Fighting Back-to-School Germs Hands On

For most parents, back-to-school means back-to-germ exposure because of the people and things your children touch or have close contact with. But making sure your children are as well protected as possible, by giving maximum support to their immune systems, can be as easy as one-two-three.

Click to browse natural soap and hand sanitizer options at Vitacost.

For a hands-on learning experience, have you ever considered  having your children help make their own hand sanitizers? Although many such products are available commercially, creating their own, using recipes that are readily available online (many of them alcohol-free, if that’s your preference) can be fun and instructional, especially because your children can help choose their own scents and dispensers. All you need are the ingredients to customize and personalize–strategies that often inspire children to use products more consistently.

1. Vitamin D.  Vitamin D3,  or cholecalciferol, may be more than three times as effective in raising concentrations of vitamin D in the bloodstream and maintaining those levels for a longer time than other forms of vitamin D.* It’s the same type of vitamin D that the body manufactures naturally when skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

If your child isn’t getting enough of this vitamin through food sources, you can consider any number of D3 supplements, which contribute to bone health by creating optimum conditions for bone formation, in addition to supporting proper function of the immune and nervous systems.* For younger children, try  liquid vitamin D, which can be dropped right on the tongue or mixed in with foods or beverages.

2. Aloe vera gel. The aloe vera plant, which contains over 200 biologically active components, has been used for centuries in folk medicine and as a product ingredient. Its constituents are used in many forms, including juice, which has been associated with supporting healthy immune function, digestion and gums.*

In topical form, it’s often  used for soothing skin. As a gel, aloe vera  is a common  ingredient in hand sanitizers. Having it on hand means that, in addition to using it on its own, you can make your own customized version.

3. Lavender oil.  Lavender oil is just one of many essential oils you can use as scent in your hand sanitizer. One of the most versatile plant essential oils, lavender’s name is derived from the Latin word “lavera,” which means to wash. It’s both gentle and effective in balancing the skin, and has a soothing and calming effect. You need only add a tiny amount to your recipe.

You may also consider eucalyptus oil as a natural fragrance. Steam distilled from the leaves of the Eucalyptus globulus tree, which is native to  Australia  and  Tasmania, this oil is known for its cooling, soothing effects.

Peppermint oil,  with its suggestion of candy canes and tea, is another good choice. Steam-distilled from leaves of the Mentha piperita (peppermint) plant, this aromatherapy favorite contains menthol and menthone, as well as rosmarinic acid and flavonoids such as hesperidin and luteolin. Again, a little essential oil goes a long way. Check with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about how many drops to use.

Do you have a favorite recipe for healthcare or cosmetic products? Share it with us in the comments below.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Dr. Laurie Steelsmith

Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness. Visit her website at www.DrSteelsmith.com.

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About Dr. Laurie Steelsmith

Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness. Visit her website at www.DrSteelsmith.com.

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