How to Stay Healthy this Cold and Flu Season

Before you know it, Cold and flu season will be upon us…not fun right? Maybe we can enjoy more fun this winter and less discomfort!

For those of us that are around young children frequently, it feels almost impossible to avoid getting sick at times. But I have some good news! In my experience working with kids for many years now, I found out that this shouldn’t be the norm. I have some tips to help you stay healthy. I hope they will come in handy and be of great help to you. So let’s be healthy…

Several years ago I started going to my Allergy/Asthma doctor at a major hospital system in the nation. Yep, we have one in my “small town” of Rochester, MN!

He taught me a very specific way to blow my nose and gave me some other great tips to help stay healthy.

Believe me, they work! I rarely ever get sick. I had only 2 or 3 colds last school year. I can’t even remember the last time I had the flu- over ten years ago for sure.

During the school year, children can get an average of  “8 to 12 colds or cases of the flu” according to a CNN report*. That puts us educators and parents especially at a higher risk since we deal with multiple children at once. We have to think of our families and the kids’ families too.

The following tips are from my Doctor.

  1. Do not use the first tissue hanging out of the tissue box, it has been exposed to the air and potentially has germs on it. Take the first one out, throw it away and use the next one.
  2. Only hold the edges of the tissue. Do not touch the middle part where you are going to be putting your nose.
  3. Only blow your nose into a tissue 1 time. Do not fold it over and use it again. You already touched that part. If you need to blow more, get another tissue.
  4. Always use a fresh tissue from the box. Don’t put tissues in your pocket or up your sleeve for later. The tissue in your pocket or up your sleeve will become contaminated.
  5. Keep your hands off your nose and eyes as much as possible. These are 2 entry points for germs.
  6. Do not use a handkerchief. Too many germs.
  7. Wash your hands often.
  8. Get a flu shot every year.

The tips below are from me. Some may seem like common sense, but, how many times have we done some of these things without giving them a second thought because it was easier or faster?

A. Allow children to blow their own noses as much as possible.  They can do it. I teach 3 year olds and they wipe their own noses just fine. The may need help now and then, but for the most part they do the whole process on their own. They just need to be reminded when to wipe their nose. If your kids try to refuse doing it themselves, try handing them a tissue and that may help. Even older 2 year olds can do it. After some practice, they will get better at it. If you must help a child, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you are done helping them. Better yet- if you have access to latex gloves, put some on before you help. Again, wash your hands when you’re done.

B. Teach your children when they cough or sneeze, to do so into the crook of their arm. If a child near you coughs or sneezes, turn your head away as fast as you can to avoid being “sprayed” on.

C. Don’t pick your child’s nose or wipe it with your fingers…get a tissue if they need help.

D. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is an important part of staying healthy. Eat healthy, drink healthy beverages, and move more. This will help your body fight this winter.

E. Children that are sick should stay home. Consider letting them stay at home till the contingency period is over. Check about that with your health care provider too.

F. First thing when you get home from anywhere, wash your hands thoroughly with plenty of soap and warm water. Make sure your kids do too. In my classroom, we also have the children wash hands upon arrival.

G. Teach children not to stick their mouth to the water fountain, let some water run before taking a sip from the stream flow of the water. Parents should consider sending a water bottle with their children.

H. We love to teach our kids to share things right? Well that’s a partial yes, but we need to teach them not to share their drinking cups, water bottles, food, or tissues, etc… Personal items should mean personal even for the young ones. I know it’s easier said than done, but we can keep on trying.

I. Clean the door knobs, desk surfaces, key boards more often with sanitizing wipes.
I hope these simple tips help you stay healthier this year! If you have any additional tips to share, please write to me in the comments section!


Always remember our words and actions matter, even in winter time!


Our Kids Are Watching

We’ve all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” How true!!

Parents, teachers, and care givers- we need to remember this. The kids are watching. They are very observant and pick up on what we’re saying by our body language, our actions, and our words. It’s important for us to set a good example in what we say, and what we do.

Our words are important, but our actions are just as important in communicating a message.

What message are we communicating today?

Here are some points to think about.

1) Hand gestures and facial expressions communicate a message. Make sure your face and gestures match the message you are trying to send out.

2) The the things we do in front of our kids are essential. Set a good example for them. Be kind to people. Show them it’s good to help others when you’re out in public. Show them how to be kind. For example, hold the door for someone on their way into a store, or pick up something for a person when they drop something.

3) Say what you mean, and mean what you say, and then do it. For example, if we tell kids it’s bad to smoke, but then smoke in front of them, what message are we sending them? You guessed it, you’re saying it’s ok to smoke, even though you verbally said it wasn’t. If you must smoke, do it away from the kids in privacy. Do you want your kids to spend less time on electronics? Then put your phone or tablet away too.

They’re watching you!

4) It’s good to show affection for your significant other in front of the kids. Hold hands, give hugs, and give the occasional kiss with the kids around. This will help them to understand that Mom and Dad love each other, and that this is a positive way to send a reinforced message of love and stability in the home.

Kids are very perceptive and will remember what they see adults doing. We have to remeber to set the standard high and lead the way. Have you ever heard “do as I say but not as I do?” This is wrong thinking. If it’s not ok for the kids to do something, then the adults should not be doing those very things in front of them! That’s sending a mixed message. We need to build their critical thinking skills with a striaght message and not mix them up with confusing messages!

If you think my post above gave you some good ideas, please let know in the comments section.

Until next time, remember- Our words and actions really do matter!

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