Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our healthiest winter season EVER

Every year - EVERY year - Dave gets a cold right before Thanksgiving. Every year at least one of my girls has been sick around thanksgiving in addition to throughout the holiday/winter season. The year Georgia was born, all three girls had brochial/respitory illnesses throughout the winter and beginning of spring. I have fond or not so fond (how do you do that strikethrough thing?) of giving any one of them oral antibiotics as toddlers... crying, screaming, holding the nose so she would HAVE to open her mouth, wrestling to the floor, fine - we'll put it in your milk which of COURSE tasted different so she wouldn't drink it, wrestling to the floor (again), force the lips open, dropper in the side of the cheek, SUCCESS! And then she spits it all over the floor. Good. And this was the case for each one of them. Illness has always been a very pleasant experience here:)

Lets discuss the flu or whichever illness it is that induces 24 hours of vomitting... Only now do I have confidence that at least 2/3 of my girls can make it to the bathroom in time to throw up. I've done my share of washing sheets in the middle of the night, only to wash another load a few hours later. How about those days when Dave and I BOTH have the flu and we just pray that somehow the girls are safe on the main level of the house being completely unsupervised while we lay in bed miserable?

Or what about any random number of colds that pass quickly through the family? Runny noses, coughing, sneezing, etc. The most annoying part of the colds - in my opinion - is the continual decision process: Do I send her to school or keep her home? I certainly wouldn't want to be teacher who has a student walk in with snot running down her nose, however, she isn't bad enough to keep home. What to do? What to do?

We've had all of these. Sometimes I catch them, too, sometimes I don't. Generally, I have been the healthiest member of the family. Dave has not faired as well:) He catches them all. It usually starts with, "My throat hurts" and progresses into chest and head congestion. I've had my share, though: bronchitis, strep, colds. All of it = lovely.

Last year we attempted to bypass the illness season by increasing our vitamin intake. Dave was taking a ridiculous number of vitamins and supplements twice a day. He would set them out for me, too, but I never got around to taking any. No change. Our family didn't have any major respitory ailments, but we did have the flu and some random colds.

This year - as of today - will be considered our healthiest winter season ever. We have not been to the doctor since August. We bypassed the whole flu/swine flu scare with no symptoms. We (me and the girls, not Dave) have had one MINOR, short-lived cold that we brought home from Virginia at Thanksgiving. It was very mild and very short. Dave has had nothing so far. That, in and of itself, is somewhat miraculous:)

So what is different? Essential Oils. Seriously, this is the only thing I can identify as being different this season: we are religiously diffusing essential oils in our home. Dave is no longer taking all of those vitamins, but instead diffuses oils in his office twice a day. It is an all-natural way of boosting our immunity and so far I would say it has been working. I'm sure there are other factors that could be considered, however, this is really the one thing that we are doing differently this year AND we have not been sick with the exception of the one mild, short-lived cold that we recovered from more quickly than usual (and we brought it home from Virginia where we were NOT diffusing the oils for 5 days - coincidence?)

I don't think we have a magic answer and I'm not making money on this, but I want to share what I believe is our one difference-maker with anyone who is interested. I'm reading so many facebook statuses of people who have gone from one illness to the next. Its frustrating when your family is dealing with that. One kid recovers and BOOM the next is down with the same thing. It seems like it never ends. So if I can provide ONE idea for a family like this to try out - and provide personal testimony as to its (assumed) efficacy, it is this.

What we are doing and using:
A friend of mine extolled the vitues of essential oils for all manner of illnesses a few years ago. I tried to get into it, but found it was just too much work and expense to figure out which oils to have on hand, which ailments they would help and to remember it all on top of it. This year when the swine flu scare was making its rounds I got serious about it and asked her which essential oils would be essential to have in the home. She sent me a link to a blend of oils that boosts immunity: thieves mix. In addition, she told me that she had tinkered around a bit and had come up with a very similar smelling homemade mix that she was using in place of the actual blend - her recipe would be much cheaper and would last much longer. So I placed an order and got started and the healthy season began:)

Here is the list of oils that is needed to make your own blend of thieves:
eucalyptus 2oz (although you may consider buying an even larger bottle), rosemary .5oz, clove bud .5oz, cinnamon leaf .5oz, lemon .5oz, .5oz bottle (you may want more of these if you plan to diffuse in multiple locations). If you purchased all of these from it would total $43.55, which would be less than one trip to the pediatrician in our case. This supply list will make many bottles of your own blend. I would say that I've made at least 10-15 .5oz bottles before running out of the eucalyptus and I have much, much more left of the others. If you bought a premade blend of thieves it would cost around $42 for a .5oz bottle - and you would only get ONE .5oz bottle.

