Back to School: Natural Solutions for Staying Well

Girl washing her hands at a kitchen sink.

Photo by Nick Nguyen

Summer is over!  Kids are back in school…which means everyone is going to get sick.  Right?!  It doesn’t have to be – remember that not everyone that is exposed to an illness will become sick. Here are some great tips to give your family the best chance for staying healthy this year.

Hand Washing

Most people know this is the best way to prevent illness.  Many people don’t know however  that “anti-bacterial” products should be avoided. Ingredients such as triclosan have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they alter normal hormone function, including thyroid and reproductive hormones.  There are concerns that anti-bacterial products are linked to cancers, neurodegenerative disorders, infertility and obesity, pediatric obesity in particular.  They contribute to anti-microbial resistance, promoting “super-bugs”.  Also, they are no more effective than plain soap and water.


Optimal nutrition will give your children the best chance to fight off and recover from illness.  Adequate fat and avoidance of sugar is a great place to start.  Increase fruits and vegetables for everyone.  Refuel after school with snacks that include protein and fat, such as fruit and almond butter, or carrots and hummus.

Omega-3/Fish Oil

I recommend some type of fish oil supplement for most children.  Modern diets result in an excess of omega-6, creating a pro-inflammatory state and lowering your natural defences.  Supplementing with fish oil helps to correct this, in addition to improving diet.  We use the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil or Barlean’s Fish Oil for our daughter.

Elderberry Syrup

This is a great remedy for acute upper respiratory infections and can be used as a preventative as well. You can buy at your local health food store or it’s easy to make your own! Recipe available here on my blog.

Essential Oils

The essential oil blend “Thieve’s” by Young Living is great for boosting immunity.  For school aged children this can be used by diluting in some coconut, almond or grapeseed oil and applying to the feet at bedtime.  It also kills airborne viruses and bacteria when diffused, helping to keep everyone healthy.  Read more about how we use oils on my blog.

Have a favorite trick for staying healthy through the winter? Please share!

Published on: September 22, 2014
About the Author
Photo of Amanda Queen
Amanda Queen, PA-C is a mom, a graduate of Dr. Andrew Weil's Integrative Medicine program at The University of Arizona, and a Blogger. She blogs about nutrition, botanicals, essential oils and family wellness at Essentially Be Well.
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