Holistic Mom: Cold Prevention and Symptom Management

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Winter is in full force, and with that comes the colds, sniffles, and sometimes even the flu. We all want to keep our family healthy – especially this time of year! Nothing is worse than a virus that slowly makes it way through the whole family. Here are some of my top tips for preventing illness, and some ways to ease the symptoms if they do hit!

The nurse in me will repeat until I am blue in the face – wash your hands! This is the easiest and most effective way to prevent the spread of illness. In fact, the CDC calls hand washing “the do-it-yourself vaccine”! We always have hand sanitizer while on the go (Honest Company brand is my favorite), and yummy smelling soaps at the sinks in our home.

During the winter, I start my days with SHOTS! Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and elderberry, that is. You can find both of these online or at Basic Foods in town. ACV improves gut health and puts your body in a more alkaline state – which makes your more able to fight off illness. Elderberry syrup is a known immune system booster. I recommend diluting these with water, and eating before or soon after. ACV is also beneficial in alleviating cold and flu symptoms, thinning mucus, and eliminating bacteria.

While I believe firmly in food as our main source of nutrients, I also believe in supplements to fill in the gaps. A good multivitamin, vitamin C supplementation, and Echinacea all boost your immune response. I love a good navel orange as vitamin C boost as well. This is important during flu season, and especially if a cold hits. Gaia also makes a supplement called KidsDefense to help our babes fight off the sniffles and cough!

I can’t let a post go by without bringing in my secret weapon of essential oils! I love Plant Therapy brand, but there are many out there to choose from. Many brands make a germ fighting blend that you can diffuse in your home during the winter, and dilute with coconut oil and place on the bottom of your feet or back of your neck when you start to feel sick. A few drops of eucalyptus oil placed in a pot of steam water and inhaled helps with respiratory congestion. Always check with your pediatrician before using on the little ones.

Last but certainly not least – rest and hydration are of vital importance for recovering from any illness and overall health promotion. It can be so difficult for us as moms to carve out time for ourselves. However we all know we can’t show up for our families, our friends, our careers, if we don’t show up for ourselves. Make sure to get enough sleep, drink enough water, and spend even just a few minutes on self care daily – not just in the winter, but all year round!

Jessica Crystal is an RN, BSN with a degree from the University of Delaware, a holistic health coach certified from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a mother to one year old, Emma. She enjoys yoga, reading, and shopping and eating on Washington Street. She has lived in Hoboken for over six years with her husband Adam. To learn more, visit her blog

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