By Becky Mansfield, Your Modern Family, first appearing here.
Four weeks ago, I caught it – my first cold this year. I rarely get sick (I usually say it’s because I was a teacher, so I was around different germs from thirty kids 5 days a week… I’ve built up a pretty good immunity to it).
Now that I have four kids of my own, my thoughts went right to them: how do I keep my cold from spreading to them? Here are things that I do, but be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
1. Be prepared!
Do you have everything that you need just in case they get sick? I make sure my medicine cabinet is ready to go with Children’s TYLENOL® Oral Suspension, which is easy on kids’ stomachs and temporarily reduces fevers.
2. Wash your hands!
We all know germs spread fast. They get onto your hands, and then when you touch your eyes and mouth, the germs get into your body. An easy way to show your children just how fast germs spread is with this simple activity:
- Take a balloon and blow it up.**
- Now put flour on your hands and touch the balloon all over.
- Pass the balloon to your kids and tell them to play with it.
- Now show them how the flour has spread to their hands: The flour represents germs.
- Teach your kids to really RUB their hands together (the action of washing is what is going to get those germs away).
- Let them sing the ABC song while they wash…that’s how long they need to wash their hands!
3. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
Our hands touch other peoples’ hands a lot, so when you cough into your elbow instead of your hands, that transfer can’t happen as easily. But it’s really critical that you and your little ones wash your hands consistently to mitigate the spread of germs – especially during cold & flu season!
4. Take care of yourself!
Take care of yourself and your family! You or your sick little one may find a warm bath to be soothing. Make sure everyone is eating healthy and getting to bed on time!
5. Throw it out!
Switch to paper cups, paper plates and paper napkins for the week. Believe it or not, germs are spread by sharing towels or cups, so make that almost impossible by giving kids throw-away products. Plus, it lowers the chance of someone else finding it on the counter and using it.
Clean and disinfect the home, including those hard-to-reach spots! Be sure to wipe off countertops, door knobs, light switches, handles and other things that are touched often.
7. Get plenty of rest, drink water and just take care of yourself. You’ll feel better in no time!
**Be sure to use the balloons with care; the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises against children under age 8 playing with balloons unsupervised, which can be a potential choking hazard. WARNING: Keep flour away from child’s face to avoid inhalation, which can cause breathing problems. Avoid contact with eyes. Avoid contact with open flame.
Becky Mansfield is a paid spokesperson for the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Program.