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Photographed by Maria Del Rio

Hello, Cold & Flu Season! 7 Ways To Prevent + Treat It In Your Family

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photographed by Maria Del Rio

The holidays are firmly upon us and so, sadly, is the dreaded cold and flu season. To prevent your family from coming down with something nasty—as well as treat that nastiness if it does come your way—we’ve asked Dr. Jose Rocca to help us out. The doctor and father of three is also the founder of Renzo’s Vitamins—a first-of-its-kind vegan, zero-sugar, melt-in-your-mouth vitamin for kids. (Try a sample pack for free by clicking here!)

The new brand creates four varieties of vitamins—Picky Eater Multi, Bright & Brainy B6, Dynamite D3, and Iron Strong—all inspired by Dr. Rocca’s personal tale of parenting a child with a host of health issues.

Renzo, the company’s namesake, was born 6 weeks premature alongside his twin brother Franco, and nearly didn’t make it. Over the years, a multitude of procedures have followed, as well as advice from medical professionals that Renzo prep for his surgeries with a healthy diet, plenty of rest, and lots of high-quality vitamins. The latter item, of course, can be literally a tough pill to swallow, especially for kids. Which is where Dr. Rocca’s PhD in Pharmaceutical Science came in handy.

After noticing that other children’s supplements were loaded with sugar, Dr. Rocca developed a nutrient-dense, non-gummy, sugar-free line of vitamins in 2017 that Renzo consumed before and after his latest surgery, and came out of the operation, Dr. Rocca says, “with a clean bill of health.” Now the family is looking to help other kids with their nutritional needs daily. Which brings us back to the current cold and flu season, and the things Dr. Rocca suggests we all do to try to create a clean bill of health for our own families all winter long.

When exactly is “cold and flu season”? “We see the highest rates of cold and flu in the winter months, between December and February, but the season can start as early as late fall and continue through early spring.”

Why does it happen during this time period? “Generally, the change in temperature can make people more susceptible to certain viruses and germs simply because they often spend more time indoors with others and viruses can spread more quickly in cooler temperatures.”

What can parents do to help kids prevent catching a cold/flu? “Parents should make sure their kids stay very hydrated and active. Hydration and exercise are too often overlooked, but these two factors have an impact on the strength of the immune system, which has to function properly to fight off the cold and flu. If you keep yourself in shape, your immune system will also be in good shape. Remember to eat as healthy as possible during this time; choose foods rich with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients over junk and processed alternatives if you can. In addition, practicing good hygiene is recommended; it’s easy for diseases to spread when people cough or sneeze on their hands and touch everyday items like door knobs, television remotes, and cell phones. Wash your hands often, keep a clean home, and watch where you put your hands. I’ve seen kids sneeze in their hands in the supermarket and then touch all the fruits! Teach your kids to cough or sneeze on their upper sleeves to avoid spreading germs. Also, it goes without saying that you should do your best to avoid contact with people who are sick. And, finally, I would recommend a flu shot if it’s available.”

What nutrients and vitamins are key to preventing and treating cold/flu? “Antioxidants like Vitamin C to keep the immune system strong are key. But, again, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of hydration in addition to supplements as needed.”

If your kid catches a cold, what actions should you take? “Make sure they rest and keep very hydrated. Avoid giving your child antibiotics for the common cold. If your child was previously prescribed antibiotics before the onset of the cold or flu, re-consult with your doctor to ensure they are still safe to take. Remember that over-the-counter medication may help relieve some symptoms, but won’t cure the cold itself. It’s generally best to get a lot of rest and drink a lot of liquids and allow the body to do its job. If the cold persists, you can consider going to a healthcare provider.”

If your kid catches the flu, what actions should you take? “Just as with the cold, drink plenty of water and make sure your child takes adequate rest. Because flus often come with high fevers, you may want to take your kid to the doctor, too. Be mindful of the child’s interactions with siblings, too, to hopefully limit spreading the flu to brothers and sisters.”

If you need a cheat sheet for all that, here are Dr. Rocca’s recs for surviving cold and flu season:
*Stay hydrated.
*Stay active.
*Practice good hygiene.
*Eat healthy food.
*Take your vitamins, especially those with Vitamin C.
*Get plenty of rest.
*Get the flu shot.

Photographed by Maria Del Rio

Photographed by Maria Del Rio

This post is brought to you by Mother + Renzo’s Vitamins.

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