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Posts Tagged ‘cold and flu season’

Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends flu vaccinations for everyone 6 months and older, and that nearly 70 percent of American ages 18-49 didn’t get the flu shot last year! 

I have had the worst flu and now a cold for the past 2 weeks – it has really kept  me down. I think I caught something at my niece’s 2nd birthday party playing inside the bouncy house for 3 hours with her (I couldn’t resist!).  Here are some tips on how to prevent your kids getting the flu and colds this winter: 

1.     Get the Flu Shot! Why?

  • You can’t afford to be sick. Do you really want to spend a week or more violently ill, missing work or scrambling for child care? “Even if your child is vaccinated, he could still bring the virus home from school or a playdate, and you’ll be exposed.
  • You’ll protect your unborn baby. If you’re prego, new studies show that getting the shot will give your baby antibodies that will guard him for months after he’s born. That’s key since infants under 6 months old can’t get the vaccine, and they’re at higher risk for serious flu complications.
  • Your kids’ protection isn’t as strong as yours. Even if your children are vaccinated, their immunity fades faster than yours, so your shot offers an extra layer of protection during that time. It will also make it a lot easier for you to care for them if they do get the flu.

2.    Wash hands well
Make your child lather up with soap and water after playing outside, using the bathroom, and coming home school or day care, as well as before each meal. Carry hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol.

3.    Prescribe sleep
A lack of sleep nearly doubles the chances of getting sick. So make sure your child is regularly getting enough zzz’s, and set an earlier bedtime if your child has been around someone who’s sick.


4.    Feed your kiddo a good diet

Instead of relying on vitamins or supplements, make sure your child eats a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

5.    Bundle up
A British study found that getting chilled while cold and flu viruses are circulating may triple your chances of getting sick.

6.    Discourage eye- and nose-touching
Otherwise, you really up your chances of infecting yourself after getting germs on your hands. The enzymes in our mouth provide some defense against germs, but the eyes and the nose don’t have that kind of protection.

7.    Teach proper coughing
Encourage younger children to “catch” their cough in their bent inner elbow, not in their hand. Older kids can be taught to act like they’re holding a cape across their face like Dracula. Teach your children to immediately wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.

8.    Disinfect away.
Germs can live for hours on inanimate objects. Target toys, doorknobs, remote controls, handrails, tables, books, light switches, crib railings, faucets, the toilet handle, the telephone, the diaper-pail handle, and more.

9.    Ban sharing.
Most of us know that we shouldn’t use the same cups, toothbrushes, or eating utensils. But did you know that you should give sick family members a separate place to store their toothbrush, and their own towels or paper towels for hand drying? Even give your sick child his or her own toothpaste. 

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American children miss a total of 22 million school days each year due to the common cold and 38 million days because of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s that time of year again – fall flu season and nasty colds. With the kids going back to school it almost seems inevitable that your child will catch a little something that leads to coughing, running nose and a cold. Here are some great tips of how you can make your child one of the healthiest in his or her class!

Keep Hands Clean
Regular hand-washing dramatically reduces the passing of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness, so get your kids in the habit of scrubbing up (or using a hand sanitizer) when they leave preschool or day care, after every playdate, and before they eat. Teach kids to sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves twice before rinsing — scrubbing for 15-20 seconds is key. Spray kitchen counters, doorknobs and sink handles with disinfectant once a day and remind your child to wash her hands frequently. Covering coughs and sneezes. Teach your youngsters to sneeze and cough into their elbows, rather than onto their hands. Hands will more likely touch toys and other children.

Exercise & Activity
Encourage a healthy lifestyle for your children, and you. A healthy diet, exercise (including playing safely outdoors while wearing sunscreen), and a good night’s sleep go a long way towards preventing illness. Studies indicate that regular, moderate exercise can reduce the number of cold and flu episodes that occur over the course of a year by 25-50 percent, possibly by boosting the circulation of infection-fighting cells. “Exercise is better than any advertised cure or miracle,” says Harley A. Rotbart, M.D., Parents advisor and author of Germ Proof Your Kids: the Complete Guide to Protecting (Without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections (ASM Press, 2007).

