Wind, Heat & Back-To-School Exhaustion

For most of the country back to school is all sweaters and boots. Not so much here in SoCal! With record highs that linger well into September, the drought is real and serious hydration is a necessity!

If you’re like most families I know, you never really wind down your summer either- you “hit it harder” with last minute vacations, surfing, beaching, playing outside all day… First day of school comes around, kids are instantly in full swing with homework, after school activities, getting their hands on every germ in sight and boom, the back to school “summer-heat” or “wind-heat” cold sets in.

If you’re a parent, a teacher or someone around school-aged kids, you have seen or caught this virus before- sore throat, dry throat, potential sinus infection, can’t breathe well, maybe a bloody nose, runny nose, GI distress in some cases, headaches and fatigue… A situation that can lead to serious dehydration and unhappy kids!

For the most part you can prevent this now though if you get your family’s health-act in gear. If it does happen, the trick is not to let it linger, take it seriously this time of year during the higher temps and get your kids some integrative health TLC into their lifestyle!

Here’s how I guide my patients and family this time of year!

Hydration. Beyond the obvious water drinking, I love making homemade juices and fortified waters. Organic coconuts or raw coconut water are packed with immune building nutrients and a tasteful way to get kids drinking.

Juli’s honeydew melon juice pops are packed with bioavailable vitamin C. Watermelon, aka Xi Gua in Chinese medicine has been shown in studies to prevent and treat summer heat conditions. Cut into slices or blended into a juice, two 8 oz glasses of juice or about 15-30 grams of fruit per day can help soothe a lingering summer cold or dehydration-related situation.

When it comes to hydration, just say NO to Gatorade and Pedialyte… Corn syrup, jet fuel, synthetic nutrients… Enough said {feel free to look up the ingredient lists on Fooducate}.

Lubrication. Essential fatty acids are key for immunological health, help soothe sore throats, improve energy and immuno-modulate overall. Think of foods that are oily, but not sticky or cloying such as avocados, wild salmon, coconuts, flax and chia. Purified fish oil is a great way to go if your family isn’t into putting fish on the dinner table. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, hemp and coconut oil are my top omega-3, immune-supporting oils.

Probiotics. To prevent any type of immune illness, get some multi-strain probiotics in the fridge. Responsible for over 80 percent of gut immunology, probiotics can help prevent and treat immune illnesses of all types. Choose a multi-strain probiotic to populate both the small and large intestines. One of my favorites is Klaire Labs Therbiotic Complete Probiotic Powder. Boasting 100 billion viable cells, it’s ideal for the entire family and can easily be incorporated into your child’s diet.

Chinese herbs. Because they are formulated to mutually accentuate one another, the herbs contained in Chinese formulas address a pattern of symptoms with very few, if any side effects. Two of my favorite Chinese formulas for this type of virus are Yin Qiao San and Cang Er Zi San.

Note: yes you can pick these up over the counter or order online, but I always suggest deferring to your Chinese health care professional for the most personalized herbal prescription whenever possible.

Acupuncture. Yes, needles for the kiddos too! Acupuncture is one of the most effective, non-invasive modalities to prevent and treat this type of virus. With your personal constitution in mind coupled with the unique symptoms that present this time of year, acupuncture can reduce the duration of illness and pesky symptoms while strengthening your immune and endocrine systems. Bonus, your entire family will breathe and sleep easier.

Enjoy the end of summer and let us know how you keep your family healthy during back to school!

Christine is an integrative health & food therapy specialist, food writer & medical journalist. With an emphasis on endocrinology and immunology, she offers a personalized approach to epigenetic wellness. Connect with Christine’s latest on food & health over at Instagram.