Are other moms always sick or is it just me? How do you pump up your immune system?

I have basically been sick since school has started. Every week the kids are bringing home new germs from their classrooms. I used to just take multivitamin but now I have added in probiotics, Vitamin C, and elderberry extract to help beef up my immunity. I can't be sick every single week!

I have basically been sick since school has started. Every week the kids are bringing home new germs from their classrooms. I used to just take multivitamin but now I have added in probiotics, Vitamin C, and elderberry extract to help beef up my immunity. I can't be sick every single week!

I’m so tired of being sick, and I am calling in the heavy guns to try to head off the next cold.

I have had four colds lasting about two weeks each in the last eight weeks. Basically I have been sick since school started.  The kids bring home different germs from their classes, and I catch it all. My heart-transplant brother who is on immune-suppressive drugs has a stronger immune system than I do.

I was taking daily multi-vitamins and added in large amounts of Vitamin C, Echinacea tea and Airborne each time I felt an illness coming on.  Now I am adding probiotics and Elderberry to the mix.

I wash my hands and keep hand sanitizer in my car and my purse. I wipe down my computer after the kids use it, and I just added the disposable hand towels to the bathroom so I’m not picking up germs after I wash.

I am also trying to add in more servings of fruits and vegetables. I also bought some of that Acai juice that is supposed to be a super food.

Did other moms get sick when the kids went back to school and started sharing germs? What are you doing to keep from getting sick? What should I try?

40 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

October 16th, 2012
1:59 am

I am not sure why you are sick all the time, especially since you have 3 children ( whom I presume have been bringing school germs home for several years) . I would think you would have built up some immunity since you have also taught classes at college. I have 35 different schools to visit this month…translation a LOT of kids. I typically get one or two doozy colds per year and that is it. I was sick a LOT when I first started in education 30 years ago. I do take vitamins and get a flu shot. Maybe someone else has an idea.

MomsRule

October 16th, 2012
5:15 am

Sorry, I don’t have any suggestions for you. I give my boys a serving of EmergenC everyday before school and that seems to help keep them from catching anything. Neither has been sick for several years now and we don’t get flu shots. I also drink it before going to the gym, getting on a plane, etc.

Have you tried having the kids wash their hands the minute they arrive home from school? We’ve been doing that for years and it seems to help as well.

Liz

October 16th, 2012
5:39 am

Reishi mushroom, quality v-caps from Vitacost.com (Google reviews to find a good brand). My doctor recommended it to me. It is very commonly used in China.

Kathy

October 16th, 2012
6:14 am

Is it starting as an allergy maybe? We all take Zyrtec daily in our house during the spring and fall allergy seasons and that has helped us tremendously. We are also militant about hand washing.

A

October 16th, 2012
6:21 am

My son’s pediatrician said fall allergies are worst than ever this year. No one in our house has ever suffered from those (only trees in the springtime), but after he was coughing for a while I took him in thinking it was strep (which also seems to be going around), but the doc said symptoms of fall allergies. So now he’s on daily Claritin until it gets cold enough to get rid of the allergens…hopefully in the next few weeks.

The Dixie Diarist

October 16th, 2012
7:18 am

Take zinc, too. Lots of water during the day and do some heart-pumping exercise every day. Be well.

http://www.adixiediary.com

atljan

October 16th, 2012
7:24 am

I have two kids in preschool who haven’t been sick yet and neither have I –although I probably just jinxed myself by saying that! Maybe you have a sinus infection. Go see a doctor. And we don’t do anything special except wash hands like crazy. I actually imagine I’m wearing really gross garden gloves in order to remind myself not to touch my face.

motherjanegoose

October 16th, 2012
7:35 am

Yes, allergies could be it. I had terrible allergies in Texas but not here in Atlanta. My kids have them here. Not sure what things they have in AZ but it could be something that did not bother you here.

Voice of Reason

October 16th, 2012
7:54 am

Sounds like you could be allergic to cacti. Or rather, the flowers that bloom on a cactus.

RJ

October 16th, 2012
8:03 am

Nope. Maybe you should get a physical with bloodwork to make sure everything is okay. I work with kids, so my immune system may be a little stronger. I take vitamin c during the winter, and zinc if I feel anything coming on. It could also be as MJG said, something in AZ could be bothering you.

catmom

October 16th, 2012
8:14 am

Kids are germ factories. No news there.

Mayhem

October 16th, 2012
8:20 am

RJ’s right, go get a physical. I get one every year. It’s very important for people our age…

I NEVER get sick. I refuse to….LOL. I wash my hands constantly, take a multivitimin every day, and eat healthy. I don’t do fast foods, or restaurants either for that fact.

I buy healthy food. I cook healthy food. I use tons of fresh foods. Nothing in my house comes from a can. Fresh or frozen. Everything’s made from scratch. No pre-packaged food in my house either.

