The fifth season of the year is upon us -- Flu/Sick Season. Yes, it is that time of year when we receive calls from the school to come pick up our kids who aren't feeling well. For many families who have more than one child in their household, it can be a merry-go-round of illnesses. Some parents feel it's inevitable that their kids will get sick. What can you do to help your family stay as healthy as possible during this time of year? We have tips to help you stay as healthy as possible and help alleviate some of the symptoms when you or your family catch a bug.
WASH THOSE HANDS
It may be obvious, but teaching your kids to wash their hands is a great start to helping them stay healthy, especially if you have preschoolers or kindergarten aged little ones. Teaching kids that they must use soap and not just rinse, with warm water to kill germs is essential for staying healthy. We know some parents don't like the alcohol in hand sanitizers, but using a hand santizier for at least 60 seconds is a good alternative to washing hands as well. There are natural hand sanitizers available. Also, trying to teach kids to keep their hands out of their mouths, eyes and away from their faces as much as possible to keep germs at bay, although a challenge for little ones, is one more tactic for avoiding the cold/flu bug.
CATCH THE SNEEZE/COUGH IN YOUR SLEEVE
A little tip I learned from my son when he first started preschool was to catch the cough or sneeze in your sleeve and not in your hands. More schools are teaching this to kids. If kids find that gross, use a tissue and then dispose of it in the trash.
IS IT A COLD OR FLU?
So you've washed your hands, wore a mask and avoided all contact and live on Mars right? And you still caught the bug. What do you do now? It's hard to keep the symptoms straight and know the difference between a cold and the flu. Here is a helpful diagam from Saskatchewan Health, How to Differentiate Cold, Allergy, FLU (PDF). Whether it's a cold or flu, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated and get lots of rest.
WARM WATER & SALT
It is an old remedy that still works today. When you begin to feel the onset of symptoms, like a sore throat, simply add 2 tsps of salt to warm water and gargle. It not only gives you instant relief but may shorten the life of your bug.
TAKE A SICK DAY
This is difficult for most parents who have more than one child because usually kids and parents don't get sick at the same time. BUT try and keep your kids at home if you or they are sick. Avoid contact with people as much as possible. This is the same thing you would want if you were healthy and others were sick. This way you are not spreading it around to other kids and families. One doctor stated that the germs have mutated by the time it runs through a class of 25 kids, so a new round of sickness is introduced and will keep mutating and circulating. If you stay at home when you are sick, you can feel better and not prolong another round of colds.
CHICKEN SOUP & EATING HEALTHY
Yes, it is an old wise tale that chicken soup can heal a cold. Even if you don't believe it can cure a cold, it sure can make you feel better according to the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/health-tip/art-20048631). Eating healthy and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help your body stay healthy and shorten the life of a cold. Lots of oranges and other types of citrus fruits high in vitamin C are a great way to keep cold symptoms at bay and help keep you healthy. You can also talk to your local pharmacist regarding using a vitamin C supplement as to what is the recommended for a daily dose of vitamin C that you and your kids can take in a day.
Here is a great recipe for homemade chicken soup: www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/poached-chicken-and-vegetable-soup/.
HONEY & LEMON HOT WATER DRINK
Recently, my little one who is 7 years old was sounding like a monster when she coughed. I went to our local pharmacist to ask some questions about a big brand children's pain reliever. I knew it would help alleviate her sore throat symptoms for a bit so she could have a good nights sleep. When you look at the packaging, the regular bottle contains relief for fever, aches and chills, sore throat and other pains. But the special COLD forumla had other symptoms on the bottle like coughing, etc. I asked my pharmacist what extra ingredients were in the regular dosage that was different than the cold formula...she said nothing. No extra special ingredients. In fact, it was just a marketing tactic used by companies. It's actually the same ingredients. She then suggested some nice hot honey water and if your child can take a little lemon, that would be just as fine.
Happy New Year & Hope you stay healthy!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominci at FreeDigitalPhotos.net