Friday, September 3, 2010

Keeping Kids Well in Cooler Months

With the coming of cooler weather just around the corner, many of us are looking forward to falling leaves, fireplaces and apple pie. Maybe it's just me, but since I became a mother I always look to the winter season with a feeling of dread. This is when colds, flus and all manner of sickness seem to hit.

I cannot be a germophobe without it seriously affecting my sanity. Young children seem to invent new ways daily to get germs into their tiny bodies. So, I've figured the best way to combat illness is to improve the function of our immune systems, limit unnecessary germs as much as possible and hope for the best.

Here are some things that seem to help around our house (maybe it's an illusion, but again, it helps my sanity!) when I actually do them:

1. Keep fingernails short. I just assumed you'd heard somewhere that frequent handwashing is the best way to combat illness so I skipped that one. However, even if you have kids that wash their hands perfectly every time, a lot of germs can hide under fingernails. I like to keep the nail clippers handy in the bathroom and take care of this little job while they are still in the tub. (Long fingernails are also a pet peeve of my piano teacher self, but that's another post on another blog.)

2. Stock up on vitamin C. I am a firm believer in large doses of vitamin C when someone is starting to get sick or already sick. I've seen it stop a cold in its tracks or greatly reduce the severity of it. Experts will tell you different, but if it's a placebo, let me stay deceived.

3. Eat real food as much as possible. If we are supposed to let our food be our medicine and vice versa, then I'd rather trust God's real food than man's chemical concoctions. I've noticed my kids are more likely to get sick after a weekend of binging on candy and other junk.

4. Get a full night's sleep. If you're a mother, you may be laughing at this one, but losing sleep for a long period of time DOES run one down and seems to make us more susceptible to illness. This is especially true for children. So, when you send them to bed an hour early, go ahead and ease your guilt by telling yourself you're doing it for their own good! :-)

5. Take antibiotics only if absolutely necessary. If your doctor prescribes one, ask if it would be o.k. to let the illness heal on its own or to "watch and see" for a few days before filling the script. Antibiotics really mess up immune and digestive systems, and if they're not necessary for healing, why take them?

6. Don't be afraid of fevers. Of course there are exceptions to this like when fevers get very high and can cause seizures. However, God gives us fever for a reason. A fever fights off the infection or illness. If we artificially bring it down just for the illusion that we are healing, our bodies cannot do their job. Of course, if a child is in discomfort due to pain or fever, something can be given him for that, but the fever itself could be an aid to healing.

7. Stay away from other kids. Relax, I'm only joking! (And you were going to make some comment about my homeschooling isolation syndrome, weren't you?) With the "socializing" of our children, however, automatically comes the sharing of germs. This is part of life. Sorry, I don't have any answers for you on this problem.

8. Make the doctor a last resort. If you really need to take 'em, go ahead, but remember all the other sick people are going there, too. If I make that comment at my doctor's office the staff act a bit offended, but even my doctor tells me to keep my kids away from hospitals during flu season.

So, there you have it: my unofficial, in early stages of research, not fool-proof plan. What tips do you have for keeping your kids well? I'd love to hear them!


  1. Taking Zinc in the winter months is also of great benefit I have found out. It too, can shorten the duration of a cold.


  2. We give my son an all natural multivitamin daily, but during cold and flu season we also give him an all natural Immunity Booster Echinacea/Zinc Vitamin. I notice a huge difference in the duration and severity of his illnesses now, if he even gets sick at all. We also spray doorknobs, faucets, potties, and other frequently touched surfaces with vinegar as it is a natural disinfectant, with antimicrobial properties.
    PS. I stumbled on your blog recently and I really enjoy it!

  3. Thanks so much for the tips, Beth and Jamie! I will certainly check out the zinc and echinacea vitamin.