Let's face it: Even if our children are not great at sharing their toys or lunches with others, when it comes to germs and infections kids are the most giving of us all! Recent studies have revealed that when a woman becomes a mother, her chances of getting sick actually double and it's no wonder, considering our kids' favorite pastimes. Regardless of whether they are digging in the sandbox, making new friends on the playground, or creating tiny magical realms in the dirt, children tend to saturate themselves with bacteria and viruses. It's not exactly a surprise when they wake up one morning with the sniffles. While they may be easy to treat, however, you are going to have a much harder time looking after them if you fall ill too! We've composed a list of tips and tricks to keep you healthy when your kiddo can't shake that cold.
>> Read more: 7 Ways to Raise Healthy Kids
Teach your children to cough and sneeze into their elbows. It's never too soon to teach your kids safe hygiene practices! Covering their coughs and sneezes can greatly reduce the risk of passing on their illness. You can even make it fun by teaching them Sesame Street's song about the right way to sneeze! Click here for more information. (via Flu.gov)
Assign a special blanket and pillow to your child. If your kiddo likes to cuddle up in front of the TV when they're feeling crummy, then bundle them in their own special blanket and pillow. This will keep the contamination of other surfaces (like furniture or communal quilts and pillows) to a minimum.
Drink plenty of fluids. This goes for both you and your sick child! Extra fluids like water and juice will go a long way to helping your child flush out their system, and staying hydrated will boost your immunity as well. To learn about the five critical roles water plays in your body, click here!
Don't share toys. This is the one time when your child should get a free pass on learning to share! Make sure that your children play with separate toys while one is sick to prevent the spread of infection. Once the sickness has passed, be sure to thoroughly scrub and wash any contaminated toys.
Get some fresh air. This tip applies to both you and your sick child! Fresh air will do you both a world of good, so try to slip in a quick walk while your child is napping, or open a couple windows in your kid's bedroom to encourage air flow.
No sharing allowed. Period. If your family is accustomed to sharing a water bottle, or sampling each other's desserts, then keep in mind that sharing is one of the easiest methods of contamination! For the time being, make sure you are not sharing any dishes, utensils, cups, or foods.
Stock up on healthy foods. Even if you have been lax in your New Year's resolutions, now is the time to integrate healthy meals into your day! A nutritious diet will help you to stay healthy and strong, even during the flu season.
>> Read more: 5 Surprising Foods that Fight Off the Flu
Throw away those tissues...fast. Instead of letting used tissues fester on the coffee table, try to encourage your child to throw them into the trash as soon as possible to prevent the spread of infection. Setting up a small wastepaper basket with an easily-removable trash bag next to their bed or couch is a great way to encourage this safe practice.
Keep your distance. We know this one might be a bit of a struggle, especially if your child needs a little extra comforting, but you can catch a cold within six feet of a sick person, so do your best to limit your time in contact with your child. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly once they've settled back in for a nap!
Regularly wash your hands. This will serve as your primary defense against germs and bacteria, so make sure you are scrubbing your hands rigorously throughout the day! For some extra tips on washing your hands, click here.
Clean dishes and utensils. Rinsing is not going to cut it, ladies. Make sure you are running your dishes and utensils through the dishwasher with the heat cycle on to kill off all germs and bacteria. If you don't have a dishwasher, then make sure you are thoroughly scrubbing each item with soap and hot (and we mean hot) water.
Stock up on essential supplies. Cold and flu medicines, tissues, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant cleaners are all necessary components of your arsenal. Be prepared for anything! Not sure what products are safe? Click here to learn more.
Go get a flu shot. Even if you believe your immune system can handle whatever sickness is thrown at you, you should schedule a flu shot appointment just to be safe. Some hospitals and doctor's offices even administer them for free during the flu season!
A sick child is not a death sentence for you. There are a myriad of ways that you can fight off a cold or flu! We realize that taking care of your child is going to be your top priority, but making sure you are in the best shape possible will help you to fulfill that goal! For more tips on how to stay well, check out our sources: Everyday Health, Flu.gov, MindBodyGreen, Parents.com