“How can I keep my kids healthy this year?”
On average, school-age kids in America experience eight to ten colds a year, according to The Children’s Hospital Guide to Your Child’s Health and Development.
Flu Fast Facts
The flu is contagious a day before symptoms appear, and for up to 5 or 7 days
after symptoms appear.
Flu viruses spread mainly through droplets made when someone coughs, sneezes,
Only about 1/3 of Americans get a flu shot.These tips are designed to help kids stay healthy in the first place. If they do get sick, it will be only for a day or two, rather than a week or two.
The remedy for avoiding colds and flus is actually very simple. It starts weeks, months, and even a season or two before the dreaded cold and flu season hits. Let’s start with a look at what makes our kids susceptible to an infection in the first place.
There are always two factors in this cold-causing process:
The first is the exposure to the bacteria or virus. For all practical purposes, there is nothing we can really do to prevent our kids from being exposed. In a classroom or school cafeteria, every child will be exposed to every bug, but only a small percentage will typically get sick.
Why? This has to do with the second factor in the cold-causing process: susceptibility. Keeping your child’s immunity strong enough so they do not succumb to ever-present infectious bugs in the first place is the goal. Enjoy these five immune boosting tips!
Moisturize the Sinuses
During these first weeks of school, the exposure to cold-causing bugs is certainly higher. Cold autumn nights bring hints of winter with dry and cool air. Night heaters may dry the air even more and soon, the mucous membranes in the sinuses dry out. When this happens, the respiratory mucous membranes produce large amounts of reactive mucus due to the dryness
As excess mucus is produced, this provides the perfect breeding ground for a viral or bacterial infection. Most cold remedies, like Sudafed or antihistamines, will attempt to dry out the reactive mucus in the sinuses, thus making the original cause of infection worse.
Keep sinuses moist with cool mist humidifiers at night during those early back-to-school days, and keep them running right through the winter. Sinuses generally begin to dry out in mid-August, so the end of summer is not too early to break out the humidifiers.
Vaseline the nasal area before heading out into the winter weather.
Ear oil is another cold remedy that antidotes the end-of-summer and fall dryness. Drop warm ear oil in your child(ren)'s ears while they sleep, twice a month. If they catch a cold, use garlic-based ear oil twice a day until they are well, usually a day or two.
Ear oil lubricates the Eustachian tubes, which helps support better lymph flow through the cervical lymph, which governs upper respiratory immunity. Your local natural foods store likely carries a variety of ear oil products.
Early To Bed
One of the most difficult parenting tools for moms and dads is to get their kids to bed early. When one of the children gets sick usually we can track it to lots of staying up late, sleepovers, school stress, and excessive after-school activities that just wear them out. Pre-high school kids should be in bed by eight o’clock. For high school kids, lights should be out by ten.
This may sound difficult, but if a child is up past these hours on a regular basis, they will wake up fatigued and soon, when the stress mounts, their immunity will suffer.
If you like botanical remedies use an herb called Ashwagandha which means, “the strength of ten horses” – use the whole herb, not the extract. It is a great and very safe adaptogen for kids. It can give them energy during the day and at the same time, if taken before bed, it can support a deep and restful night’s sleep. It is not a stimulant, nor a sedative – it is a true re-juvenator that can help a child weather a stressful time.
Solution: Get those kids to bed early!
In 1850, the average American drank one can of soda per year. Today, kids drink two to three cans of pop per day. A report in The Lancet said that these sugary drinks increase the risk of obesity by 60%.
Soda, as well as any caffeinated beverage, will dehydrate the body. So to avoid dehydration, a kid must drink one 12 ounce glass of water for each 12 ounce caffeinated pop.
Dehydration in kids can cause stomach aches, bone loss, hormonal problems, obesity, fatigue, mood swings, poor focus ability, skin conditions, and much more.
An average person can lose two to three quarts of water a day through non-exertion. With exercise, a child can lose twice that amount. For kids doing sports, a 2% loss in body weight due to perspiration creates a 25% loss of their athletic ability.
Put water bottles in your kid’s lunch – not high fructose corn syrup juice boxes. At least, have them drink a large 8-12 ounce glass of plain water every morning and evening and give them water with lunch. A good rule of thumb for active kids is to drink one half of his or her ideal body weight in pounds in ounces of water per day to avoid dehydration.
