Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Sniffles, sneezes, and gastrointestinal bugs, oh my! It must be back to school time. Many parents assume that colds, flu and other common illnesses are simply part of the curriculum when they send their children off to school or daycare. That’s not surprising since kids can “catch” 5 to 10 colds per year, especially during the fall and winter months
While sharing is a quality we often foster in our children, sharing the germs that make a classroom or daycare center resemble a petri dish can increase the likelihood of your child getting sick. And often, your little one will bring these same germs home to infect the whole family!
But are these common ailments inevitable when kids go back to classes? With proper prevention, such as washing hands frequently and getting enough sleep, you may be able to reduce their risk of those back to school germs. But, we also suggest supplementing with one or more of the following herbs and nutrients to help fortify your family's immunity. Bonus? If a child (or parent) comes down with a bug, they can also ease symptoms and often shorten the duration of the illness.
Among this herb’s active compounds, andrographolide is a plant chemical with cold-busting anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-boosting properties. Studies show that Andrographis is an effective supplement for reducing the symptoms of uncomplicated upper respiratory infections.
Better yet, research in the journal Phytomedicine found that Andrographis cuts the risk of coming down with a winter cold by 33 percent among a group of students.
Shop our favorite Franklin Family Pharmacy-approved Andrographis products. (First time trying to access our online inventory? Click here to create your free account and receive free shipping on orders over $40.)
This well-known botanical has the ability to turn on the body’s innate and adaptive immune response. Echinacea can also stimulate the production of antibodies that modulate the immune system’s response to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and allergens.
If you are under the weather, echinacea enhances your non-specific immune response and boosts the number of immune cells—especially white blood cells, monocytes, neutrophils, and natural killer cells—to help speed your recovery. But the key to getting these benefits is to start taking the herb at the very first sign of an illness.
Shop our favorite Franklin Family Pharmacy-approved Echinacea products. (First time trying to access our online inventory? Click here to create your free account and receive free shipping on orders over $40.)
Black elderberry has been used for centuries to treat flu symptoms, as well as for the common cold. Research shows that elderberries possess potent immune-modulating, anti-viral, and antioxidant properties, making elderberry extract a go-to supplement to prevent and treat a wide range of influenza viruses.
Elderberry extract has also been shown to have antimicrobial benefits against both the gram-positive bacteria that causes strep and the gram-negative bacteria responsible for ear infections, sinusitis, and pneumonia. More recently, a randomized double-blind trial of airline passengers reported that those taking elderberry had fewer colds—and among those who did become sick, the elderberry group had shorter, less severe colds than those taking a placebo.
Come in the store to buy locally made Mama Merrill's Elderberry Tonics or shop some of our favorite national brands. (First time trying to access our online inventory? Click here to create your free account and receive free shipping on orders over $40.)
Since about 70 percent of the body’s total number of immune cells reside in the gut, taking probiotics can help protect your family against cold and flu viruses. One clinical trial found that taking a probiotic containing Bifidobacterium bifidum reduced the frequency of colds among a group of college students.
Another study involving preschoolers found that giving them a daily multi-strain probiotic reduced the incidence of colds and flu by as much as 31.8 percent and reduced the duration of the illness if they did get sick.
Shop our favorite Franklin Family Pharmacy-approved probiotics. (First time trying to access our online inventory? Click here to create your free account and receive free shipping on orders over $40.)
Zinc plays a key role in immunity and the body’s ability to combat infections. Studies involving school-going children have found that those taking a proactive dose of zinc has less chance of coming down with a cold. This important mineral can also shorten the duration of a cold if taken at the first sniffle. Pairing it with vitamin C might also enhance zinc’s immune-boosting properties, especially in children.
Shop our favorite Franklin Family Pharmacy-approved zinc products. (First time trying to access our online inventory? Click here to create your free account and receive free shipping on orders over $40.)
The bottom line
While these supplements work in different ways to enhance immunity, they all share the benefit of being safe and effective. Taking steps now to protect against these common back to school illnesses can help keep your entire family stay healthy all season long.
Have questions? Don't know how these may interact with your medications? Give us a call or come into the store, and we'll create a personalized supplement plan to help keep you healthy this fall!