During cold and flu season, it’s pretty much inevitable that someone you know either at work, school, or in your household will get sick. Especially in the close quarters of your home, having a child battling a cold or flu virus means it’s important to be diligent about staying healthy. As their caregiver, staying well means taking care of their needs as they arise and doing everything possible to stop those nasty germs in their tracks so no one else gets sick.
In the well-insulated rooms of your home, germs can spread easily in tight spaces, which can cause colds and flu to hang around the home longer. Follow these tips to help stay well when your kids get sick and keep everyone happy and healthy.
Child sick? Wash your hands often. It’s also a good idea to have your son or daughter wash their hands if they are moving around beyond the comforts of the couch. A thorough washing of the hands includes soap and water for at least 20 seconds, in between fingers and under fingernails. Additionally, it’s never a good idea to touch your hands to your face, especially if a loved one is under the weather.
Clean the surfaces in the home. If your child has been snuggling on the sofa all day long with a bad cold, take extra steps to limit the spread of germs: make sure the remote has been cleaned prior to using it, pillowcases and blankets are washed, and other surfaces are disinfected. Hard surfaces like countertops, handles, doorknobs, and tables can all aid in the spread of germs if they aren’t cleaned properly. Some germs can live for up to 24 hours! Clean with a disinfectant of your choice or use ¼ cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water for a DIY formula.
As a caregiver, take it easy. We tend to worry when our little ones are sick. Let’s face it: it’s often hard to sleep at night when our child has a cold and is coughing at night, disturbing their sleep and a peaceful house. Generally, our immune system protects us from illness, but it can be challenged when we undergo stress, our sleep is affected or our healthy-eating regimen is comprised. To keep your immune system intact, eat right, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest. Include a regular exercise routine for the best results and to stay healthy. It’s also a good idea to limit the stress in your life, not just when illness hits but as a general practice. Some experts believe in the power of Vitamin C, however; there’s no real proof it does anything other than possibly shorten an illness if you do become sick.
Limit contact as much as possible. Limiting contact with a sick child or loved one may sound like an impossible task, but certain things can be done to help keep you, the caregiver, well. If possible, let the child with an illness stay in their own room to sleep and relax. Offer them all the amenities needed like snacks, plenty of water, a trash can and reading material. Keep guests at a minimum, such as grandparents and friends, so the germs are contained as much as possible. Even if your child feels better snuggling with you at night, it’s in everyone’s best interest to limit those snuggles (at least to the primary caregiver).
Flu shots do make a difference. Want to know one of the best ways to keep germs from traveling around the home? Get a flu shot. It’s one of the best ways to stay well. The vaccine is different every year, so schedule a flu shot with our office if you haven’t already done so. Please give our office a call if you have questions about this year’s flu shot.
If you’re already feeling under the weather, remember the following:
- Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow
- Wash your hands after you blow your nose
- Steer clear of healthy people in your home until you’re feeling better
- Remember to not share glasses or utensils if you start to feel under the weather
Cold and flu symptoms can take up to 10 days before diminishing. If you have questions about your child’s symptoms, notice anything unusual about their virus, or if he/she refuses to eat and drink for more than just a couple hours, please give us a call. If it’s time for a visit or check-up, contact Dr. Shaw or Dr. Kellow at 618-235-2311 or visit http://childcarephysicians.com to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you and hope you have a healthy fall and winter season.