Although it is starting to fee like Spring outside, it is still officially winter in the Lowcountry and therefore, prime germ season. We are in the middle of cold, flu, RSV, and respiratory sickness season for our little ones. If you are like me, I do anything I can to protect my three-year-old and my twelve-week-old from winter sickness. As a mom of a preemie that currently weighs ten pounds, I have several healthy musts that make the winter season more enjoyable.
Disclaimer, I am not a medical professional, but I have been an educator for twelve years working in an elementary school. I have picked up a few healthy habits that I’d like to share with you.
- First, I take care of myself. That’s right, I put my health needs first. Each year I get a physical from my doctor and also choose to get a flu shot. The flu shot has drawn criticism recently, but for me, I want to create as much as a defense against the flu as possible. I also take a probiotic supplement everyday and drink the recommended nine cups of water per day.
- Hand Washing! I wash my hands as often as I can and then apply hand sanitizer. I make a habit when I walk into a new place (back home from work, a store, or my mother’s house) to wash my hands. I have taught this habit to my three-year-old and he is really getting the hang of it.
- Shoes Off! As a family, we make the choice to take our shoes off at the door in order to keep outside germs away from our home. With two young children on the floor throughout the day playing, this is a great way to keep additional germs off their hands and face. This rule also applies to my husband who travels on airplanes often. He gets in the shower before he hugs or greets the kids when he returns home from a business trip. The airports and planes carry many, many germs and we work to discard all clothing and shoes when returning home from those trips.
- Clean! I disinfect our home and car weekly. I have a disinfect “date” on the family calendar to remind me to wipe down counters, door knobs, TV remotes, the side of the car seats, car handles, and any other area that is used often.
- Finally, my last healthy must is to be aware of common symptoms. I’m looking for runny nose, temperature/fever, not sleeping or eating normally, cough that isn’t going away, rash, and low energy level. I identify symptoms early and work to put a plan in place to keep symptoms from getting worse. Once a symptom appears, especially a fever (anything 100 degrees or over) please keep your children home from school or other activities. When a fever appears, I know my children need rest and fluids, and I keep them home until they are all better.
Winter can be an enjoyable season with children. I am doing my best to keep myself and my children healthy and happy by creating “healthy winter habits.” These habits are things that my children can independently accomplish, such as hand washing, taking off their shoes, being aware of cold symptoms etc.
Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy winter season!