Back to School Immunity Boosters


Back to School Immunity Boosters | Columbia SC Moms BlogNow that summer is ending and kids are heading back in school, daycare, dance, and sports practice – parents have all sorts of things brought home – permission slips, reading logs, dirty clothes, and GERMS. Germs are everywhere and it is inevitable that you and your child are going to get sick throughout the school year. Here are some ways I have kept myself relatively healthy for over 15 years of working in a public school and ways I have kept my toddler relatively healthy for the past 2 years.

Please note, I am NOT a medial professional. Just a germaphobe, happy to help! If you have any questions about whether or not it is okay to do some of the things mentioned, ask your doctor. 


Wash Your Hands

After every single outing (Target runs, the park, work, school, library), the first thing I do when I get home is wash my hands and my kid’s hands. I also wash hands after every transaction – when I was working, that was after every class I saw (especially if we happened to be in the Computer Lab for class. Keyboards + computer mouse = GERMS). Now, it’s after every diaper change, before and after making meals, and after going to the bathroom. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. If you are someplace where you cannot wash hands, consider some sort of antibacterial gel/lotion/wipes/spray. I have little bottles in my purse, diaper bag, car – everywhere. I love Honest Company’s Hand Sanitizer Spray

Wipe Surfaces 

Lysol wipes and Wet Wipes make me feel a little better about using a high chair at a restaurant or a cart at the grocery store. I wipe the whole thing down and probably look like a crazy person, but I do not care. I also wipe table tops. Bring a freezer bag or something for the used wipes so that you aren’t stacking them on the end of the table or piling them up in your cart – that’s just gross. At work, I would come in early in the morning and wipe surfaces before students got there. Check with school nurse or whomever first, just to be sure that’s okay with allergies and what not. 

Self Care

Make sure you and your child get enough rest. We are all so busy that it can be hard to give yourself time to relax. It’s important that your body gets enough rest because while you are sleeping or relaxing, your body is healing. Make sure you are eating well and nourishing your body with things that will keep it healthy. Menu plan, if necessary.

Some “healing” foods we eat regularly are bananas, oranges, and apples. Try to get in some healthy fats every day like coconut oil and avocado. You are going to eat fast food, but make sure you are getting some healthy foods in each day too. Also be sure to drink PLENTY of water. Water helps your body get rid of all the gunk it encounters throughout the day.

If you do get sick, allow yourself to rest and get better. I know that many times I have tried to push through and that only makes the illness stick around longer (and probably passes it along to other people). Lay on the couch, get someone to help you with your children, call in sick to work and GET BETTER. 

Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face 

I think this might be one of the most important tips I can give. I am very aware of my hands to face ratio throughout the day and I have probably wanted to smack your hands away from your face. All those holes in your face are just welcome mats for germs. Even if you are really good about washing your hands, think about all the germy things you touch – your phone, your computer, remotes, money. Try to teach your children to keep their hands away from their face too.

Clean Your Devices

You wipe down countertops, you clean bathrooms – be sure to clean your devices and your kid’s devices. Wipe your phone, iPad, keyboard, remotes – anything that you absent-mindedly touch throughout the day.

Essential Oils

This is where I might lose some of you. During cold and flu season, I diffuse essential oils that claim to boost immunity. I believe that essential oils work, but you may not. At the very least, they smell good, so it is worth a try! My favorites to diffuse when the sickies come (or when it seems like everyone you know is sick) are DoTerra’s OnGuard and Young Living’s Thieves. Both companies make cough drops that I take at least once a day. You can also use these oils “neat,” which means you can take a drop or two and spread them on your wrists or behind your ears. I find that helps too. If you want to learn more about essential oils, check out our Guide to Direct Sales Consultants for someone who can help you. 

When Sickness Strikes

Okay, even if you do every single thing listed above, you or your child will still get sick. So, what do you do now? Here are some things I do when illness strikes. Again, I am not a medical professional, so use your mama gut and know when it is time to see a doctor. 

Epsom Bath Salt

Epsom salt is amazing. I actually sprinkle a little bit into my 2 year old’s bath every night. It’s great for soothing aches and pains. There are also essential oils you can add to help with fevers and breathing issues, if needed. Consult someone who knows about essential oils and what is safe to use around children before you do this. 

Vapor Rub

If you have a cough or some sort of respiratory thing, rub some vapor rub on your chest, back, and bottoms of your feet. I tend to use Vick’s Vapor Rub for myself (maybe because that’s what my parents used growing up and it makes me think of those awesome sick days as a kid where you sat on the couch and your parents did EVERYTHING for you) and I like Maty’s Baby Chest Rub for my little girl. 

Ramp Up Vitamins and Other Boosters

When I start to feel like I am coming down with something (or I think my little one is coming down with something), I will start doing all the things – take Elderberry Syrup, get more sleep, put Airborne in my water, and add more oranges in my diet. Before I discovered OnGuard and Theives drops, I would suck on Cold-EEZE drops. 

Bottom line – wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face, eat well and REST. I hope you have a healthy school year! What are some things you do to prevent illness in your home? 

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Valerie Byrd Fort was born in Florida, but when she was four years old, her family moved to the midlands and never looked back. She is mom to Katy (human) and to Lucky, Mozzy, and Penny (rescue dogs). She is married to Marty Fort, owner of the Lexington School of Music, Columbia Arts Academy, and Irmo Music Academy. She is an Instructor for the School of Library & Information Science at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches Children’s Literature to future classroom teachers and librarians. She is also Coordinator for Cocky's Reading Express, the University of South Carolina's literacy outreach program. Valerie is passionate about books, literacy, libraries, and reading aloud with children of ALL ages. She writes about books and other literacy related topics on her blog, Library Goddess. In her free time, Valerie enjoys reading, Barre3, going to Target and endless scrolling of social media  


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