The air is crisp and smells like pumpkin spice and everything nice. The holidays are approaching and if you are anything like me you can’t wait to start decorating and shopping for Christmas! This time of year also means the start of cold and flu season. The bad news is that some germs are airborne and viral and at times cannot be avoided. The good news is that there are some things you can do to actively try and prevent your little one from getting sick and even lessen the time and severity of the symptoms.
Tip 1: Wash hands often!
You already know this one, right? You’ve heard it over and over but it is still a good reminder because our lives are busy and we are almost always on the go and it’s hard to remember to wash hands often especially when you don’t always have access to a sink, soap, and water. If you are on the go a lot like me, make sure to carry hand sanitizer in your diaper bag/purse and in the glove compartment of your car. Make sure to get into the habit of always washing hands after the restroom and before eating a snack or a meal.
Tip 2: Regularly give your child vitamins, supplements, and or antioxidants to boost their immune system!
We mix The Honest Company’s Baby+Toddler Multi Powder with our daughter’s evening milk every single night for health benefits and prevention of illness. We also supplement with elderberry syrup mixed with cranberry juice at the first sign of a sniffle. There are a lot of fantastic products for children in this category, so use whatever you are most comfortable with in your home. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor first before giving your child anything ingestible. Always follow directions on the dose based on your child’s age and or weight.
Tip 3: Teach your children to cover their mouth and nose when they cough and or sneeze!
It’s never too early to model good health manners to your child, so start young if you want the behaviors to stick! You can also teach them the arm cough where they cough into the inside of their elbow so their hands stay clean. Also teach them to throw their tissues away in a trashcan as soon as they are used to prevent others from also touching the contaminated tissue.
Tip 4: Get exercise!
Go outside with your child and get fresh air on a regular basis. Some research has shown that this can reduce cold and flu symptoms by 25-50%! Plus, when you go outside you can get some extra Vitamin D from the sun, which is also important to boost immunity!
Tip 5: Make sure your child is getting enough sleep!
When a child doesn’t get adequate sleep, their risk for a cold or flu nearly doubles. Stick to a regular sleeping schedule as often as you can. These sleep patterns will not only help prevent illness but also help your child establish routines and assist them with a better and longer night sleep.
Tip 6: Eat a healthy diet!
Try to pack in as many colors on the plate as possible at each meal. Aim for at least one fruit and one vegetable, especially foods enriched with Vitamin C (broccoli, peas, citrus fruits) and Vitamin D (salmon, cheese, eggs). Yogurt with probiotics will also help!
Tip 7: Teach your child to close the toilet seat before flushing the toilet!
Harmful bacteria from toilet matter can be spread through the air and contaminate the area in and around your bathroom and spread harmful bacteria onto toothbrushes, hand soap, and drinking cups. Again, this is something you can practice as soon as your child starts potty training, but if your child is older you can begin incorporating this habit at any age.
Tip 8: Spend time with friends and create play date opportunities for your child!
Research has shown that children and adults with social support are less likely to get sick, at least less than others with fewer social supports. So go out and play! Friends not only have health benefits but also emotional benefits that improve mood!
Tip 9: Teach your child not to share!
This is the only situation you will ever hear me say these words! When it comes to germs and sickness, sharing is not safe. Make sure your child doesn’t share cups, silverware, drinks, food, and even toothbrushes with anyone else, even in the same household when cold and flu symptoms are present.
Tip 10: Be prepared!
Symptoms can strike at anytime so be ready. If you catch symptoms early enough you can possibly lessen the length of the illness and or the severity of the symptoms. Here is a quick shopping list to make sure you have everything you need when sickness strikes.
- Fever reducer (Infant or Children’s Tylenol) – Please ask your doctor before using to make sure your child is able to take Tylenol and based on weight and or age what dose to give so your child does not overdose.
- A cool mist humidifier (We the Crane brand elephant). Make sure to disinfect once a week with water and vinegar.
- A NoseFrida, the “the snot sucker” to help your little one breathe better. Make sure to change the filter after each use.
- Wet wipes to wipe your little’s nose – the wet wipes will help prevent redness that tissues can cause.
- A thermometer in case of fever to track how high the fever gets in case your doctor needs to be called.
- Vapor Rub. We use The Honest Company organic “Breathe Easy Rub” – we rub a little on our daughter’s feet and chest before bed.
- Little Remedies Saline Drops – to moisten the mucus in your little’s nose so you can get it out!
Stay healthy and safe this holiday season!
**I am not a medical doctor. Please consult with your pediatrician before giving your child any type of over the counter medication, vitamins, supplements, and or herbal remedies. If your child is under 3 months, fever is urgent and if their fever is 100.4 or higher it is considered a medical emergency and you need to call your doctor immediately. Here is more information on fevers from Dr. Sears http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/childhood-illnesses/fever