Sleepy Time!
Make sure kids stick to an early bedtime. Most babies need approximately 14 hours of sleep a day; preschoolers need 11-13 hours of Z’s.

Avoid Touching His or Her Face
Try to avoid rubbing eyes, noses and mouths with dirty hands. However, most of us do so unconsciously — that’s why hand washing is so important. Cold and flu viruses enter the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth, so help your child keep her hands away from those areas. Yes, it can be very difficult to accomplish — hand-washing at strategic moments is all the more important. Teach your child never to share a straw, cup, or toothbrush.

Balanced and Healthy Diet
Meals with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables will help boost your child’s immune system. Look for foods rich in vitamin C (broccoli, strawberries, and oranges) and vitamin D (tuna, fortified milk, and cereals). Eating yogurt with active cultures (probiotics) can also help build defenses. Breastfeeding also helps a child build a strong immune system. A study in the August 2009 “Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics” showed that children age three to five who were given the probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis lactis had fewer fevers, coughs, runny noses and absences from school. If they did get sick, the children got better more quickly and didn’t need antibiotics as much as the children studied who were not given the probiotics.Children who weren’t breastfed get five times more ear infections later in life than those children who were, according to the MedlinePlus online medical encyclopedia, so breastfeed her for as long as possible.

Avoid Sharing Food at School
Avoid sharing food, cups or eating utensils. Pre-schoolers finger-dip and double-dip, so to each his own.

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Winter is in full force…well here in New York it is! Burrrrr!!! My boyfriend’s nieces keep catching colds, especially from the kids at school. So what are ways to protect your kiddo from the endless germs and viruses they are exposed to every day?

We all get sick as a kid. Slowly, children prime their immunity by battling an ongoing series of germs, viruses, and other organisms — which is why many docs consider 6-8 colds, flu, or ear infections per year normal. BUT, there are healthy habits you can implement that will give your child’s immune system a boost. 🙂

  1. Serve more fruits and vegetables. Carrots, green beans, oranges, strawberries: They all contain such immunity-boosting phytonutrients as vitamin C and carotenoids. Veggies and fruit may increase the body’s production of infection-fighting. Try to get your child to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day. (A serving is about two tablespoons for toddlers, 1¼ cup for older kids.)
  2. Increase sleepy time! Studies of adults show that sleep deprivation can make you more prone to illness – the same holds true for children! How much sleep do kids need? A newborn may need up to 18 hours of crib time a day, toddlers require 12 to 13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours.
  3. Breast-feed your baby. Breast milk contains turbo-charged immunity-enhancing antibodies and white blood cells. Nursing guards against ear infections, allergies, diarrhea, pneumonia, meningitis, urinary-tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.
  4. Exercise as a family. Research shows that exercise increases the number of natural killer cells in adults — and regular activity can benefit kids in the same way. Fun family activities include bike riding, hiking, in-line skating, basketball, tennis – or even just a simple game of tag in the park! My nephews also have wii and you can get fitness games too that are fun for the whole family! Trust me, boxing doesn’t seem hard on the wii, but your body will be hurting!
  5. Wash your hands! Make sure your kids wash their hands often — and with soap. You should pay particular attention to their hygiene before and after each meal and after playing outside, handling pets, blowing their nose, using the bathroom, and arriving home from day care. When you’re out, try to carry Purell for the family. To help kids get into the hand-washing habit at home, let them pick out their own brightly colored hand towels and soap in fun shapes, colors, and scents.
  6. Throw away sick toothbrushes. If your child does get sick, throw out her toothbrush right away. A child can’t catch the same cold or flu virus twice, but the virus can hop from toothbrush to toothbrush, infecting other family members.
  7. Don’t pressure your doc. Many times, worried parents urge their docs to write a prescription for an antibiotic, but most of the time, illnesses are caused by viruses and antibiotics can only cure bacterial illness.

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