September marks the start of the season every parent comes to dread: cold and flu season. As children take their play indoors, germs circulate more quickly, leading to six months of increased infections that can, at any point, turn a day of school or work into cancelled meetings and time spent coughing on the couch.
As with all illnesses, prevention is better than the cure. While many parents turn to hand sanitizer to kill germs, these store-bought concoctions can contain alcohol and harsh chemicals. Dr. Lawrence Rosen, a nationally recognized expert in Pediatric Integrative Medicine, shares this recipe for a gentler – and equally effective – homemade hand sanitizer:
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
• 3 oz. filtered water
• 1 tsp. aloe vera gel
• 10 drops cinnamon essential oil
• 10 drops clove essential oil
• 10 drops rosemary essential oil
• 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• 20 drops lemon oil
Instructions: Mix ingredients in a 4-ounce spray dispenser, and shake gently. Spray on children’s hands, and teach them to massage the spray into their hands for 30 seconds. The result is a natural, chemical free, hand sanitizer to keep germs at bay.
Of course, some illnesses are unavoidable. When a cold or flu does strike, Dr. Rosen recommends using Sambucol (black elderberry extract) to help alleviate symptoms faster. Researchers have found that influenza patients treated with elderberry recover four days faster, on average, than those not receiving treatment. Elderberry is safe for children two years or older – which means your kids can get back to school faster when recovering from the flu.