Batten down the hatches.
It’s common cold season again.
As we mentioned in a previous blog, the key to a cold is exposure. That means you must be in contact with someone who has the virus – like your kids – before you can “catch it” yourself.
Viruses, themselves, do not cause runny noses or nagging coughs. Our immune systems do. It’s a deliberate response to the invasive illness. That’s probably why it seems some people “catch a cold” more often than you do. Their body’s response to the viral infection is simply more pronounced than your own.
So when you ask, “How can I avoid catching a cold,” what you really want to know is “how can I avoid suffering through the symptoms?”
Our pediatric specialists just so happen to have a few tips:
- Wash your hands: And wash your children’s hands. And make sure your children know that when you’re not around they must wash their own hands. Cold viruses are lurking everywhere. Door handles, shopping carts, that person’s hand you just got finished shaking. Soap and warm water are your primary weapons against contagion. This may seem like common sense, but children are notorious for getting sidetracked, and hands often go unwashed after rigorous play and center time at school. Do what you can to reinforce this simple task that goes so far in preventing communicable illnesses.
- Keep those fingers away from your nose and eyes. And your mouth, too – when you’re not eating or flossing. Admittedly, this is somewhat trickier, as even adults commonly forget to keep their hands away from their faces. But germs and viruses tend to target the mucus membranes. Do what you can to block their access.
- Get vaccinated. We’ve said it before – we’ll say it again: flu shots are absolutely, positively the best way to avoid the dreaded seasonal influenza, prevent absences from work and school, and even ward off pneumonia. You should get one. And so should your kids.
- Steer clear of others – as you would have them stay away from you (but only when a cold is afoot, of course). In other words, if you’re coughing, sneezing, sniffling, dripping, and/or possibly running a fever – stay home. Impose temporary self-exile. And if you must be out in public, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Common courtesy is also a tremendous defense against viruses.
- Don’t worry, be happy: Easier said than done? Maybe. But there might just be something to that “laughter is the best medicine” adage. Studies have shown that individuals with a more positive outlook tend to contract fewer viruses than those who harbor negative emotions, and also recover more quickly when they do get sick. So there you have it – there is power in positive thinking.
The staff at KinderMender, incidentally, is a great group of positive thinkers. We strive to create an environment that parents trust and children – honestly – enjoy. If your child does happen to come down with a cold this season, we’re open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Stop in or give us a call.