Summer is coming to a close, much to the dismay of most children and the joy of some parents. The end of summer means going back to school, and for many families going back to school means the start of cold and flu season. Children are exposed to millions of germs at school, resulting in 8-12 colds per year for children in day care or elementary school according to health.com. It is only a matter of time before these germs turn into a day off spent home sick in bed, and possibly spreading the illness to the rest of the family. Days off from school and work cost the US economy nearly $576 billion per year, according to Forbes.

There are ways to prepare for another school year and protect your kids from the germs they will encounter at school. Rather than reaching into the medicine cabinet to treat your child’s symptoms, here are a few ways to boost your child’s immune system and prevent illness.

Natural Ways to Prevent Cold and Flu

There are many natural remedies that I recommend and prescribe for treating a cold or flu, but here are a few suggestions for preventing cold and flu by boosting your child’s immune system.

  1. Keep your kids playing outside, during recess and when they get home from school. Continue playing together in the backyard, raking leaves, or encouraging them to join a sports team they might like. Spending time outside can reduce the instances of cold and flu your child faces by up to 25%.