If you have school age little ones your probably know winter will most likely deplete your paid time off with unexpected visits to the emergency room and the pediatrician. We keep children enclosed with the hopes of keeping them cozy and as we do this we also set the stage for increased exposure to viruses and bacteria. Along with proximity winter is also the season for sharing. Schools and churches organize endless social events where little ones joyfully share foodstuff often without care to basic hygiene. It is virtually impossible to survive winter unscathed, but don’t fret too much there are a few things you can do to prevent or reduce illness during the winter months.
The most common winter diseases are viral conditions affecting the respiratory system. Influenza, RSV and Strep are very likely to pay a visit to homes with little ones attending school. In addition to cold-like conditions expect an increase on gastroenteritis, as your little ones are very likely to be sharing food. Finally don’t be surprised to see lice infestations from the not so uncommon sharing of scarfs and hats characteristic of little ones with unselfish predisposition
Fight it From Within
There is much to be said about having a strong immunological response. This can be achieved by ensuring your kid’s health and nutrition is optimal for the winter season. Just before the season begins introduce vegetables rich in vitamin C and vitamin B. Emphasize the importance of balanced nutrition and give them a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. If you feel you are slacking when it comes to diet or you have a picky eater consider incorporating a multivitamin in order to supplement their diet.
Fight it From Without
Teaching your little one good hygiene habits is essential to reduce the risk of catching a bug. Teach your little one good sneezing and coughing manners along with disciplined used of sanitizer and regular hand washing. This will go a long way in reducing the possibility coming home with a new virus.
Be quick to fight it
The secret to a successful winter season is to be quick to act and ensure total eradication. Be responsive to symptoms and head to the doctor as soon as you can. As part of your parental arsenal you may want to keep a Rapid Response Strep testing kit. At the first sign of a cold increase their zinc intake and resort to mom’s best-kept secret incorporating chicken soup and orange juice to their diet. If you are faced with a stomach flu start by keeping the child hydrated. Good Hydration could save you many headaches and possibly a long-term stay in the hospital. Finally if you receive the dreaded call from the school nurse informing you of a lice infestation don’t try to fight it alone. Lice have become resistant to many treatment shampoos. Contact a lice removal service to help you address the infestation and reduce the number of work and school days missed by you and your child.
Finally, learn to embrace the reality of a not-so-perfect world. Stressing out due to the challenges you face with childhood diseases will only weaken your own immune system and may result in mama and papa catching the bug and therefore extending the length of the problem.
Martha Stone is a mother and a clinician for LRP of Mckinney TX. Before becoming a stay at home mom Martha worked as a nurse for NICU and specialized in respiratory therapy.