February 14, 2011
Well, it's that time of the year again. When the cold and flu bugs are running rampant and spreading like wildfire. So, how do we fight these ever-pervasive little monsters that plague our children's bodies with aches, chills, coughs, fevers and a slew of other symptoms?
These are just a few practical, every-day tips, that may help save a few missed school (and work) days for your family.
1. Wash, wash, wash - yes, I know. We have all heard it a million times, but it is true. One of the most important things we can do for our children this time of the year, and year-round for that matter, is to make sure they are washing their hands frequently and appropriately. It is an on-going battle in my home. It's not that kids don't wash, it is how they wash. My children like to rub just the palms, leaving all of those other little cracks and crevices unattended to. I am constantly reminding them to scrub all of the areas of their hands from the fingertips to the wrists. The other major problem is the duration of the wash. Urge them to sing the ABC's (or Happy Birthday or whatever catchy little tune that will hold their interest for more than 10 seconds). In order to thoroughly clean the hands, the rubbing and scrubbing needs to be for an adequate amount of time. And do check what they are drying with - those towels need frequent changing as well.
2. Brush, brush, brush - what, you say? I am talking teeth here. This simple task, can save millions of little mites from taking up residence in you children's mouths. Many dentists and doctors will tell you that there is a direct correlation between dental health and overall body health. Which makes perfect sense, if you think about it. For where does the mouth lead? And same goes for this one, frequency and thoroughness are extremely important. So try to ensure that they are not just wetting the tooth brush for the fun of it. And while you are at it, check that tooth brush often to replace it or as I like to do in a pinch, run it through the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle!
3. Feed their bodies - with the good stuff. Yes, I know. We are all busy, and food can sometimes be an afterthought. But it is just like your mama told you, you are what you eat. And if your kiddos are constantly eating junk, they are probably going to be feeling it. I am not suggesting that you read every label of every box that goes into your grocery basket (which is a "must" in our house being that we have a daughter with severe food allergies), but let me tell you, once you start reading those labels, you will surely want to stop. I have a rule in my house, if I cannot read the ingredient list in about 10 seconds and be able to understand what at least 80% of the ingredients are, it doesn't make its way into my cart. Talk about a waste of time.
4. Probiotics - you know what I am talking about. They are found in yogurts, drinks, and many other "amped up" items at the grocery store now. I tend to like the ones found in items such as Kefir, which is a raging powerhouse of probiotics touting seven to ten billion of those little buggers per serving. Kefir dates back to many centuries ago, and is one of the oldest cultured milk products around. Probiotics are purported to boost immunity and restore balance to the digestive system. My family likes Lifeway Kefir which we find at Wegman's in State College. I am not a doctor (obviously), but I will tell you this, my daughter suffered a long bout with eczema as a baby (a lovely little pre-cursor to food allergies) and no steroid, oatmeal bath, or cream would alleviate it. I put her on a probiotic supplement, designed specifically for kids, and within 5 days her eczema was gone. And it has stayed at bay with the regular implementation of probiotics into our diets.
5. Keep Them Home - I know, this one can be extremely difficult at times, especially with our children constantly being over-booked. But when your child is sick, the last thing he or she needs is to deal with the stresses of school, practices, recitals, friendships, etc. Not to mention the fact that when your child's immunity is already lowered, what else are they going to bring home to you? Children need to be home when they are sick. And trust me, everyone else will thank you for it!
This should in no way, shape or form be interpreted as medical advice. These are simply every-day tips from one mom to the next. Please consult your healthcare provider to determine what is the best way to keep your child healthy :)
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