By Julia Vinokur

There are several little things that can help during unpleasant sick time.

1.  Onion and Garlic. Lots of onion and garlic. I try to make sure children eat small pieces of onion or garlic everyday during the flu season.  Both have wonderful antiviral properties, and help a lot to fight colds and flu.  If my children get a cold, I chop onion or garlic, place it on a small plate by their bed and leave it overnight. It helps to fight the virus and clear the nasal passages. It smells like borscht in their bedroom in the morning, but it’s a natural alternative to most symptom-treating medicines.

2. Vitamins and supplements.  Cod liver oil is a must during winter months. I also give the kids some extra liquid vitamin D. The best source of vitamin C that I was able to find so far is Hyland’s vitamin C for kids, with no added colors or chemicals. Echinacea extract is in my medicine cabinet to boost children’s immune system. It comes in handy when they do get a cold.

3. Saline Sprays.  I do not like over-the-counter saline sprays because they include phenylcarbinol and benzalkonium. I usually just mix sea salt with some boiled water to make a solution, and use either an eye-dropper or small spray to administer it (

17000706_m4. Honey.  Honey comes very helpful if my children have a cold, which brings coughing and sneezing. I give them one teaspoon of either pure raw honey (or mixed with some lemon juice), and some warm herbal tea. Honey helps to keep up energy levels during long winter months when children feel tired from short days, spending time inside, doing a lot of schoolwork and various  after-school activities.

 5. Herbal teas.  Herbal teas are always welcome in our home.  Echinacea tea boosts immune system, bilberry tea helps with eye sight, and mint tea brings relaxation and can calm an upset stomach.  It is so enjoyable to drink a cup of a nice warm tea during cold winter months.  Whether we go skiing or skating, I always take a thermos with me filled with warm, delicious tea.