Are your kids washing their hands often? My kids wash their hands the minute they walk in the door from school/work……

But we don’t take a bunch of pills. I refuse to do that to my body. I have to take blood pressure medicine, and my multivitamin, and that’s it!!!

Mayhem

October 16th, 2012
8:29 am

Oh, and exercise, and PLENTY of water…..no soda’s, no artificial sweeteners, etc. Water, water, water……exercise!!!! We have a dog who requires a walk every day. I walk her at least 1 mile every evening.

avahzd

October 16th, 2012
8:30 am

It is not that your immune system is weak. Your symptoms are a response by your immune system. People take meds to suppress these symptoms. Your brother may appear to have a better immune system than you, but you stated he was on immune suppressant meds. If that’s so he may very well not look as sick as you, but his body may be taking a bigger hit than yours when he does get sick. As for the herbs, vitamins, etc they may help you get over these colds faster, but the only real way to help stop getting sick is to continue washing hands, get flu shots, etc. Once you have had the germs you should not get it again anytime soon (unless they mutate). Unfortunately that is the only real way to “improve” your immune system, get the bug and get it recorded in your body so that once it comes back your immune response knocks it out before it gets out of hand…

Wayne

October 16th, 2012
8:31 am

I thought I had Mono once for an entire year. Turned out I was just really bored.

FCM

October 16th, 2012
8:36 am

TWG you didn’t mention if you are getting your rest….You run herd on 3 kids, volunteer all over at church & school, teach a college course, do travel articles, the blog, and are constantly on the go from what you have shared.

If you do not get proper rest then your body is literally to tired to fight to germs. Also if you insist on doing this constant go get on a stress tab (vitamin Bs)…I know they helped me back before I learned that giving ME down time was ok. My down time does mean someone else has to load the dishwasher (usually badly) or fold the clothes (which are not done my way) but I did stop getting sick so much.

Penguinmom

October 16th, 2012
8:38 am

I actually find that my friends who use hand-sanitizer really often get sick more often than I do (rarely use it). I think you can over-protect your body and not allow it to have exposure to a weaker version of the germs that it can fight easily. Then when the live, strong version comes along, your body hasn’t had a chance to build up any resistance.

FCM

October 16th, 2012
8:43 am

While we are discussing health I want to point out that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month…don’t forget that trip to have that checked out too!

Mayhem

October 16th, 2012
8:43 am

I don’t get flu shots anymore. Haven’t had one since 1991.

All doctors want to do is pop another pill in your mouth. Try the holistic approach, herbs, etc. Doctors are in cahoots with pill companies.

Kat

October 16th, 2012
8:56 am

Good grief! Taking crap like that to avoid getting sick. It isn’t working! I thought we had all smartened up?

Simple soap and water and less-stupid parents would help. These are the parents whose kids wake up with a fever, they give them Tylenol and send them to school. Suddenly, and without warning, the kid gets a fever right after lunch. Shock!

Kat

October 16th, 2012
8:57 am

Vaccinations rule! Check out your nearest turn-of-the-century (the 1899 – 1900 ones, that is) graveyard to see how many could have made it with today’s vaccinations.

JOD

October 16th, 2012
8:59 am

I think it’s probably allergies, too. We’re all suffering this year, and that is unusual. I’m taking Zyrtec daily, and wish there was something for 4-year-olds since DD is coughing and sniffling, too. Other than that we’re loading up on vitamin C in fruits and veggies plus our multivitamins.

Probiotics are really good preventative ‘medicine’ (whether you eat yogurt or take the capsules), since the good bacteria in your gut protects from a lot of illnesses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything for allergies that I can tell!

motherjanegoose

October 16th, 2012
9:07 am

I use hand sanitizer all the time, as I typically touch at least 50 different children each weekday. Another reason I needed my flu shot.

Techmom

October 16th, 2012
9:09 am

Are you getting enough sleep or are you overly stressed? I would think you have a built-up immunity with 3 kids in the house so I wonder what is leading to your susceptibility to sicknesses.

My allergies are always worse in the fall than spring but even my husband, who doesn’t really have bad allergies, is suffering big time this year.

Yep, annual...

October 16th, 2012
9:43 am

…flu shot and Zicam at the first sign of a sniffle and you will be good to go…

Betty

October 16th, 2012
10:28 am

I’ve gone through the same thing as you Theresa. Try taking Danactive or Activia or some other probiotic daily to help your digestion. 70% of you immune system if in your digestive tract and if it’s off, no amount of hand washing and vitamins will help (at least that’s been my experience). Also, plenty of sleep, which is tough to do with all your activities and commitments but not getting enough rest will take it’s toll.

