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Staying Healthy when Kids are Sick
Once babies, toddlers, and kids start engaging in group activities, it is tough to prevent them from getting whatever is going around. This, however, does not mean that you have to go down with the ship. Here are some tips on staying ahead and above the sniffles, bugs, and maladies.
Stomach viruses are common during the winter months, defend yourself by washing your and your child’s hands after each diaper change. Certain conditions are contagious for several weeks after symptoms vanish, so keep the hand washing up, make sure your child doesn’t share toys or snacks with others, and be sure to clean surfaces or linens that come into contact with your child’s stool as often as you can.
Colds and Flu
Infection control starts with all the old adages: Wash your hands often and teach your child to do the same. Don’t share cups or utensils with your little sick one, and that goes for snacks as well. (We know those Goldfish are tempting, but you’ll regret reaching your hand into that ziplock snack bag on first sneeze, we promise.)
Defend yourself by keeping a distance from your child when they cough or sneeze. We know it’s tough, but you can spare their feelings by explaining to them that viruses can’t travel more than three feet, and you just want to stay healthy. In addition, and a good practice to adopt into your daily life to prevent any unwanted illness, is to try and get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. And we know it’s tough, but when the troops are coming down with something yucky, try and keep the stress level down. It just might save you from being another sniffling victim.
Don’t Stress the Sanitizer
Hand sanitizers can be a great alternative to having to wash your hands constantly during an epidemic, but be careful with them when it comes to your children. Most common brands contain 45% to 95% alcohol and can be highly toxic if accidentally ingested.
There is Such a Thing as too Careful
With all of these tidbits of advice, it is easy to go overboard in an attempt to sterilize your family’s environment. Simply put, don’t do it. In a recent study on families in the UK who washed their dishes by hand or in a dishwasher, it was found that children who ate off of machine-washed and sterilized plates had a greater likelihood of developing low-immunity conditions, such as eczema. Believe it or not, children who were exposed to more “real-world” bacteria on the hand-washed plates had stronger immune systems.
This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t protect your children. It is just to say, don’t drive yourself crazy. Your kids will get sick sometimes, as will you. There are certainly practices you can adopt to protect yourself and slow transmission, but try not to lose too much sleep over it. That never helps.