Once I made my own blend I started diffusing every night while we're sleeping. For the girls' rooms, I diffuse 5 drops (thats it - such a tiny amount) in a vaporizer/humidifier, which I would be running in their rooms during the winter regardless. In our room, Dave's office and in the rest of the house we use a vick's waterless vaportizer (if you decide to buy one of these, please don't spend $20 on it - I bought one at Target and one at Walmart for less than $15). We diffuse 3-5 drops on those little make up cotton pads that you can get at the pharmacy (100 for $1). So if you don't have any of these things, you're still spending less than $100.

Thats it - that is all I'm doing. It requires very little extra effort on my part - just whatever time it takes to make the blend once every couple of weeks and the time it takes to drop 5 measly drops into each vaporizer. And I've spent less than one doctor visit to do it.

Two things to note:
* if you decide to try this, email me separately for the recipe... not sure I should be posting April's recipe on the WWW.
* if you have a tax id number, you can sign up to be a whole saler of the oils through a different website and get them for even less. I happen to have a friend who is generous enough to extend this discount to me so I've paid even less than I listed here. Email me for more info on this one, too.

If you try this, let me know how it goes for you. April's family and my family have experienced great benefits from this and hope someone else can, too.

Another note: Peppermint oil has been a huge relief for many of Dave's frequent headaches in addition to some of my occasional headaches. Consider purchasing a bottle of that as well!


April 3:44 PM  

I am so happy that this has been such a great healthy year for you! It is such a relief to have health back in our home after we were sick every month for years. Yeah for essential oils!

Skooks 11:39 PM  

This is so very interesting! I don't tend to get sick much, but Nate has gotten some bugs this season so far and the kids have been ok, but not immune to it either.

Can you email me more about this?

P.S. As much as I love your background, it's a doozy to read over the red.

P.P.S You can do strikeout writing like this:

[strike]insert whatever text you want to strikeout here[/strike]

whille you're in the Edit HTML tab of your blogger editor (as opposed to "Compose"). Just replace the "[" with "<" and the "]" with ">". Email me if that doesn't make sense.

Amy 10:42 AM  

Ok so we don't deal with a lot of the sicknesses either I see all over facebook. I know people don't agree with it, but we get flu shots. We ALL got them last fall and had hardly any sickness at all last winter. In the winter of 2008 we all had which my friend who's a ped. nurse thinks was a bad case of influenza. I had pain shooting up my arms and was awful. It was enough to make me get vaccinated again this year.

Kara is dealing with a lot of nasal congestion and it affects her sleep some nights (not every night...we've had lots of good nights). One doctor said a vaporizer/humidifier won't make much of a difference and another doctor says it will. Have you found it helps at all...especially when your girls were babies? I think I might buy one this weekend. I am giving her saline nose drops and they seem to break up the mucus and it helps. Our house seems very cold and dry especially at night. Neither of my other kids had problems with it when they were babies (of course with Hailey we were in Michigan and the climate is completely different there in the winter).

Thanks for the info! I might have to try the essential oils. You have me interested.

Mommy Brain 4:32 PM  

Never heard of essential oils...hmmm.... I do however believe in fruits and veggies...I think they help make the body powerful to fight off germs. I also am a firm believer in sleep. And random luck of the draw.

Great to see you last night. I KNOW that you guys will rock in the marathon, I totally believe in you!

Debt free...sounds hard and worth it...and I totally believe you can do that too!

Mommy Brain 4:36 PM  

Oh, and it is so hard to read on this background...sorry.

i am not 5:23 PM  

Christine -
The same thing that makes fruits and veggies powerful for health makes essential oils powerful. Fruits & Veggies are plants, essential oils are the oils extracted from the various plants. I've read in several places that the oils affect the body the same way fruits and veggies do... because hey're all from plants.

I also believe that sleep is powerful, although we aren't getting the 8 hours/night that I'd like:) And luck of the draw... like I said, I think there are probably several factors that contribute to our health this season, however, the one behavior thing that is different - that I can identify clearly - is the oils.

Sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to you some more last night. Stupid fricken dog!

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