It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas? No, that was actually a little bit of sarcasm on my part — it’s cold and flu season again! Just when you thought you’d made it through, it’s back. Nothing brings out the sniffles and stomach bugs like sending your precious children back to school to exchange germs with their friends. But never fear! We are here to remind you of some simple and easy ways that we can all help our kids maintain their immunity and ward off those pesky germs.
Hand washing – did you know that you don’t need a fancy antibacterial soap to kill most germs? In fact, the ingredients in some antibacterial soaps may cause health concerns. Stick to soaps with gentle, natural ingredients and teach your children to wash thoroughly. I’ve started teaching my kids to wash their hands as young as one year old, holding them up to the sink and rubbing their little hands together with mine. So cute. They catch on fast and really enjoy the feel of the water!
Breastfeeding – if you are able to breastfeed and are still doing so, don’t stop just because you come down with a cold. Continuing to breastfeed throughout your own sicknesses passes valuable antibodies to your baby via breastmilk.
Hydration – to keep those nasal passages moist and flush the toxins out, make sure everyone in the family is drinking plenty of water. My kids drink more water if they have a sippy cup that they particularly love. When we move from room to room in play during the day, I move their sippys with us so that water is always within arm’s reach.
Saline sinus rinsing – to keep airborne germs from lingering and incubating in the nasal passages overnight, a saline sinus rinse is a great precautionary measure. You can use a saline (salt and water only — not medicated) nose spray especially formulated for kids, and follow the spray with the Nose Frida for children and babies too young to blow their noses. I’ve found that because I started using the saline spray and Nose Frida on my children as babies, my kids are not afraid of the sensation and they both learned to blow their own noses before the age of 2 (thanks, Nose Frida!).
Of course, this is only a short list of the most common preventative measures.
What are your favorite ways to keep you and your family healthy during cold and flu season?
I was breastfeeding when I contracted Strep Throat (it was AWFUL). I never stopped breastfeeding and my son remained healthy. I was worried he’d get it but he was fine. Maybe he’ll be even more immune to it in the future because I continued nursing!
I’m a teacher, and I wash my hands when I arrive home each time, and wash the kids’ hands if they have been handling stuff in public (school, shopping, play areas, etc.). I think it cuts down on what’s brought into the house.