Colds Start in the Digestive System
How often do they move their bowels? When asked be prepared for a blank stare. They have no idea—When I tell them it is normal to go at least once a day, first thing in the morning.. Parents have to help their kids track their elimination and know what is normal. If they know what is normal, they can be educated to tell their parents if their elimination is off.
Sluggish bowel function causes the villi of the gut to congest. The villi feed both nutrition and waste into the lymphatic system on the outside of the gut wall. It is here that experts believe 80% of the body’s immune system lies. So, regular bowel movements are key to optimal health and immunity.
1. Veggies are critical for optimal elimination. Remember, the cellulose in veggies literally attaches to toxins and escorts them into the toilet. Kids innately mimic mom and dad, so if your kids see mom and dad eating a ridiculous amount of veggies at each meal, just watch those once-disgusting vegetables get gobbled down by your kids. It’s a monkey see, monkey do thing!
2. If sluggish bowels are a chronic concern, try an herb called Triphala (sometimes spelled “trifala”). This bowel muscle tonifier helps the intestinal wall function efficiently without the use of habit-forming laxatives.
3. Avoid late heavy dinners. They are tough to digest and a fast pass to constipation. Of course, sometimes you cannot avoid a late meal. In my house, if we splurge and have a late pizza delivered and watch a movie, I give my kids an herb called Trikatu before we eat. Trikatu supports upper digestive strength so the heavy meal will not sit there and cause one to miss their morning bowel movement.
Controlling Mood and Focus with Food
According to Ayurveda, the middle of the day represents the best time to eat the largest meal of the day, as this is the time when the body can digest a meal most efficiently. This can be tough for school kids.
In the afternoon, when America is craving chocolate and coffee, the brain is demanding the lion’s share of the available blood sugar. If all they had for lunch was a cookie or a snack (a common lunchtime meal), then the blood sugar may crash in the afternoon. This is why kids are ravenous when they come home from school. If possible, leave a good healthy meal on the stove for them when they get home from school. Try not to just give them a sugary snack at this time. If they are craving sweets in the afternoon, it may be due to low blood sugar. A sweet snack here will only start the high/low roller-coaster of unstable moods and blood sugar.
When blood sugar is low in the afternoon, the body and mind must strain to muster the energy needed for afternoon activities. This low afternoon energy may lead to ups and downs in mood, low energy, lack of focus, and eventual weight gain. When a child is then asked to do homework with crashing blood sugar, this is an impossible task.
Plan on feeding them well shortly after they come home from school! No sugary snacks at this time!
Also, if possible, pack your kid(s) a big, healthy lunch to provide the energy necessary for afternoon activities.
Cold and Flu Prevention Tips:
Wash Your Hands
You've heard it many times before, but washing your hands is the single most
important way to stop the spread of colds. According to the CDC, about 80%
of infectious diseases are spread by touch -- the cold germs get on the hands
and from there into the eyes and mouth. Look at it this way: you can't keep
cold germs out of your house. But if you keep everybody's hands clean, they'll
be much less likely to get sick.
When you wash your hands, do it thoroughly. Use soap and water and scrub
for a minimum of 20 seconds. When you're not near a sink, a hand sanitizer
that’s at least 60% alcohol is a good substitute.
WHEN TO WASH HANDS:
The following list can serve as a guide for when to wash
• Immediately prior to engaging in food operations;
• After using the toilet;
• Before handling food, clean food-contact surfaces of
equipment or utensils;
• Before putting on gloves to work with food;
• After eating, drinking, using tobacco, coughing,
sneezing, touching the mouth, touching the nose, or
touching the hair;
• After handling raw meat, poultry and seafood when
cross-contamination can occur;
• After handling garbage, dirty dishes or soiled
• After handling personal belongings (street clothing,
purses, cosmetics, etc.); and
• At any other time as necessary to keep hands clean.
Cover Your Nose and Mouth
Most of us were raised to cover our mouths and noses with our hands when
we sneezed or coughed. Instead, use the crook of your elbow -- or a tissue.
That way, the cold germs won't get onto your hands and spread.
