We've all heard the adage An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and with illness this is particularly true. It is the way my mother kept all of us kids healthy (quite a bit healthier than most of our peers) and how I try to keep my own children well:
1. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, of course. This includes no smoking, drinking alcohol (or even tea and coffee in our case), or illicit drugs. It also includes -
a) A diet high in fiber, fruits and vegetables, and limited sugar.
b) Regular daily exercise.
c) Little idleness--in other words, work, being active.
2. Getting enough quality sleep.
3. Dressing appropriately for the weather.
4. Regularly supplementing with vitamins and herbs, particularly when you have symptoms of sickness.
5. Avoiding sugar completely when sick (since sugar slows the immune system).
6. Avoiding sick people. (This sometimes got in the way of social functions and made for frustrated or disappointed kids, but now from a parent's perspective I see how it was important to my mom.)
7. (My addition to my mom's unofficial list) Regularly including probiotics in your diet, which include -
a) Foods such as plain yogurt (hand sweetened, as desired) with acidophilus, bifidum cultures, etc,
b) Sauerkraut, and other fermented, non-alcoholic foods,
c) Or at the very least, supplementing with chewable acidophilus wafers. This "good bacteria" is necessary for gut health, which affects so many other functions of your body, including fighting off illnesses.
Life is so much happier, funner, and easier when everyone is healthy!