I’ve heard a few parents saying this week that they can tell the children are back at school because there seem to be lots of bugs around already. I love autumn and winter but I know lots of people dread it. The dark nights, the rubbish weather and those awful winter bugs.
Colds, sore throats, tummy bugs or worse are not much fun at the best of times, but when they rattle through your whole house before you’ve reached October half term, you feel extra hard done by.
We can’t avoid and prevent every cough, runny nose, sickness bug or viral infection of course, but there are steps we can take to prevent the bulk of them, reduce the spread, and get our families back to full form quickly.
Promote good hand hygiene
It sounds so basic doesn’t it, but it’s so important. Good hand hygiene can both prevent bugs and control the spread of them. Washing hands after being to the toilet is obviously very important and something all parents should encourage and support.
It’s not something that can be relaxed, it’s one of those things that is always important. Promoting a good hand washing routine is vital. Teaching children to wash their hands properly with a good soap, and dry them will go a long way to keeping them safe from bugs.
You can try putting visual aids up to remind them, but most parents find themselves saying several times a day “did you wash your hands?” – it just comes with the job. I find that having nice smelling hand soap or soap with appealing packaging works well too. My children love Childs Farm hand wash and I am loving the Bramley range at the moment, although I normally prefer to have something anti-bacterial just to be safe.
As parents we need to keep on top of our hand hygiene as well, especially when a member of the family is under the weather. Picking up dirty wipes or tissues, and dealing with sick and diarrhoea, leaves parents open to catching and spreading a bug.
Eating well as a family can help to reduce the number of colds and bugs we get. Making sure everyone eats a well balanced diet, rich in Vitamin C, zinc and iron, can help to boost the immune system and fight off any nasties.
Obviously feeding the family isn’t always straightforward, so we just have to do the best we can to make sure everyone has enough to fight off unwanted bugs.
Try liquidising veg and adding to a sauce if little ones shy away from anything remotely vegetable-like, or, if they aren’t keen on fruit try them with a smoothie, or milkshake with whizzed up fruit in. Anything is worth a try, sometimes it’s more about how things look and feel rather than the taste of them, so it’s worth exploring the possibilities.
You can try cooking with coconut oil, as it boosts the immune system and has anti-bacterial properties, as does honey. To make sure you as a parent are in tip top shape, you could try introducing lemon water into your day. It will support the immune system and give you a boost. When you are tired and run down, you can be more susceptible to bugs.
Give your bodies a boost
I know that lots of people don’t believe in taking supplements, but they are something that we use as a family on a regular basis. I consider them a sort of health insurance, or back up really. They help to fill any potential gaps not achieved through nutrition alone.
I spend time researching the best ones to take and looking into research around particular supplements, and then order them online. The online chemist I use has tons of supplements that can help keep families in tip top shape and fight off those bugs. You can pick up liquid supplements for babies, chewy softies for older children, and a range of supplements for just about everything you can think of for grown ups. We love the effervescent vitamin c tablets as they serve a dual purpose – if you pop one in a pint of water, you can get someway towards reaching your water goal each day as well as pumping you body full of bug-fighting vitamins.
The Haliborange Softies are some of the children’s favourites and these suit all four of the children as the age range is 3-12 years. These are some of the best tasting supplements I have found for the children and they are a great price on chemist.co.uk.
Fish oils are something I’ve always tried to include, but I find it quite hard as most of them taste so awful, especially to the children. The normal development of an infant’s brain, eyes, nervous system and immune system is dependent upon the regular intake of DHA, and Wiley’s Finest can offer that for the whole family.
At the moment 5% of sales of the Prenatal DHA and Beginner’s DHA products will be donated to Baby Lifeline. These are some of the better tasting fish oils around, flavoured naturally with watermelon and strawberry, the beginners oil is perfect for giving your child the best nutritional headstart possible, and maintaining a strong immune system throughout their childhood.
One of the other things I use on a regular basis is Spatone. I’ve been using it for the last six months to improve the iron levels of one of my children, but it also plays a part in boosting immunity, so if you think a member of the family might have low iron levels, it is worth looking at.
Stay stocked up with essentials
As much as we want to avoid every cough and splutter, every sneeze and snot-filled nose, it’s just not realistic. At some point someone in the family will succumb, and it pays to be well stocked up for those days.
I always like to have a working thermometer, and all the normal parent ‘essentials’ like Calpol, Nurofen, Vicks etc. It’s also reassuring to have things like a Meningitis test kit just in case. Children often come out in non-specific viral rashes and it can be comforting to know that’s all it is.
In the main I buy all these things online when I’m stocking up on general toiletries. Online chemists are a great source of all your family health essentials. Chemist.co.uk are brilliant as their products are very carefully packaged and arrive promptly.
The other thing I always like to have are the types of parenting tools that bring comfort. As parents we often want to cuddle our poorly ones non stop, but practically there are other things we have to get done as well and for many of us, other children to take care of.
Imagine your child being able to have a warm hug even when you have to take your arms away – sound nice? We love Hugzzies, the super soft teddy bear with a microwavable lavender infused wheat bag inside that hugs around the waist giving the feeling of a warm hug. You can use these at home and on the go.
They come in a range of cute characters but we love the Dexter the Dog the best. The bags stay warm long enough for you to tear yourself away and get a couple of other things done. Just make sure you take the sack out to microwave it! Let’s face it, a warm hug makes everything feel better doesn’t it?