Catch your sneeze please!
Ahh, the dreaded cold and flu season is upon us. Here are some tips to preventing your child (as best you can) from getting sick. On a side note, going outside and being cold or cold weather will not cause your child to become sick. People are indoors more and when one person is sick they can easily spread it to another since they are in closer contact. Not to mention that the dryer air makes it easier to spread germs. Colds and flus are caused by viruses in which your body can better fight them off if you are in tip top condition and by following some easy prevention steps.
1. Handwashing. It is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Remind children to always wash their hands before eating, after using the toilet, and after blowing their noses or if they cough or sneeze in their hands instead of their sleeves. Consistency is key to building a good habit of washing their hands.
2. Covering up. Not in layers, but by reminding children to "catch" their coughs or sneezes in their sleeves. If they catch it in their hands and they forget to wash them right away then the germs can be easily spread.
3. Stay healthy. Help children have a strong and healthy immune system by making sure they eat nutritious foods and get plenty of exercise and sleep. Lots of vitamin C rich foods are great for prevention.
4. Keep your child at home if they are ill. Children are most infectious BEFORE the runny nose, cough, or other symptoms appear. If they feel well enough to go to school make sure they can clean their own noses, remember to wash their hands after, and catch their coughs and sneezes in their sleeves or tissues. Otherwise they will just spread their germs to others.
5. Consult a doctor. If our child has a rash, diarrhea, or infectious disease like strep throat, please, please keep your child at home and consult a doctor. This is for the safety of your own child as well as the other children and caregivers.
6. Model. Don't just tell your children how to cover their coughs or sneezes. Show them and do them yourself. What you do, children will do too.
Tip for adults: I personally swear by oil of oregano. It's not the best tasting thing in the world. Honestly, it can taste as bad as a shot of vodka. But if it means that I won't get sick, it's well worth it. I'd rather suffer the few seconds of downing it like a shot with a chaser of juice than be sick for a week, sometimes even two! It's just not worth it for me. Now that I'm pregnant, I cannot take oil of oregano as it is too strong so I am actually taking echinacea twice a week and vitamin C everyday under the advice of my naturopath. I refused to take the flu shot this season as there is just not enough evidence that it is safe for my baby. Umm, no thanks to the dog DNA and mercury! By the way, didn't they get the wrong strain this year? I remember this happening a few years back. In my opinion, I think it is not worth it and would rather take natural supplements which have been used for thousands of years.
For more information, see Sneezes and Diseases, a resource book for caregivers and parents.
To contact your Public Health Nurse or your local Community Health Office, visit: www.vch.ca