An Ounce of Prevention, A Pound of Cure: Protecting our Kids During Cold Season

Before you have kids, you may have gotten the old cold or virus once a year, but elementary schools, despite all the grownups’ best efforts, are little petri dishes hatching new and exotic versions of the bugs. And this continues until spring when hay fever season kicks in.

If you and your family have been handing around the ick, you are not alone. Aside from attending to our basic health regiment with good sleep, healthy diet, and regular exercise, there are some simple preventative measures we can take when we see that cold, flu or virus working its way toward us. Here are a few easy prevention tips to help fend off the cold season invaders.

 

  1. Probiotics. There are good bugs and bad bugs, or bacteria, if you prefer to get clinical. The harmful ones propagate sickness, and the beneficial microbes protect us from the bad ones. For kids, you can load them up with good bacteria through yogurt, kefir or chewable supplements, and adults can regularly consume pickled veggies or sauerkraut and take capsules.
  2. Lemon water. Lemon water helps to alkalinize the digestive tract, preventing our ph from becoming too acid. Those bad bacteria thrive in an acid-rich environment, so we can add in alkalinizing foods too, like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies and apple cider vinegar in our dressings.
  3. Garlic. From the moment you feel that little tickle in the back of your throat, pop some deodorized garlic pills or if that’s not possible, munch a raw clove. It will burn for a few minutes but alliums are a powerful source of immune boosting nutrients that really give your system a depth charge.
  4. Echinacea. Another easy one when you see the kids start to sniffle and slow down. There are kid-friendly teas and dissolvable powers that will nip that oncoming cold in the bud.
  5. Don’t touch your face. A 2008 study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that the typical person touches his or her own face around 16 times per hour. Leave your face alone and you cut down on the chances of a virus entering your body.
  6. Blow your nose often. We really have to coax kids to use a tissue instead of mopping their noses with their sleeves. But the other reason we want them to blow is because we want to flush out the excess germs and prevent mucus from entering the digestive tract. Blowing gently and one nostril at a time allows us to purge the body of the nasty stuff without spreading it.
  7. Wash hands right when the kids get to school. Schools have gotten great results in cutting down the number of infections by having kids wash hands as soon as they get to school. Likewise, have them wash their hands as soon as they return home.
  8. Steamy baths with eucalyptus. That horrible cough lingering for days or ever weeks can develop into a lung infection, so at the first sign, stop the tub, shut all the doors and windows and crank the shower as hot as it will go to make the bath into a steam room. A few drops of essential oil will help open up the bronchi to make breathing easier and loosen any blockages in the respiratory system. At night, you can rub a washcloth with eucalyptus oil on the chest and soles of the feet to help with breathing at night.

 

Don’t ignore those initial signals when the body contracts something; give yourself rest and keep the kids home so that no one is unnecessarily spreading germs. We do ourselves no favors by denying that we are under the weather, so instead, utilize some or all of these tips and keep the whole crew healthy and ick-free.  

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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