As I sit in bed suffering from my first cold of the Cold and Flu season, I thought I’d repost this blog article from a few year’s back on what you, as parents, can do to help your child avoid getting sick.
It’s inevitable that from time to time you and your child will be exposed to people who have a cold or who are spreading airborne germs. While the odds are that your child will catch the occasional cold, there are certainly a few ways to reduce the number of colds that she gets.
- Try to keep ahead of the germs. Disinfecting wipes or a water and bleach solution can be used for this task. Make sure that you are regularly cleaning door knobs, handles, cabinets, toys, and anything else that little hands might come into contact with. For every gallon of water, 1 ½ teaspoons of bleach should be added to create a solution to disinfect surfaces and toys. For diapering and toileting areas, 1 tablespoon of bleach can be added to 1 gallon of water. Let the bleach solution sit for 2 minutes before wiping it down. If you are worried about your child coming into contact with chemicals, look for all-natural sanitizing solutions. You’ll also want to make sure that everyone in the house frequently washes their hands with warm water and soap.
- Change toothbrushes often. Toothbrushes can harbor germs and re-infect your child if the germs are not killed. Dentists recommend that toothbrushes be replaced every 3 months if you are healthy, more often if you are not. Toothbrushes should also be replaced after an illness. To kill germs soak the toothbrush in antiseptic mouthwash for 5 minutes or run your toothbrush through the dishwasher. Warning: Boiling your toothbrush or running it through the dishwasher will wear out the bristles faster.
- Feed your child a healthy diet. If your child eats a proper diet it will strengthen his immune system and he will be better able to fight off cold-causing germs. Make sure he eats plenty of fruits and vegetables, as these contain the proper vitamins and minerals needed to build up his body’s natural defenses. Eating foods high in vitamins is better for absorption of those vitamins than taking vitamin tablets.
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of water. Water not only keeps your body hydrated during the very dry winter season, but it helps your body flush out unwanted toxins. Water also helps your lymph system run better, which is part of your body’s immune system, and it fights off illness.
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Sleeping is extremely important, and most people don’t get enough of it. Doctors recommend that children sleep 10-11 hours per night. A lack of sleep can affect how well your child grows because the body produces a growth hormone during sleep. Digestion also takes place during sleep. Bodies need this down time to recover and rebuild after a busy day of being a kid. By getting enough sleep the body is better prepared to fight off germs.
Also, study this chart or print it out to figure out if you or your child is suffering from seasonal allergies or a cold. I was not sure at first but this chart helped me figure it out: