Healthy Kids

Alice from Ups and Downs has just come through a period of illness and has listed a few of the things she’s learned about keeping her family healthy. I’ve partially copied the list below, and in bold, I’ve indicated the things on the list that our family does, too, plus I’ve added a few at the end.

I hate being sick; the only thing worse is when the kids are sick. I hate feeling ineffective, and the worry that comes (for me) with illness makes me feel overwhelmed. So I try to keep us healthy, in order to avoid that downward spiral. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. So I’m looking for tips: what things do you do to help keep your family healthy?

Here’s Alice’s List:

Don’t hang out with sick kids if you know they are sick

Get a flu shot

Don’t spray everything with anti-viral antiseptic spray because it actually impairs children’s immune systems – lemon balm in a spray is better – as is a flu shot.

Give Alfie and Noah vitamin D

Wash your hands more

Chest physio is extremely effective for Alfie and if he gets pneumonia again I should make sure he gets it straight away – it’s more important if you have Ds than for typical children.

Ear plugs are an essential item in hospital

Anti-biotics can cause runny stools which can cause weight loss, but pro-biotics from the health food store change this.

Hot steamy bathrooms help to runnify your insides and get rid of pneumonia. So do saline drops in your nose.

Lots of movement and activity is good too.

Nursing relaxes Alfie and opens up his airways (it also meant he didn’t have to have his food via IV)

“Cough in the Trough, Sneeze on your Sleeve” – cough in the crease in your elbow and sneeze on your sleeve rather than on your hands so you don’t spread your germs everywhere.

It pays to be interested and alert and take an active role in your child’s medical care.

The nurses and doctors and students and therapists and physios and cleaners at the IWK hospital are very, very, very, good

It is good to be in a hospital where they aren’t always short staffed

Going out in the cold doesn’t make you ill as long as you are dressed up warmly enough.

To her list, I would add:

Diet is an important link to health; I try to feed the kids whole foods whenever I can. If I can’t, I give them a mutlivitamin.

When I remember, I supplement with CoQ10, fish oil, brewer’s yeast, and flax. I try to sneak as many superfoods in a meal as I can.

I think sleep is an important component to health–it’s important to be well-rested, especially during cold and flu season.

I also think stress is important. I seem to get sick more often, and sicker, when we are stressed. (The same holds true for the kids, too.)

The kids have a cool mist humidifier in their room that I use almost year-round (our air is very dry).

That’s all I can think of, for now. What are your thoughts on keeping healthy?

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9 thoughts on “Healthy Kids

  1. From what I understand, you can request a thimerisol-free flu shot. That’s what I did and we were given what turned out to be a pediatric version (but double the dose). Thanks for this list. I would also add: vacuum in the winter if your kids have allergies. It always helps us.

  2. Hi Jennifer, Thanks so much for putting my list up – it’s really useful to see what other things people add – and also that I am not alone in going a bit stir crazy with all these bugs. I’ve got the flu now (or something) – seems like months since we were well and all I do is either be sick or look after sick people! Unpaid.
    Interesting to see that the flu jab can have mercury in it – I will definately ask about that next year – but if it means we stay out of the hospital I still might get it. Have to think about that one.
    Thanks again, it’s really nice to know that you’re not just typing to yourself but blog things take on a life of their own. Hope you are all well!
    Alice

  3. I remember a while back there were threads going around about thimerosal in the flu shots on the DS message boards (a great place for information!) and I checked with our nurse about the shots, and ours didn’t have it. I wonder if there are different kinds of flu shots?

    Thanks for the link, though, Susan, and I will check it out now. I don’t think you can be too careful, and it goes along with Alice’s point about taking an active interest in our children’s medical care.

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. All good ideas. I ditto the whole foods and fish oil. Also, my kids benefit from lots of outdoor play and bike riding.

    My kids also tend to pick up things at the Y (ringworm, yuk) even though we love going there, I wonder how clean they can get it.

    I would never, ever, give the flu shot, though. It has thermerasol (mercury) in it. Amazingly, this is true. Here is the cdc link http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/thimerosal.htm.

    I like your blog.

  5. Terrific tips, Betsy! And you could be describing me, too. I get freaky-freaky about illness with the kids. I know my friends who have had no hospital stays all think I am a nut. I say, stay in a NICU or PICU for just one night and you’ll jump on-board my crazy train. I know those places are helpful to sick children, but if I never spend another minute there in my life, that will be fine with me!

  6. I’m a freak when my kids are sick too. I think its kind of a “post-traumatic” thing from Paige’s younger days when we spent sooo much time in the hospital. She is actually quite healthy now, but whenever she gets sick, I feel panicky about things like dehydration, and such.

    I also question myself too much when she isn’t feeling well – I either try to brush it off, and she’s actually much sicker than I want to believe, or I get freaky, and self-diagnose her with something much worse than she actually has. I am never sure, and always feel like I’m going to make the wrong call (I guess that would be what doctors are for, lol…)

    One big thing that I would recommend is when your little one is in the hospital, or even just in the doctor’s office for a check-up is to ask anyone who touches them to wash their hands. It sounds like something everyone would do, but from my experience, I see lots of people who should know better come in and out of an examination room without doing that!

    Also, when they get home from school, always wash their hands first thing — I don’t even want to think about what is crawling around there *shudder*

    I am a believer in natural immunities too – when Paige’s older sister came home with chicken pox, I actually was glad to let Paige get them, as she was very healthy at the time, and I knew we were better off getting them behind us, than having her come down with them when she was ill, or having to be quarrantined for an unexpected hospital stay because she had them.

  7. I would definitely go to a naturopath, if all other methods weren’t working. And I should add that even though we TRY to be healthy, sometimes kids/parents/families just get sick.

    I don’t have many suggestions for once you ARE ill. Best to rest, take lotsa vitamin C, Zicam, and chicken soup. Nasal washes, humidifiers. Hot showers or baths, good music to lift the spirits.

    Probably, not enough! I hope you get well soon, Suz.

  8. Good points…yes, yes, prevention is the best cure.

    I’m in Week 5 of the Mother of All Respiratory Viruses and my daughter just woke up and said she feels like she has to puke. Aaron’s nose has been running for a month. We have been non-stop sick since January. We eat healthy. We are active. But the waves of illness have washed over us.

    Any words of advice for those of us who are sick, despite our best intentions? I need some sort of mantra to get me through this.

    I’m thinking of going to a naturopath because traditional medicine is failing me (this will be my FOURTH trip to the physician).

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