Our Best Natural Cold and Flu Prevention Tricks

Washing Hands

Did you know that preschools are really just giant petri dishes full of germs? It’s true! Since my kid started preschool three years ago, we have been sick more times than I have in my entire life. Kids get sick an average of 12 times per year, and they’re good at sharing those germs with the entire family.

In the years since my sweet boy started school, I’ve learned some tricks for keeping those germs in check. The tips below are the things that I do every cold and flu season to stop illness before it starts.

Wash Your Hands like It’s Your Job!

Washing your hands is the single most important way to stop sickness. The CDC has some ideas for when you should wash your hands to prevent the spread of illness. Make sure you really scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or, as I remind my child about 18 times a day, sing two Happy Birthday songs.

Keep Elderberry on Hand

Elderberry syrup is an old folks remedy for boosting immunity. The second that you start feeling run down, you want to start using it. I really like these elderberry chews. They even include vitamins C and D, which also help boost immunity.

You can also make your own elderberry syrup. Wellness Mama has a pretty great recipe.

Eat Immune-Boosting Foods

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains all contain compounds that help your body fight cold and flu. Start the day with oatmeal packed with fresh fruit. Sneak in a kale salad at lunch. Don’t skimp on the veggies at dinner.

Probiotic foods also help strengthen your body’s immunity. Yogurt gets a lot of cred for its probiotic content, but there are other foods, like kimchi, that have even more probiotic power than store-bought yogurt. Check out this list of powerful probiotic foods.

Take Multivitamins

There are vitamins that are proven to help your body fend off illness. Vitamin D, for example, has been shown to help prevent the flu, and there’s evidence that zinc can shorten the duration of a cold. Cover your bases with a daily multivitamin, and you’re shoring up your body’s defenses.

Don’t Overdo It

This time of year can be hectic. We push ourselves to the limit with holiday preparations and travel, and this is the busy time of year at work for a lot of us. Stress weakens your immune system, though, so be kind to yourself! Sleep in when you can. Take a nap, if possible. Try some natural remedies for anxiety to help soothe your stress and kick winter illness to the curb.

This is a tough time of year, and the last thing you need is the cold or the flu slowing you down. Be good to your body to help prevent cold and flu naturally.

Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”) is an Impact Mill contributor and crafts and food writer from Atlanta who has a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. Her mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone.