|Being sniffly doesn't have to mean being miserable.|
Everyone in this family has been sick this month … except me. I've been nursing and caring for three sad boys (yes, I'm including Sam in this tally) and doing my best not to catch what they've got. I'm also trying to help my family get better quickly and avoid catching new germs by supporting their immune systems as well as I can. I'm so pleased to be writing a three-part series on the topic of sick days and children for Children's Mucinex, particularly since we've been living it out these past couple weeks! This first post is offering my go-to tips for helping your family survive cold and flu season:
- There's nothing that beats good old hand washing. Next time you're in a restaurant, check out one of those charts they hang to encourage employees on the best way to wash their hands — and then follow along! I don't even use antibacterial soap at home (just a natural dish soap — cheap and simple), but I make sure to use plenty of warm water, a good amount of time, and lots of scrubbing, including around and under my nails. Make like a surgeon and get clean! I've been trying to encourage hand washing in the little ones, lifting Alrik up to the sink so he can participate (he loves it, and always wants to put on my lotion after, too!), and reminding Mikko of appropriate times to wash, such as after every bathroom visit. He balks at the reminders ("But, Mama, I didn't get pee on my hand!" is an actual oft-heard excuse), but the message bears repeating and hopefully will sink in: Wash your hands.
- Don't overdo the house cleaning. I'm pretty sure there are immune-boosting powers to a constant low level of dirt and cat fur. Or, this is what I tell myself as justification. (Note, you might not want to take housekeeping tips from the lady whose whole family is sick…)
- Support your immune system with what you put into your body. When fighting off illness, there's some research that suggests sugars depress your immune system. Brightly colored vegetables have the double benefit of being low in sugar and high in antioxidants and immune-boosting nutrients. I also try to prioritize foods with protein and fat — if an illness depresses appetite, then at least the foods that are going in are packed with the highest nutritional punch; and it's building up nutrient stores in anyone who's not sick already. My kids won't always eat the foods I'd like them to when they're sick, though, so we fall back on some of the old bland and sugary standbys, like crackers. We try to substitute fresh fruit and cheese slices if they'll tolerate it (and of course, the baby gets to nurse as much as he wants). However, I'm relieved when they eat anything when they're sick! I also look to supplements, particularly during times of family illness — to help heal the sick and prevent the healthy from falling: vitamin D (we get no sunlight in Seattle in the winter!), cod liver oil (my picky kids actually love this; go figure), Thymactiv, echinacea, and probiotics.
- Push fluids. I don't know that being well lubricated keeps germs at bay, but it can't hurt! When my kids get sick, they get dehydrated, so the more reserves, the better.
- Keep your germs to yourself. When anyone's sick, it's smart not to share utensils and cups among family members (or strangers…). We never ever ever follow this. Just try to keep my kid away from my cup, I dare you! It doesn't matter if my kids have exactly what I have; my cup always looks more interesting. But I have become pretty ruthless about limiting playdates whenever anyone's feeling under the weather — no matter if it's our family or the others. You can't avoid everything or cloister yourself throughout the entire cold and flu season, but there's no reason to seek out sniffles. I try to be tactful about it, but I'm not afraid to cancel plans if I hear someone's feeling unwell. We also have been teaching proper coughing and sneezing etiquette (cover your mouth and nose with the crook of your elbow, as the Mythbusters proved was best), and I make sure to launder communal hand towels frequently.
- If you're breastfeeding, keep it up. The best thing for your baby if either of you is sick is to keep on breastfeeding. And the best thing if you're not sick is to keep on breastfeeding! Breastmilk contains protective antibodies that are tailored to the germs you're both encountering. I always feel reassured about the extra fluids and immune boost Alrik gets when he's feeling poorly and just wants to nurse. If your babies or children are not breastfeeding, go for the other immune-protective steps, as I do with Mikko.
- Let your body direct your sleep. If you're feeling sluggish at the first sign of a tickle in your throat, listen to your body's needs for sleep. I'm a big believer that adequate rest can fight off a minor illness as well as anything else. Take it as easy as your body is suggesting, and hopefully the tickle will disappear! I also throw usual naptimes and wakeup times out the window when my kids are sick and let them sleep as long as they need to. I figure their bodies are pretty knowledgeable about that sort of thing.
- Keep active. This one seems contradictory, but it's all about listening to your body still. If you're not feeling like resting, then your body can keep on keeping on. Encouraging your kids to keep playing at home or even going outside for brief adventures can take their minds off sniffles and coughs while the exercise they're getting strengthens their immune systems.
While I'm firmly on the side of our immune systems doing their thing to fight off the bad guys and try to support my kids through their illnesses with many natural remedies, I am totally down with an appropriate use of medicine that allows them to sleep and play a little and not be miserable. I'm glad that Children's Mucinex is one of those medicines, relieving symptoms of congestion and coughing due to colds and flu, and letting Mikko continue his active day and get restful sleep at night to support his immune system's hard work. Children's Mucinex is the #1 children's brand for relieving congestion. For instance, Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold gives fast-acting relief from stuffy nose and chest congestion — symptoms that can make both of you miserable, especially if they're interfering with getting a good nap or nighttime sleep.
I like knowing what active ingredients are in the medications I'm using, so I'll go over them for you. I appreciate the inclusion of guaifenesin, which helps break up mucus so it can be effectively expelled through coughing, helping to rid the body of those pesky bugs! Phenylephrine is a decongestant to keep the runny nose at bay and clear up the nostrils so our kiddos can breathe while they're sleeping! Dextromethorphan is a nighttime wonder — while I promote effective coughing and runny noses during the day, nighttimes can be severely interrupted by uncontrollable coughing, particularly when you cosleep! So I'm pleased to have a medicine available to ensure a good night's sleep for everyone. There's also a Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold and Fever, which includes acetaminophen to help cool down your child for sleep. I know, for my kids, if a not-too-hot bath and skin-to-skin snuggling doesn't bring down the temperature, some fever reducer for bedtime is a must to make sure they can sleep soundly and boost their immune systems through rest.
Always use Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold or other products in the line as directed, which means following all the warnings and information on the product, not using any more than directed, and using only for children 4-12 years old. If you are unsure about using Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold, please consult your pediatrician.
When your child has a bad cold, you both can feel miserable. Children's Mucinex is the #1 children's brand for relieving congestion* and provides fast acting relief from your child's worst cold symptoms. Try Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold if your child needs relief from stuffy nose and chest congestion. Always use Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold as directed. (*Based on IRI unit share data for the 52 weeks ending November 2012)
And now, you can get a coupon for $2 off your next purchase of Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold on Coupon.com!
Please come back for two more posts in the series about how I keep my kiddos entertained and smiling even when they're sick! I'll have some fun crafts and projects to share with you along with more tips to boost your kids' immune systems and the hidden benefits of sick days. I'm also very excited to give away a $100 CVS gift card on each post, so comment below to enter to win!
Just comment below with an answer to this question to enter the giveaway: What activity makes your child (or you!) smile when under the weather?
Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
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This sweepstakes runs from 2/6/2013 – 3/31/2013
Be sure to visit the Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!