Posts Tagged ‘childhood infections’

Before you panic, it’s important to remember that many germs—millions of them, in fact—are essential for our survival. BUT, during the cold and flu season, I wanted to give you some tips on where germs hide.

Quick Spots to Watch for Germ Hideouts:

  • Steering wheels of children coin-operated rides
  • Shopping cart handles
  • Vending machine slots
  • Bath toys
  • Baby walkers
  • Telephone handset
  • Computer keyboards
  • Television remote control
  • Carpeting, especially wall-to-wall
  • Door handles and door bells
  • Cell phones


  1. DIAPER CHANGES: Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water after each and every diaper change.
  2. DOORKNOBS: Infection-causing germs can linger on doorknobs, especially during cold and flu season. Remember to clean them daily or whenever visitors stop by to visit your baby.
  3. STUFFED ANIMALS: Dust mites love to hide inside stuffed animals and other plush toys.  Wash Teddy and his soft friends weekly on a gentle cycle-especially during the winter season. Or if Teddy can stand a little more winter cold, put the stuffed pal in the freezer once a week to kill the mites.
  4. TAKE OUT THE TRASH: Protect the air quality in a baby’s room all winter long by taking out the trash frequently, using a tightly covered diaper pail, keeping pets out of the nursery, and, if possible, choose hardwood floors over dust-and-odor harboring carpets.


  1. FLUSHING: According to BabyZone.com, “”Flushing the toilet with the lid up can send drops of aerosolized [fecal] matter onto toothbrushes, combs and brushes, as well as faucets, sinks and counters.” You can keep germs at bay by sanitizing toilet lids, bowls and seats weekly with a germicidal cleanser.” Wear gloves to protect your hands from water or surface contact, and always use a rinse-able brush or disposable cloth (never a sponge).
  2. LAVO LOS MANOS: It’s recommended that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. That’s about the same time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice! According to Parents.com, “Nearly 22 million school days are missed each year because of the common cold. Teach your family to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds (sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice), especially when one of you is ill.  This will help prevent spreading sneeze and cough droplets through contact.”

Living Room:

  1. SHOES: Your winter boots protect your feet, but they don’t protect your home from the germs they track inside, so put your boots somewhere they can dry off.
  2. TOYS: Usually, a nontoxic cleanser like soap and water or hydrogen peroxide does the trick. Cold viruses can live for days or even weeks on plastic, vinyl, or metal surfaces such as toy cars (and many germs that cause diarrhea can survive on dry surfaces for months!).  Clean toys regularly in the dishwasher or with dish washing soap and warm water, rinsing thoroughly—especially if a sick friend comes for a play date.

The most germ-infested spot you (and your kids) touch every day is not at the playground or in your bathroom, but on the average kitchen table.

  1. SPONGES: Kitchen sponges are the top source of germs in your whole house, and nobody wins when you “clean” counters and dishes with a dirty sponge.  Zap a damp sponge in the microwave for two minutes, or run it through the dishwasher to clear out the germs before you wipe down surfaces.
  2. GLASSWARE: Remember that cold and flu are most easily transmitted through contact with germs on the rims of drinking glasses. Avoid accidently sharing glasses at home this winter.
  3. RING-A-DING: According to Parents.com, “Telephones can carry upwards of 25,000 microbes per square inch.  If you’re chatting while cooking, get into the routine of wiping down the phone along with the counters and sink every night.”


  1. CUTTING NAILS: We all do it – cut our nails in our bedroom, don’t deny it! Did you know shorter fingernails harbor fewer germs than long nails, and unpolished nails stay cleaner than manicures?  Stick with short, unpolished nails during flu season (if you can).



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With your kids back in school and new exposure to germs and other fun little sniffles from the other children – how do you recognize when your child doesn’t just have the sniffles, but actually has a fever that might lead to illness and you should possibly see a doctor?  Well, I have been ‘down for the count’ for 3 whole days with a fever and sore throat which I caught from my boyfriend’s 3-year-old cousin who recently went back to school. I won’t lie though, I did call my mom for advice on my sickness.