Cold germs can live on surfaces for hours. Consider disinfecting areas like t
abletops, doorknobs, remote controls, and toys. Use a common disinfecting
spray or wipes such as Clorox or Lysol. Or make your own by mixing 1/4 cup
bleach with 1 gallon of warm water. Don't make yourself crazy wiping down
everything your sick preschooler touches -- there's no way to keep a household
You need to be careful when you do laundry. Dirty clothes and bedding can spread staph or MRSA bacteria.
When touching your laundry or changing your sheets, hold the dirty laundry away from your body and clothes to prevent bacteria from getting on your clothes.
Wear disposable gloves to touch laundry that is soiled with body fluids, like drainage from a sore, urine or feces.
Immediately put the laundry into the washer or into a plastic bag until it can be washed.
Wash your laundry with warm or hot water, use bleach if possible.
Dry in a warm or hot dryer and make sure the clothes are completely dry.
Clean your hands after touching dirty sheets or clothing and before touching clean laundry, even if you have been wearing gloves.
Throw gloves away after taking them off (do not reuse them) and clean your hands.
Clothes and bedding
Change your sheets and towels at least once a week.
Change your clothes daily.
Do not put dirty clothes or clothes you have just worn back in your closet or drawers until they have been washed.
Colds can be spread by shared towels and cups in the bathroom.
When someone in the house is sick, consider switching to paper products
for a week.
Take Care of Yourself
Can eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress help prevent
colds? We don't really know. There is some evidence that they might help keep
your immune system strong -- and potentially more capable of fighting off a cold
What can I do to prevent the stomach flu in my baby?
Washing your hands frequently brings down the risk of passing on germs to your baby. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before feeding your baby and after:
- using: the bathroom
- handling leafy/root vegetables
- handling uncooked meat
- handling pets
- changing diapers or
- helping older children in the toilet
Make it a rule that older siblings wash their hands well before playing with the baby and her toys, or touching her bottles or feeding items.
Once babies can sit up and crawl, they can pick things up from the floor. They are then exposed to all sorts of germs and bugs. Thankfully around this time, your baby's immune system begins to mature as well. Nature is clever that way! You could make sure that:
- Your baby plays on a clean floor.
- Her toys are clean.
- Shoes, slippers and pet dishes are out of her reach.
- Her hands are washed regularly, especially before every meal.
If you have a maid looking after your baby, ensure that she follows basic hygiene:
- She should bathe every day
- keep her nails trimmed
- wash her hands before holding your baby
- as well as every time she uses the bathroom.
Keep your baby's utensils, cups, glasses, bowls, and other items separate.
Avoid sharing food and personal items like towels, clothes or handkerchiefs, especially if someone in the family is down with the bug.
Make sure your drinking water is boiled or filtered. If you are preparing supplementary feeds, make sure the water used has been boiled and then cooled, and stored properly. Ensure that boiled, cooled water is stored in airtight containers to prevent contamination.
As a rule, only glass or food grade quality plastic containers should be used for storing water.
Make sure these containers are washed regularly and that safe food preparation and cooking practices are followed.
If you have pets in the house, make sure they are trained not to litter the house. If your pet is unwell or has diarrhoea, make sure you keep him away from your baby's room. Do not let your pet climb on your baby's cot and keep your baby's things out of your pet's reach.
The rotavirus vaccine can protect babies and toddlers against some forms of diarrhea caused by the rotavirus. Discuss this vaccine with your doctor because it is one of the optional vaccines. Keep in mind that children above the age of 4 months cannot be given the first dose of the vaccine.
Injuries on the hands and lower portions of the arms such as cuts, abrasions, burns and even a hangnail must be cleaned and treated immediately. Often these injuries become infected. As a result, they can contribute to the contamination of food and equipment with disease-causing
Finger and surface bandages also contribute to contamination.To prevent food and surface contamination from an infected injury or bandage, wear a rubber or plastic glove
until the injury is healed.
Quite a list, yet over time will become second nature to any focused flu and cold seasoned parent.
Thanks to "Health and Welfare. gov", the "babycentre.in" and John Douillard DC for their invaluable resource information. As well as Daniel E. Tan (all photos, including slideshow) for his continued support in reaching and educating the human race, Peace.