You’re probably already seeing the signs. Maybe your coworker has a runny nose. Or perhaps the person next to you on the El sneezed 43 times on your commute home. Or maybe you’re like me and your kid’s locker buddy has been absent 9 times since Labor Day. Whatever the case may be for you, it all adds up to one thing:

Cold and flu season.

Here in Chicago, this season seems to last forever. But don’t worry. We can survive this one together. I’m here to give you some pro tips (a term I use loosely) on how to stay healthy this winter.

Elderberry: After being prisoners in our own home during winter of 2017, I started looking for proven strategies to boost immunity. I  started giving elderberry supplements to my kids, who seemed to succumb to every virus that came through their school. The experts say elderberry ‘might affect the immune system,’ but based on my results, I’d say it definitely helps the immune system. My kids missed only a couple days of school during Winter 2018, and their little illnesses lasted many fewer days than in winter’s past. Unlike my kids, it’s hard to take me down with a cold or flu; however, my immuno-substandard husband has a germy, public-facing job, and he has been able to avoid sick days since adding elderberry supplements to his morning lineup.

Essential Oils: I will admit; I was a serious skeptic of the potential for essential oils to help with, well, anything really. But, as I said, winter 2017 nearly destroyed me (#neverforget), so I suspended disbelief and took the plunge into the world of oils. After my experience with them over the last year, I am sold. Surely there is someone in your friend circle selling oils, so I am not going to tout any specific brand. But I can tell you right now I am a believer in two drops of Thieves and two drops of Raven in a diffuser every night.

General (but equally important) tips:

  • Healthy foods are your first line of defense, so make room for micronutrients in your diet like Zinc, selenium, iron, folic acid vitamin A, B6 and vitamin C, all of which are commonly found in fruits and vegetables.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Whenever possible, avoid sick people. Order grocery delivery instead of going to the store if you can.
  • Don’t touch your nose, eyes and mouth when you do have to interact with others (hand sanitizer can work in a pinch in public settings).
  • Most importantly: wash your hands with soap and water, for goodness sake.

Finally, mind and body are connected. Emotional stress seems to have a negative relationship with immune function. Make time to chill out and get some restorative sleep, and do the same for your kids if you have them. Your immune system will thank you.

Oh and one more thing. You probably already know probiotics promote a healthy immune system. But did you know matcha is known to support a healthy immune system? You’re welcome. 

T. Jewell
The Tea Blogger
(flu-free since 2006)