Earlier today, as I headed to my daughters’ school to collect my sick child, a good friend called to say her son was in the nurse’s office as well and she too was on her way to get him. It seems cold and flu season is upon us. So here are some new tips as well as the ones I posted last year for dealing with the black plague should it hit your home.
Before reading on, please know that I’m not a doctor. I’ve never been to medical school, I’m not even sure that I’ve ever even seen the exterior of a medical school. I’m just a mom, wife, person who is pretty good at figuring out how to make life a little easier.
TIPS FOR AVOIDING THE CREEPING CRUD
For the period of time when someone is fighting an illness, keep their toothbrush in a zip-lock so it doesn’t contaminate the other toothbrushes in the cabinet.
(Do not allow the free toothbrushes to mock the incarcerated one)
Tossing toothbrushes in the dishwasher is an easy way to sterilize them.
Toothpaste tubes themselves touch toothbrushes and end up harboring lots of germs as well. So it’s best to pick up a separated tube for the sick person. Or if you just keep a couple travel size tubes in the house, you’ll be all set when the time comes.
3) Separate siblings or spouses at bedtime
My husband and I have been able to avoid passing colds back and forth by simply sleeping head to foot. And when the kids are sick we play musical beds paring the healthy people with each other and quarantining the sickies.
(Fake sleeping selfie to illustrate)
4) Keep fingernails short
Underneath kids’ nails is a perfect place to gather germs. Just look at these nails after a single day at school. The longer they are, the more room for collecting germs. So keep ’em short.
5) The toilet!
There’s no getting around the grossness of stomach illnesses. When the toilet is being used to deal will such matters, beware that the germs from diarrhea and vomit hover up to 9 inches above the bowl. To avoid spreading stomach viruses, spay disinfectants on and just above the bowl. Further, the smell alone that comes from the bathroom may be enough to make others sick to their stomach. To deal with the odor, there is a funny yet extremely effective product called Poo-Pourri. No joke, try the stuff and you’ll never go without it again.
TIPS TO MAKE BEING SICK EASIER
Every website and doctor I’ve referred to says the same things. To prevent getting sick, don’t touch anything ever – door knobs, elevator buttons, conference tables, and for heaven’s sake do not touch your face! In fact, it might be best to just cut off your hands and face all together. But no matter what precautions you take, sometimes you’re going to get sick AND if you have small children, there will be times that you vaguely remember being healthy and then dismiss that thought as an impossible dream.
1) Keep skin soothed
The best non-irritating tissues are Puffs Plus Lotion If irritation occurs anyway, turn to Aquaphor to heal chapped and raw skin. Applying it doesn’t burn like other moisturizers and the stuff is made of pure magic; there’s nothing that heals skin faster.
2) Cough lollipops
For kids with soar throats that are still of the age that cough drops would be a choking hazard, they make cough drops on a stick, like a lollipop. Kids like these a little too much and think they’re candy. So be prepared to gather family and friends for an intervention to break kids of the lollies when they’re well again.
3) Easing laryngitis
Laryngitis is caused by the swelling of vocal cords. So in addition to the standard, honey, lemon in hot water, cough drops, drinking tons of water, and using a humidifier, try reducing the swelling. To do so, simply place an ice pack on your throat. It really helps!
4) Pull hair back
If there’s the potential for your kid to vomit and they have long hair, put it in a loose ponytail or bun on top of their head. Putting your sick child in the shower to wash throw-up out of their hair is a blast but I’m sure you can live without the fun of the experience.
(It may have been a mistake to have my healthy child model this fashionable vomit hair due. She’s now having way too much fun pretending to be sick, including insisting she is too ill for school)
5) Protect bedding
If there was a contest for projectile puke accuracy most kids would fail miserably. Having disposable bed mats on hand will help save bedding and cut down on how many loads of laundry you have to do in the middle of the night.
6) Hide fluids
For popsicles, mix Pedialyte with some juice or freeze Gatorade as is. Of course you can cut the Gatorade with water if you’re worried about the amount of sugar. For Jell-O, use Pedialyte instead of cold water.
7) Congestion care
If you are trying to avoid using harder over-the-counter drugs or treating a child, there are two things you can turn to for nasal congestion.
1) Saline nose sprays are non-habit forming and can help stuffy irritated sinuses. There are brands for adults, kids, and infants.
2) Breathe Right nasal strips are truly wonderful. Not to mention how pretty I feel when using one. They also make a size suitable for kids.
8) Sleeping with a cough
For adults that are uncomfortable with a pile of pillows under them or for kids that won’t stay on the pillows you use to prop them up, try boosting the mattress instead.
Using pills rather than liquid medications will insure that you are giving the correct dosage. It is also much easier to take pills with you if you’re leaving the house or traveling. Naturally, use precautions, as you would at home to ensure kids and pets can’t get into medications.
10) Keep boogers to yourself
A FEW WIVES TALES THAT MIGHT BE TRUE
Blue berry juice – My child’s very smart and wonderful preschool teacher, Miss Maressa, swears that drinking a full bottle of pure blue berry juice over the course of a day will kick any bug out of your system. As crazy as it sounds, the woman is around a million walking petri dishes every day and is always healthy.
Raw Garlic – Years ago, I was coming down with something and was in a situation where I absolutely needed to be 100%. A friend of mine told me about a cure for the common cold that his family from Trinidad uses. It’s to crush a clove of garlic, mix it in water, and drink the dreadful concoction. Desperate to stay healthy, I tried it. It was by far the worst thing I have ever put in my mouth. It was a level of spice intensity I have never experienced, it burned all the way up to my ears! That said, it stopped my cold in its tracks. So, if you are desperate enough to try anything, you might consider this ‘head on fire’ approach.