January has always been a tough month for me as a mom and taking care of my sick babies. It is a time of year where it is hot enough during the day to have the air conditioning on and cold enough at night to have the heat on. The constant fluctuation in temperature paired with the rampant winter germs that are pretty much unavoidable, make for an illness-infested combination. Each year during the end of January at least one or both of my children get sick. We have experienced nebulizers, croup, and ear infections, as well as the common cold and flu. Some of the germs are airborne and viral and at times cannot be avoided, especially if you ever leave the house! If your child is in daycare or school, it also increases the chance of catching one thing or another as they build their immunity. 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.
Below are my top 10 tips to help prevent or lesson symptoms of illness and my top recommended items you’ll need when illness strikes!*
Tip 1: Wash hands often & keep hands clean
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 warm 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. Another tip is to wipe down your high chair/shopping cart with some sort of antibacterial wipe or use a high chair/shopping cart cover to keep hands as clean as possible!
Tip 2: Regularly give your child vitamins, supplements, and or antioxidants to boost their immune system!
We give our children vitamins via powder or chewables every single night for health benefits and prevention of illness. We also supplement with elderberry syrup by itself or mixed with a half cup of cranberry juice and water at the first sign of a sniffle. There are great Elderberry chewables, too! 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 weight, not necessarily what is standard on the box label.
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. Parents, it is important for you to shut the lid after you use the restroom, too!
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 within 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.
The product I use and recommend the most is my Crane cool mist humidifier. (AD) They sponsored this post, but all of the opinions are my own. The cool mist helps relieve congestion is safe to use for newborns, infants, and children. The one gallon tank can run up to 24 hours, so we keep it on all day during nap, play, and throughout the night! It is so easy to take apart, clean, and put back together. And it is so quiet you cannot even tell it’s on, so thank goodness as a busy mom there is an auto off function that activates when the water tank is empty! The base is made with antimicrobial material to help reduce mold and bacteria growth up to 99.96%, but please make sure to disinfect your humidifier once a week with water and vinegar. Honestly I cannot say how much my Crane cool mist humidifiers have helped me and my children over the last FOUR YEARS – yes, they last that long and longer!!! We use them every time illness strikes to help keep my kids breathing well and sleeping through the night. It also will help relieve cough, cold, and flu symptoms as well as nasal congestion, dry coughs, sinus irritation, nosebleeds, and dry skin and hair!
There are 20 different animal cool mist humidifiers to choose from as well as over 12 drop ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers, and we own 3 different ones. The humidifiers are all FDA registered and BPA free and also come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. They have such cute designs, my children LOVE their cool mist humidifiers so much they even have names and are given hugs and kisses each night before bed. My daughter has the Elliot the Elephant https://crane-usa.com/product/elliot-the-elephant/ and my son has the Oscar the Owl https://crane-usa.com/product/oscar-the-owl/ and my husband and I share the Black Drop https://crane-usa.com/product/black-drop/
To shop my Crane cool mist humidifier click here: https://www.target.com/p/crane-adorable-ultrasonic-cool-mist-humidifier/-/A-13546455?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Health+Beauty+Shopping&adgroup=SC_Health+Beauty&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=m&location=1014218&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIw9zm77uA2QIVU2t-Ch038gnREAkYASABEgKxXfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&clkid=80c8d8b2Nf4be9379b545ad8b4a9b718e&lnm=81938&afid=Indi.com&ref=tgt_adv_xasd0002
To shop ALL of the different Crane cool mist humidifiers, please use this link https://crane-usa.com/product-category/humidifiers/ and make sure you are following them on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/crane_USA/ and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CraneUSA If you tag them with #MyCraneMyWay you have a chance to be featured! AND you can get a FREE ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION coupon to Parents Magazine with your humidifier purchase!
Other products to be prepared with are a fever reducer, but please ask your doctor beforehand to make sure your child is able to take any medication and you are given the correct dosage based on weight and or age so your child does not overdose. I also recommend a NoseFrida, the “the snot sucker” to help your little one breathe better. Make sure to change the filter after each use. And stay tuned for a GIVEAWAY later this week!!! You’ll also want to stock up on wet wipes to wipe your little’s nose because the wet wipe will help prevent redness that tissues can cause. You’ll need a thermometer in case of fever and to track how high the fever gets in case your doctor needs to be called. You’ll also want some sort of rub or essential oils to put on your child’s feet and chest to help them breathe better. We use The Honest Company organic “Breathe Easy Rub” but there are many different brands and options available. And last but not least, I recommend Little Remedies Saline Drops – to moisten the mucus in your little’s nose so you can get it out!
*Please note, I am not a medical doctor. Please consult with your pediatrician before giving your child any type of over the counter medication, vitamins, supplements, essential oils, 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
(AD) Crane sponsored this post, but all of the opinions are my own.