It's that time of year. The sickies are making the rounds. A friend once told me "when your kids enter school, you will be sicker than you've ever been." It's the absolute truth.
The past four weeks have gone like this. Cough. Low ox levels. Really bad cough. Low energy. Fever. Repeat. I turn to antibiotics only when absolutely necessary—we're on round two—that's how bad it's been. Our little guy has had a real rough go of it this month.
Last night as we watched his oxygen levels plummet yet again, my nerves got the best of me. I found myself shaking with fear. My body was emotially and mentally taxed. I tell you, aside from the one time I had to revive my child, viral-induced asthma flare-ups have been the most frightening thing I have dealt with as a parent.
My hat's off to all you mammas and pappas who stand guard on "asthma watch." It is a tiring and frightening chore.
Hopefully, with the worst behind us, I can sit down and share this simple recipe for an Immune-Boosting Snow Cone Syrup. I mixed it up to serve over snow cones to bring some relief (and fun) to my hot-headed boy and to ensure he remained hydrated.
The snow cone machine you see here is decent. It was a Bed Bath & Beyond impulse buy. I really have nothing to compare it to. If you are in the market for one, now or next summer, shop around and read reviews. You may come across one that's higher rated.
One of the ingredients in this syrup is a fruit anthocyanins concentrated liquid. Anthocyanins are the largest water-soluble pigments in the plant kingdom. They are responsible for the red, purple, and blue colors in fruits and vegetables and are known for their antioxidant properties.
We use Dr. William Mitchell's blend which is only available through certain wellness providers. Scientific studies have have shown that the particular fruits and berries contained in his blend—red grape, elderberry, blueberry, aronia berry, pomegranate and red raspberry—have extraordinary health benefits. If you can't find a source for Dr. Mitchell's blend, try this one.
Immune-Boosting Snow Cone Syrup
1 cup no sugar added CHERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE (like this one)
1/2 cup COCONUT WATER or water
1 tablespoon FRUIT ANTHOCYANINS CONCENTRATED LIQUID/SYRUP (like this one or this one)
1 tablespoon LIQUID VITAMIN C (like this one)
Sweetener to taste (see notes)
- Combine ingredients in a squirt bottle.
- Squirt liberally over snow cones.
Sugar is your immune system's enemy. If you absolutely have to sweeten the mixture, I suggest using a little liquid stevia concentrate (my favorite) or slightly warmed Manuka or other raw honey (for those over 1 year old).
If you are new to asthma like we were three years ago, here are some things that have given us some peace of mind when our little boy has had flare-ups:
Have an Asthma Action Plan. Formulate one with your child's doctor and tape it to the inside of your medicine cabinet. In the wee hours of the morning it will help you think clearly and know what to do and when.
Own a Nebulizer. Your doctor has probably already prescribed one. Be sure to be stocked with rescue meds.
Know Your Child's Trigger(s). For our son, it's an innocent viral infection. If he is going to flare, he usually does so within 24 hours of the first sign of illness. We have learned that we dare not take him into a humid shower to "relieve congestion"—that's landed us in the hospital twice. Everyone's triggers are different.
Get a Stethoscope and Oximeter. These tools can buy a lot of peace of mind. With them I can monitor oxygen levels and be alerted to the first sign of wheezing. But symptoms like retraction, fitful sleep, moaning, rapid breathing without fever, and rapid-fire cough always trump the stethoscope and oximeter. That is when we head to the ER.
Hang in There. This too shall pass. Be sure to take care of you! I ramp up on supplements that support my adrenals, try to eat well, hydrate, and thank my lucky stars for a husband to tag team with. If you are the lone guard, get some help so that you can get some rest. Even if it's just for an hour or two to catch up on sleep.