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Holistic pediatrician Elisa Song, MD, has been helping parents navigate cold and flu seasons for years. The mother to two daughters and founder of Whole Family Wellness clinic in Belmont, Calif., Song knows a thing or two about preventing and treating nasty bugs. “As the cold and flu season approaches, every parent wants to know the same thing,” says Song. “What can I do to boost my child’s immune system?” In addition to commonsense measures, such as eliminating junk food from your child’s diet and making sure sleep is a priority, Song has found that certain remedies give a child’s body “that extra defense to more effectively ward off and fight colds and flus.” Here are four of her favorites—be sure to stock up on them now!
Studies on vitamin C for cold and flu prevention have yielded mixed results, says Song. Even so, she believes the vitamin’s powerful antioxidant activity plays a vital role in helping the body ward off and deal with infections.
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This is a homeopathic medicine designed to prevent or reduce the duration of the flu. “I also give my kids one vial of Oscillococcinum before or right after any known ‘germfest’— birthday parties, plane travel, etc.,” says Song.
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This natural extract from the larch tree is a little-known secret weapon for enhancing “natural killer cell” and macrophage activity—both critical to a healthy immune response. Song recommends the powder in her practice, dissolved in a drink or smoothie. Use ½–1 tsp. two times daily.
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“One of the most preventive things you can do is to irrigate nasal passages with Xlear nasal spray at the end of every day, and after any potential exposure (work, school, playgroups, plane travel, etc.),” says Song. This saline nasal spray is made with xylitol, a sugar alcohol that has antimicrobial properties.
Editor’s Product Pick: Kid’s Xlear Saline Nasal Spray
Learn more about Dr. Song at healthykidshappykids.com.