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four tips to stay healthy this cold and flu season + an elderberry syrup recipe

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I’ve heard so many stories about families that have been hit hard with the flu bug/colds/stomach bug/you name it this year. Here are a few ways I try to keep my family healthy.

1. Wash Hands. This is just a must. As soon as my kids get home from school or playing with a friend, they need to wash their hands. It’s simple, safe and effective.
hand washing
2. Elderberry Syrup. Once I know kids are out sick at school, I try to stay on top of giving mine elderberry syrup to boost their immune systems. It can get rather expensive in the store so I like to make my own. It’s easy and quite cost-effective–and probably healthier than store bought as well. This is the basic recipe I use: Boil 5 cups of water with 1 cup dried elderberries (I buy the elderberries in the refrigerated section of my local health food store).  Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer for about an hour.  The liquid will reduce significantly and the liquid will look almost black.  Let cool to lukewarm.  Add up to 1.5 cups of local, raw honey (if you have it–if not, substitute whatever honey you have).  Stir it in.  I’d suggest starting with about 1 cup of honey and adding more if you need.  Store in a jar in the fridge.  Take about a teaspoon a day for kids and a Tablespoon for adults each day to boost immunity.  If a cold or flu strikes, up the dosage to several times per day.
elderberry syrup
3.  Fresh Air.  I know it’s hard to get outside in some of the winter weather.  But getting out of germ-filled buildings and into fresh air is so beneficial!  If you can get in some exercise in the fresh air, that’s even better!
fresh air cutie
4. Drink Water.  I find myself reaching for hot drinks like coffee and tea frequently in the winter and I know I need to drink more water.  I’ve started bringing a water bottle along with me and just try to take sips throughout the day.  It’s amazing how much more water I drink when it’s right next to me.
What do you do to try to keep your family healthy in the winter?

Note: I am not a doctor.  These are things my family does to help boost our immune systems but your doctor may have other opinions.

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