Making it Through Cold and Flu Season
There usually comes a time when parents do battle with cold and flu season wielding determination, hope and a box of tissues. Rather than throw in the towel on day one, or waiting out the season until summertime, we’re answering some of your pressing questions and offering tips to helping your child feel better. Of course, a little TLC is always the best medicine!
Q: Why does my little one keep getting sick?
BabyCenter.com claims there are more than 200 viruses that cause the common cold, and your child can develop immunity to only one of them at a time! As your little one grows, they’re exploring a lot more with their hands, sometimes making it into the mouth or around the face. It doesn’t take much from there for a virus to pop in and set up shop for a seven to 10-day foothold on your kiddo (and your family).
Q: Winter is almost over. Should I still get a flu shot for my child?
No, it’s not too late! The Center for Disease Control recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the flu season. “Flu season most often peaks between December and March, but activity can occur as late as May,” says Dr. Dan Jernigan, Director of the Influenza Division at CDC.
Q: Why do these colds always pop up more in the winter?
“Cold air and indoor heating dry out their nasal membranes, making it easier for a cold virus to get a foothold there,” notes BabyCenter. In the winter months our children are usually spending more time indoors while it’s cold outside, making your home the perfect hotbed for contained viruses to easily spread from person to person.
Q: It seems like my kids get a cold every time I turn around. Is this normal?
Uptodate.com cites the common cold as the most common illness in the United States accounting for approximately 22 million missed days of school and 20 million absences from work, including time caring for ill children. Children under six average roughly six to eight colds per year with symptoms lasting an average of 14 days.
WebMD states babies and toddlers often have eight to 10 colds a year before they turn two. If your child gets colds in this range, it’s probably normal (but ask your physician to be safe!)
These tips can help your family navigate cold and flu season.
Practice Healthy Hand Hygiene. When cold or flu viruses break out in your community or school, no door handle, phone or TV remote is safe. Taking a few extra steps to make sure your hands are clean today can help you prevent seven long days of coughing starting tomorrow.
Homemade Feel-Better Brew. When it comes to getting in the liquids when you feel down, a hot home-brew can be just what the doctor ordered. Try this recipe for “Feel-Better Brew” by Parenting.com:
– 2 cups of water combined with the juice of 1 lemon
– zest from half that lemon
– 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
– 2 cloves chopped garlic
– an inch of chopped fresh ginger
– honey to taste (for kids over 1)
Bring to a boil, pour through a strainer, and serve with lots of love and attention in your child’s favorite cup!
This too Shall Pass.
Take comfort knowing that with every cold, your child is building immunity. CNN.com references a study from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine that babies who attend large-group child-care centers before they are 2 ½ years of age do get more respiratory and ear infections than those cared for at home. However, they are less likely to come down with these ailments once they start elementary school.
That might just be your silver lining when the sniffles arrive in your home.
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