It’s like slow motion. A kid’s nose wrinkles. She sniffs. Her mouth opens. A sneeze is coming. And you know what might happen if that sneeze leads to a bad cold—weeks of nursing one kid after another and yourself back to health. Days missed from school. Days missed from work. Heaps of tissues and a huge dose of misery.
You throw your whole body in front of any other kids around you like a human shield to avoid the wrath of the sneeze.
This is one of the downsides of having a large family. If one person gets sick, it might be a months-long ordeal as the germs have a field day, hopping from one host to the next.
I think I have parenthood-induced germophobia.
But thankfully, it’s not a given that you’ll spend this cold and flu season fighting one illness after another. It is possible to have relatively healthy kids if you implement a few habits that will help keep the germs away and their immune systems balanced.
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“Shoes off, hands washed.” This is our mantra when we walk in the door.
Take off your shoes.
Shoes transfer germs and bacteria all throughout the house. You can help your kids stay healthier by having them take their shoes off once they walk in the door. Use shoes, socks, slippers, or bare feet when inside.
Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 30 seconds.
To stay healthy, your kids should do this after being outside the home, after sneezing or blowing their nose, after touching something you know to be particularly germy, and always before eating anything. Illnesses often spread by a kid touching something germy and then transferring the germs to his mouth. You know kids touch everything and put everything in their mouths, so be vigilant about the hand-washing!
Always have hand sanitizer available.
Although washing hands is the preferable route, using hand sanitizer is better than nothing. I like to keep hand sanitizer around for use at playgrounds, zoos, festivals, and other public places where it’s not easy to get to the restroom. (Honestly, the restroom might be another germ party, anyway.) My daughter has mini hand sanitizers clipped to her backpack and lunch box, and I have them clipped to our diaper bag and my purse.
Disinfect after your kids get home from school.
Keep Lysol spray around and disinfect your kids’ backpacks and lunch boxes before you put them away. You can also get in the habit of spraying high-touch areas, such as doorknobs and light switches. Some people go so far as to have their kids change into different clothes after they get home from school. I have to admit, I stopped doing this because it doubled my daughter’s laundry on school days!
Use EpiCor daily.
This, for me, has been a game-changer. When I was fed up with being sick all the time, I decided I wanted to find a “magic bullet” that would keep me healthy. I did a lot of research and finally settled on Hyperbiotics Immune, a probiotic that contains an immune system balancing fermented yeast product named EpiCor, along with Vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc. After I started taking it, I noticed that my instances of being sick had drastically decreased. Once I’d been taking it for a year and noticed such a huge improvement in my overall health, I found a children’s EpiCor capsule and started giving that to my two older kids. I break them open into either applesauce or yogurt daily. The EpiCor seemed to help the kids either get milder illnesses or fight them off altogether.
By implementing these habits, you will hopefully see many more days with healthy kids ahead!