I’ll be honest…this flu season has done more than scare me. It seems like every time I look online or hop onto Facebook, there’s another article about a seemingly healthy person losing their life to the flu. And, ya’ll, it’s not sounding like it’s anywhere near done! Now, I’m not all into scare tactics and over-reactions. However, this year I’ve taken the flu a little more seriously. Most of you know that my oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a little over three months ago. While I’ve never wanted my kids to get sick, this year the stakes are raised in my home due to his compromised immune system. I don’t want him to get sick but keeping him well somewhat hinges on keeping us all well. With this in mind, I’ve been doing research, talking to our doctors and coming up with a game plan to keep the germs out of my home. While I know I can’t control everything, I have come up with 5 simple ways to keep kids healthy that I think all you mamas out there will want to check out!
Up Your Vitamin Game
Please hear me when I say that I’m not a doctor. I am simply your everyday mom who has tried to educate herself on the supplements that keep my kiddos well. I am in no way telling you to give these to your kids. I am simply offering up what is working for us so that you as a mom can do your own research. With that being said, having a child with a compromised immune system has taught me the importance of making vitamins a part of our day. Here’s what I’ve added to our daily routine:
Black Elderberry: If you haven’t heard the buzz about Black Elderberry yet, it’s time to do your research. Elderberry has been proven to be an excellent immune system booster and some homeopathic studies suggest that a that a teaspoon of black elderberry syrup a day can have great benefits, especially during the flu season. Now, I’m pretty sure most people are in on this secret because it’s TOUGH to find Black Elderberry right now but there are some great recipes to make your own if you want or you can purchase it in a variety of forms including syrup, gummies and chewables. Just make sure you’re purchasing from a reliable source before giving it to your child.
Probiotics: I’ve been taking a probiotic for years (when I can remember it) but had never really thought about giving one to my children. As I did research after my son’s diagnosis, I learned more about how probiotics help keep your gut healthy which in turn helps ensure your immune system functions well. Again, there are various forms of probiotics but I’ve found a gummy form is the easiest to get into my kids.
Vitamin C: We all know that vitamin C can be good once we’re sick (doesn’t every reach for a glass of orange juice when a cold comes on?) but did you know that it is believed to protect against immune system deficiencies as well? In fact, some experts call Vitamin C one of the safest and most effective nutrients!
While I initially made these supplement choices for my older son to boost his immune system, I quickly learned that even my younger son who is in perfect healthy can benefit from them as well, especially during cold and flu season. If you’re looking for a quick, easy and relatively affordable way to help strengthen your child’s immune system, I suggest you do some research and find out if any of these options are right for you.
Sanitize but Don’t Forget to Wash
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the hand sanitizing queen. I carry a little bottle of it on my keychain and wiping down my kids is the first thing I do when I pick them up from school. While hand sanitizer is a great tool (especially during a flu season like this one), it’s important to remember that, at a minimum, every 5th time you go to sanitize you should really stop and wash your hands with soap and water. I advise both my kids to sanitize often but not forget to wash as well. A good practice is to teach them to wash their hands before meals and any other time their hands will be coming into contact with their faces.
Make Your Kids Germ-Aware
While I never want to scare my children, I do think that there are times when a good dose of parentally censored honestly is in order. Now, I don’t go sharing stories with them about kids dying from the flu. I also don’t try to over-dramatize what will happen if they get the flu (you’ll be home sick for what feels like a year and all your friends will forget about you…..). Seriously though, it’s important that our kids know basic rules to help keep them well. While I love that my youngest son wants to help everyone, I’ve asked him not to be the first to volunteer to walk little Billy to the office right after he puked on the playground. It’s not that I don’t want him to be a good citizen. However, I also want to minimize his exposure. I know that sometimes kids get sick and boy, do they ever love to share germs, but by teaching both my boys simple actions like staying away from where someone was just sick or wiping down their desk after a reported case of the flu, I’m helping them be proactive in our quest to keep them well.
Make Rest a Priority
I’ll be the first to admit that getting my kids a solid night of sleep sometimes feels like a challenge that can’t be conquered. My little guy is out of bed 42 time asking for a sip or water or a goodnight snack and my oldest is notorious for trying to sneak his phone to bed so he can text his friends. However, I know that it has been suggested that lack of sleep can make one more prone to catching colds and the flu. For that reason, rest during the cold and flu season is a priority in my book! Sometimes this means saying no to extra activities. Often it simply means starting the bedtime routine 30 minutes early. Find what works for your child but I’m finding it very beneficial to ensure that both my boys get a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night.
Know When to Seek Help
It goes without saying that especially during this cold and flu season, things can go downhill fast. I’m not the only one who has seen the stories about people who were well on Friday and hospitalized by Sunday. While I honestly avoid the doctor’s office like the plague right now (there are germs EVERYWHERE people!), it’s important to know when to seek help. Thankfully most doctor’s offices have a nurse line you can call if symptoms becoming concerning. If that’s not right for you, try online doctor’s appointments that are becoming more and more popular. For me, this year is a whole new world with my oldest and I find myself calling the doctor quite a bit. They don’t mind. They are happy to help. And in the end, I’ve learned that trusting my mother’s intuition has never led me astray.
This year, I’ve really subscribed to the thought process that a pound of prevention is worth an inch of cure. With almost every state being on high alert for this year’s flu, I’m doing everything in my power to ensure that my kids are staying as healthy as possible. Could they get sick? Absolutely! But for this mama, finding simply ways to try to prevent it from happening is my best defense!
Tell me, have your kids had the flu this year and, if not, what are you doing to prevent them from getting it?