As a parent, you’ve probably experienced waking in the middle of the night to find your child rosy checked, hot, and sweaty. You check your little one’s forehead, and it feels warm. You might immediately suspect a fever, but are unsure of what to do next. Should you get out the thermometer? Call the doctor?

According to Kids Health Organization, “In healthy kids, fevers usually don’t indicate anything serious. Although it can be frightening when your child’s temperature rises, fever itself causes no harm and can actually be a good thing — it’s often the body’s way of fighting infections. And not all fevers need to be treated. High fever, however, can make a child uncomfortable and worsen problems such as dehydration.”

Here are some facts about fevers, how to measure them and when to call the doc. 

Fever Facts
Fever occurs when the body’s internal “thermostat” raises the body temperature above its normal level. This thermostat is found in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus knows what temperature your body should be (usually around 98.6° Fahrenheit or 37° Celsius) and will send messages to your body to keep it that way.

Sometimes, though, the hypothalamus will “reset” the body to a higher temperature in response to an infection, illness, or some other cause.

Causes of Fever
It’s important to remember that fever by itself is not an illness — it’s usually a symptom of an underlying problem. According to Kids Health Organization, fever has a few potential causes:

Infection: Most fevers are caused by infection or other illness. Fever helps the body fight infections by stimulating natural defense mechanisms.

Overdressing: Infants, especially newborns, may get fevers if they’re over bundled or in a hot environment because they don’t regulate their body temperature as well as older kids. However, because fevers in newborns can indicate a serious infection, even infants who are overdressed must be evaluated by a doctor if they have a fever.

Babies and kids sometimes get a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated.

Although teething may cause a slight rise in body temperature, it’s probably not the cause if a child’s temperature is higher than 100° F (37.8° C).

How to Tell Your Kid Has a Fever.
A gentle kiss on the forehead or a hand placed lightly on the skin is often enough to give you a hint that your child has a fever. However, this method of taking a temperature (called tactile temperature) is dependent on the person doing the feeling and doesn’t give an accurate measure of temperature.

Use a reliable thermometer to confirm a fever (which is when a child’s temperature is at or above one of these levels): 

  • 100.4° F (38° C) measured rectally (in the bottom)
  • 99.5° F (37.5° C) measured orally (in the mouth)
  • 99° F (37.2° C) measured in an axillary position (under the arm)

But how high a fever is doesn’t tell you much about how sick your child is. A simple cold or other viral infection can sometimes cause a rather high fever (in the 102°-104° F / 38.9°-40° C range), but this doesn’t usually indicate a serious problem. And serious infections might cause no fever or even an abnormally low body temperature, especially in infants.

Other signs are:

  • Hot and flushed all over
  • Irritability or crying
  • Listless or lethargic
  • Restless during the night
  • Loss of appetite
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Sudden vomiting
  • Whining, complaining or clinginess

When a Fever Is Something Serious
In the past, doctors advised treating a fever on the basis of temperature alone. But now they recommend considering both the temperature and a child’s overall condition.


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Chocolate_syrupIt’s rare that my daughter has been ill enough that she needed to take prescription medicine. In fact, this past week was the first time she was prescribed antibiotics in her eight years. She needed to take a liquid form of that traditional pink thick syrup to get rid of an infection. The first few doses she was able to drink with only a wrinkled up nose. After two days, she had decided that the medicine wasn’t working and it made her gag, so she refused to drink it. I knew she was strong-willed (is that the nice way to say stubborn??).  I was at a loss, frustrated and mad at her defiance. After I calmed down, I did some reading and found the suggestion of diluting strong medicines in our favorite self-help book, “Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child”. I confirmed the findings with the pharmacist who filled our prescription who suggested using a juice as a dilution. That trick seemed to work for two more doses, then my daughter and I were battling again. My next avenue was to call the doctor’s office and a nurse there recommended a stronger flavor like chocolate syrup. The next dose we tried that and suddenly my daughter “loved” taking her medicine. She even offered to mix the dose herself so she could squeeze extra chocolate into it! I always supervised and set a limit to her chocolate intake! Luckily, the medicine bottle was finished within a few more days and her infection has cleared. I’m always amazed at the things you have to learn the hard way in this parenting adventure! What tricks have you tried with your kids who need to take medications?

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