Keeping healthy has been hard this fall. With my oldest in kindergarten this year, and the twins going to a childcare center for the first time (at the gym,) we’ve had a lot of runny noses, coughs, and snot. Lots and lots of snot. Ugh.
Since Christmas will be here next week, I thought I’d share my best ideas for keeping healthy, as well as a few products you can use if you can’t escape the crud.
An (Un)Healthy Anxiety
The words respiratory virus, flu, and hospital give me a bit of a panic attack. Actually, a big panic attack.
When babies are developing in the womb, the lungs are one of the last organs to develop. Since my twins were born so early (25 weeks,) their lungs were in bad shape when they were born. They were on ventilators for quite some time, and had to have steroids to help them finally breathe on their own.
We were in the hospital for 3 months, and I really, really do not want to go back. I also do not want to see them with tubes in them to help them breathe. That is why I freak out about any cold or runny nose.
I have gotten better, though. The first winter was really bad, the second a little better, and the third better yet.
Now, I’ve decided, however, instead of being scared and completely isolating ourselves again (like we did for the twins’ first 2 winters,) I’m going to take some preventative measures, and hope for the best. Isolation really isn’t possible anymore with school. So, here are some tips I hope will keep us all healthy. I’ve included affiliate links, so if you would like to purchase any of the products, simply click on the picture, and at no cost to you, I will earn a few cents to help me maintain the blog.
1. Wash/Sanitize those hands!
I wash my hands constantly, but I need to really help the kids be more consistent. Luckily, they are great about hand washing in my son’s preschool, so it is making it easier at home. To make it fun, we sing “Happy Birthday to you” twice (to get our 20 seconds in,) and use fun, colored soap. If we’re out and about, I always have hand sanitizing wipes with me. They make tons of different kinds, including those that are safe for kids. I, personally, like wipes better than plain sanitizer because they wipe the dirt and sticky off, instead of just rubbing it around.
2. Wipe, wipe, wipe
Door knobs, handles, light switches, and even remote controls get icky and collect a ton of germs, so I am going to make it a priority to wipe them off at the end of the day. That way they have time to dry before any little hands get on them again the next morning. I like to use cleaning wipes, like Clorox, but you can make your own spray and just use paper towels too. Also, I keep a container of Wet Ones in my car to wipe the handles, steering wheel, and other surfaces, including my own hands. Even though my kids don’t touch most of the car stuff, I do… and then pick up my kids. See where I’m going with this? Most stores have wipes for their cart handles, which I LOVE, but I’ve never seen anyone wipe down one of those pens you use at the check-out. Germ City! Again, that’s why I have wipes in my car that you can use on both surfaces and hands.
3. Start healthy
The best defense is a good offense, right? So, everyone in the house needs to take their daily vitamin, a Probiotic, and I’ve even ordered some essential oils to boost our immune systems. You remember the awesome diffuser I mentioned in my Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide, right? I also got some Organic Vitamin C suckers for the kids. I give them suckers as treats sometimes, so I figure the ones that have vitamins and fruit/vegetable juice coloring are a better choice. Also, I’m really enforcing nap-time for the twins. I mentioned in yesterday’s POST that they sleep great at night, but they still get up really early. I’m talking really early.
In addition to all of the above, I make my son change when he gets home from school…and his Dad will be starting to do it too (Sorry honey!) It may seem extreme, but clothes are just another surface for those germs to ride into our house on.
Plus, if I see you coughing or sneezing, please don’t be offended if I stand back and don’t shake your hand. Many other viruses, like RSV, look like the common cold, so please be considerate. If you don’t feel good, or if your kid “just has a runny nose,” please stay home from work or school. I know it’s hard to miss your job or stay home with your child, but what may be just a “little cold” for you may mean something completely different for people with a compromised immune system. Just look at those pictures above, and imagine your own son or daughter or brother or mother in that hospital bed with all those wires.
Also, please don’t be upset if we can’t come to your event when we have a cold. We don’t want to spread our germs either.
You still get the ick
No matter how often you wash/wipe your hands, how well-rested you are, sometimes you still get a cold or something more serious. Obviously, you should consult your doctor first, but if it’s determined that it’s a cold, here are a few things you can use to make your kids more comfortable.
Most over-the-counter medications aren’t recommended for babies or even toddlers, and I know my guys are terrible at blowing their noses, so I highly recommend the NoseFrida. It looks totally gross, but I promise you that you will never get the snot anywhere near your mouth. Plus, it works so much better and faster than one of those bulb things.
Vicks Baby Rub works great on a baby’s feet and chest, which you can cover with pajamas and socks so they don’t ingest it.
A natural remedy called Zarbees is made with honey, and doesn’t have any medication in it. It is not safe for babies under the age of 12 months because of the honey. Under 12 months, a baby’s gut can’t fight the botulism that is sometimes found in honey.
I hope these tips help you keep healthy and enjoy your holidays. We’ve stayed out of the hospital in the 3 years the twins have been home, and I’m hoping we can keep up that lucky streak. I’m knocking on every piece of wood I can find (and washing my hands again!)