DB

October 16th, 2012
10:44 am

@Penguinmom — I was thinking the same thing. I absolutely despise those hand-sanitizers, etc. Everything is “anti-bacterial” these days, right down to your dishwashing detergent. Unless your immune system is already compromised, it seems a bit overkill. Wash your hands, keep the kitchen and bathroom clean, get enough sleep and fresh air/exercise and practice reasonable hygiene. It’s worked for years. I don’t take ANYTHING — pills/vitamins/etc.

I read somewhere about how people seldom washed their hands long enough. Apparently, if you lather your hands for as long as it takes you to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (preferably to yourself, if you’re in a public restroom!) it’s more effective than hand-sanitizer.

Misty

October 16th, 2012
12:06 pm

My husband remarked that if you take all of those pills, you will be stressing your immune system out. I would go with the others who have suggested you go visit the doctor. I don’t get colds since I have allergies- don’t know why- as my husband and his parents get them on a regular basis. You might need a full work up to make sure it’s not some underlying problem that is giving you cold symptoms. Also, my husband suggested Mono. Might want to look into that.

Misty

October 16th, 2012
12:10 pm

My husband also suggested you lay off the purel as you’re not getting the germs spaced out so your body can build up the immune system. Instead, you’re getting them all at once. I only use Purrel after the grocery store and the library. But as hubby pointed out, that is probably not helping me if I am breathing in all of the germs.

Erin

October 16th, 2012
12:21 pm

Mayve you’re going overboard with the anti-bacterials and wipes?

I believe strongly in lots of rest, chicken noodle soup and orange juice. And lay off the hand sanitizers!

justmy2cents

October 16th, 2012
12:41 pm

I work in the schools, and I probably touch at least 300 different pieces of technology a day that have been touched by countless children. Let’s not forget the door handles too! I don’t use hand sanitizer, although of course I wash my hands after using the restroom and before eating. I don’t take any supplements, and I am rarely sick. Embrace the germs! It helps build up your immune system. My daughters are the same way. Usually they are only sick maybe once a year and it is either a cold, or strep. We never do flu shots either and none of us have had the flu.

jarvis

October 16th, 2012
2:09 pm

Women think they are sick.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 16th, 2012
6:06 pm

Thanks for all the good thoughts — I have been feeling pretty good for about a week and a half which is a record for me this fall. I do have terrible allergies and take zyrtec everyday. I found out on Friday that I had a bacterial eye infection — i just thought it was red from stress or colds. so i am treating that now. he also gave me allergy drops for my eyes. I try to make them wash hands as soon as they walk in. I started wiping down my shared instructor computer at the college — I think one of the colds I brought home from the college — I bring in wipes and wipe stuff down in the classroom. i also bring in hannitizer and Kleenex for my students. They are very appreciative to have in the classroom. I got my flu shot yesterday finally. I am hoping everything will be better!!!!! I am working on more sleep — that is an issue.

atljan

October 16th, 2012
6:28 pm

TWG, I love that you call it hannitizer! My oldest child called it that when she was two and the name has stuck around our house!

the grandma

October 16th, 2012
9:39 pm

Same problem here except I’m the grandma, not the mom. I spent 30 years teaching, and after the first few years, hardly ever had a cold or a stomach virus. (I had sinus infections but that’s my weak spot.) Now that I am retired and babysitting grandchildren, I get cold after cold. What a bummer!

Do get some better one-a-day vitamins than the ones pictured. Check out some at a health food store — they don’t cost a whole lot more and have LOTS more good stuff in them.

jarvis

October 17th, 2012
9:16 am

@Misty, hubby is makeing an assumption that all germs are airborne. They are not.

Misty

October 17th, 2012
12:30 pm

@Jarvis-

The cold virus is an air born one. So it doesn’t matter if you wash your hands or use hand sanitizers, what you breathe in plays a part, too. If you don’t eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise properly, then you will have a weakened immune systems and ALL of the pills and stuff won’t help you at all. It helps to have a biologist and a microbiologist in the house :), particularly one in CDC.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 17th, 2012
1:23 pm

martyrdom hypochrondria?

Emmuh

October 17th, 2012
3:47 pm

This may be a long shot, but have you had your tonsils out? If you haven’t, take a look at them in the mirror. If they are golf-ball sized, they could be “holding” infection. While I’m not an ENT, my ENT says that after he removes tonsils from kids and adults, they seem to fight off infection much better. He says its as if the tonsils retain the germs and keep you sicker longer, rather than serve their original purpose of keeping you from getting sick.

Dennis

October 18th, 2012
9:25 am

Real foods, everyday. The immune system starts in your digestive system.

More green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale and other greens.

Fermented foods like real yogurt, and live cultured sauerkraut.

Bone broths for other minerals.

Finally, get your rest.