As cold and flu season creeps up on us, we know that kids will come down with something. Whether they’re sharing toys in day care or preschool programs, or passing papers around in elementary school, or even hanging out together in secondary school or college, there’s something about schools that makes it easy to share germs.
All too often, Mom ends up taking care of sick kids and ending up sick herself — and dads can end up in the same boat.
Here are some steps you can take to maintain your own health when you have sick children:
- Wash your hands. Use soap and warm water, and wash for a longer period of time than you think you need to. Sing “Happy Birthday” while you scrub to make sure you really have clean hands when you finish.
- Clean surfaces. You’re busy taking care of your kids, but wiping a sponge across the table after your sick child has eaten there does nothing but smear bacteria across the table for easy access by the rest of the family members. Consider using disinfectant disposable wipes to keep germs at bay.
- Teach your children to use tissues when coughing or sneezing, and to put the tissues right into the trash. It’ll help keep contagion down now and be a good habit for life.
- Quarantine the sick kids. If you can get your sick kid into bed and take food in on a tray, you may not have all the children sick at once. It also helps you to remember to wash your hands as soon as you leave the sick room.
- Don’t cuddle if you can help it. Sometimes your sick child needs a hug from mama, but you’ll be better able to care for your kids if you avoid sharing dishes and keep touching to your easily-washable hands.
- Keep up your healthy habits. When you’re busy and stressed, it’s all to easy to give up the good health habits that help keep you well. Eat wholesome foods, sleep on a normal schedule if you can, and take some time to exercise. A brisk walk or some stretching can make a difference, even if you can just snatch 10 minutes.