With back-to-school time just a week or two away, there’s one BIG item on the to-do list that can’t be missed. It’s time to build immunity to get ready for the germs and bacteria that the back-to-school days inevitably bring. Building immunity takes time, so it’s best to start now. 

What were some of your best memories of the past school year? Was it when she won the race or when he won the Spelling Bee? Maybe it was when the family went on a surprise vacation, or when you all went camping. It probably wasn’t when you were sick. Sick days are hard days. They can be expensive, frustrating, painful, and even a little scary. You don’t want them, the kids don’t want them. You even dread them. Stomach viruses, cold and flu, strep throat and more…Back-to-school holds lots of surprises. Did you know that the monkey bars can have about 20 times more germs than the toilet seat? It’s times like these we appreciate our immune system. 

A healthy immune system is intricate and amazing. Immune functions are happening just about everywhere from your skin to your lymph nodes. Skin is one large barrier to infections and protects your insides from direct exposure to germs. The bloodstream carries white blood cells which are ready to invade and overthrow infection. Lymph nodes stand ready for the call to action and will gladly send helpful warrior cells to any part of the body fighting infection. Whether it’s an ear infection, bronchitis, flu or a cold, the lymph nodes receive signals from other parts of the body (amazing!) and will then send the antidote cells needed to fight and kill the pathogens or cancer cells. Bone marrow is another interesting place for immune cell activity. Bone marrow contains stem cells which then can become an assortment of immune cells, including both innate and adaptive immune cells. Innate immune cells, like mast cells (think allergies), are important first line defenders. Adaptive immune cells are related to the lymph system, and are developed based upon the information received from past infections related to the lymphatic activity and feedback. An example of this type of cell is a B or a T cell, which have developed appropriate responses to specific microbes based on cellular memory of past events. Amazing! 

An unhealthy immune system is not quite as exciting. It gets easily overwhelmed. Invaders prosper. Nutrients aren’t available to fuel the appropriate response. One illness due to low immunity, like a cold, can then cause susceptibility to more serious infections like flu or pneumonia. Before we know it, we are home from school, or even away in the hospital. We have to take antibiotics, which kill the good and bad bacteria, and further stress our immune system. Then the invading germs adapt to the antibiotics and the antibiotics may eventually become ineffective. It’s scary, but it happens, and that’s why it’s important to build immunity now, before you and your family are even exposed to the germs. The good news about immune health is that when we incorporate a few healthy habits into daily life, we can keep a strong immune system and the germs aren’t as scary anymore. 

3 Healthy Habits for Boosting Immunity: 

1) Stop eating refined sugar. Fresh fruit in moderation is healthy as long as you aren’t in the first 2 weeks of the Yeast-Free Diet, but throw away any candy, cakes, ice cream, pudding, etc., that’s still hanging out from summer. Even the “fruit snacks” (which don’t usually contain real fruit) need to go away. Just 1 teaspoon of sugar can lower immune function by about 25%. It’s important to give the immune system time to be strengthened before school starts and the germs abound. Back-to-school cupcakes may not be the best idea, but how about back-to-school Yeast-Free Apple Spice Muffins? Time to stock up on Sweet-N-Natural

2) Go to bed earlier. Starting a few nights before the first day of school, get the kids in bed a little bit earlier, and it’s best if you do the same. Being well rested will help balance hormones and lower stress, which supports optimal immune function.  It will also help your mind feel fresh and ready for the new year. 

3) Make sure everyone gets their vitamins. Vitamins directly fuel the immune system so it’s the perfect time to get back into the vitamin routine. Make sure your family is taking immune-boosting supplements in addition to a multivitamin. Here is a line-up of immune-boosting vitamins for the whole family: 

Immune Boosting Vitamins for Kids Ages 4-12: 

  1. Nutri-Kids Multivitamin - 1-2 chewables per day for blood sugar regulation and immunity.
  2. Vitamin D 1,000 i.u. - 1-2 soft gels per day for moods, optimal immunity and bone health.
  3. Probiotic Blend - 1 capsule per day for optimal gut health and improved immunity. If they can’t swallow capsules, you can put this into applesauce or yogurt.
  4. Colostrum Complete - 1 capsule per day for gut healing and an immune boost. If they can’t swallow capsules, you can put this into applesauce or yogurt. 

Immune Boosting Vitamins for Mom and Dad and Big Kids:

 My HotzePak Stay Well Pak includes:

  • Colostrum Complete - 2 capsules daily for optimal gut healing and increased immune function.
  • Vitamin C 1,000 mg - 1 capsule daily for adrenal support and immune strengthening.
  • Vitamin D3 1,000 i.u. - 2 soft gels daily. As you come indoors more often on school days, after all of the beautiful sunlight of summer, vitamin D blood levels can dip, which is dangerous. Deficiency in vitamin D can cause autoimmune disease, allergies and increase susceptibility to infection. On the other hand, good levels of vitamin D can help strengthen and regulate a healthy immune response. Basically, it enables your immune cells to work harder and win the war on those germs, but it also helps your immune system know when to slow down so it doesn't overreact, as is the case with allergic response and autoimmune disorders.
  • Zinc Chelate 30 mg - 1 capsule daily for immune system support and mineral balance.
  • Probiotic Blend - 1 capsule daily to strengthen the immune system response in the gut.

Getting ready for back-to–school time is as simple as 1-2-3 lifestyle elements to be sure you and your family stay well. Which element(s) will you share with your family and incorporate for a healthy back-to-school experience?