, though it isn’t a flu at all. A flu is a respiratory illness and won’t cause gastrointestinal distress.

Suriving Norovirus Naturally

Symptoms of Norovirus are stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes fever, bodycramps/aches, and head ache. A big concern with norovirus is dehydration. Norovirus usually only lasts 1-3 days, but you are contagious from the moment you feel ill until up to 3 days after your last symptoms disappear. It can continue to live in your stool for up to 2 weeks.
This all being said, we just had norovirus hit our house. It started with me, and I had the worst of it. I had every single symptom listed above, and I was miserable. Thankfully, vomiting ended 5 hours after it started, and the other visits to the toilet ended 12 hours after their start. It moves quickly, but my body just ached for a full 24 hours. Being a mom was difficult! Being a mom to a 9-month-old (who also had it) was even worse.
My daughter threw everything up but still wanted to nurse. I nursed and nursed and nursed, being able to hold down only water myself, I knew I had to push it so she could stay hydrated. Her diapers got down to 3 barely wet diapers in 24 hours. My super soaker had a barely damp prefold after a 12-hour wear overnight. It can really be scary seeing that! She stopped vomiting after about 4 hours, so I knew she was taking in milk, she just wasn’t putting it out. I also saw that she still had tears when she cried–not having them can be a sign of dehydration–so I just kept with what we were doing.
The best thing you can do is push fluids. Push water, and if you can, coconut water. Coconut water has lots of electrolytes and none of the fake stuff that Pedialyte has in it. I, unfortunately, cannot stand coconut water. I drank water and just nursed all day, trying to rest.
My husband took vinegar and cleaned everything. He scrubbed and scrubbed. Then he took alcohol (after more bathroom visits by me) and did it again. This is the sad thing, the thing we didn’t know:
Norovirus is resistant to many disinfectants. You pretty much need to use chlorine bleach to kill it.
What about soiled clothes? What about diapers? The CDC suggests treating all soiled clothing like they contain feces or vomit (which could contain norovirus). They recommend moving them without agitating them (so you don’t release any virus into the air–yikes), and transporting them while wearing gloves. Since I was already ill, I didn’t need to worry about that, but I did take them all to the laundry room to be washed. You should wash clothes on the longest cycle possible, then dry in the dryer. If the CDC suggests that would take care of the virus that was in any vomit or feces on clothing, I would hope that works for diapers, too. If you have a good wash routine and you know your diapers are coming clean, I would keep doing what you’re doing.
If you want some alternative to bleach, Oil of Oregano will cut the virus numbers ten-fold, but for comparison, bleach cuts them a MILLION-fold. It might not hurt to put a couple drops of Oil of Oregano in the rinse cycle of your wash, though.
Although cranky the next day, and hubby was sick the next day (but not even for an hour, lucky. He thanks elderberry syrup for that one.), we are on the mend. My daughter is now simply clingy (and only wants me), but she’s back to wetting like normal. Now that we are on the mend, we thought we’d share a bit of info to hopefully help you protect your families from it! Prevention is key!
Christine Kangas is a mom of two trying to lead a greener life. She lives in the mid-western U.S. with her family and three cats.