Over the last four days, out of our four children, we had three sick littles with one ending up in hospital. And no one saw it coming! What happened to our healthy children?
Children easily get sick and it can go from 0 to 100 in a couple of hours, sometimes even minutes. Our youngest was admitted to hospital with pneumonia (!) which came as a pretty big shock as she didn’t even have a cough. She was perfectly fine one minute, then a sudden spike in fever and struggled breathing. Our other daughter had a stomach bug and fever, and the our eldest developed a full-blown cold and lost her voice completely. (#silenceathome)
Ever wonder how a paediatrician keeps her own kids healthy? I did, too, so we asked our favourite mom-doctors to share their trade secrets. Because it is so easy to get sick, we put together their top 5 simple ways to keep your little one healthy – especially with the change of season.
ONE: Wash hands frequently
Your mom was right – hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Before meals, after using the bathroom, after touching or playing with pets, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
But don’t go too crazy with hygiene! Research has shown that while antibacterial soaps and chemical cleaners kill or inhibit bacteria, they also destroy the good bacteria that help keep us healthy. Simple soap and water are good enough for hand washing. Our favourite (natural and organic!) soap is from Humble Babies.
TWO: Give a daily probiotic
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We call them “good” bacteria because they help to keep your gut healthy. Any would do, but we like using Creche Guard. Also, we supplement with Zinplex Junior syrup.
Another very good and cheap alternative or supplement to the probiotic, is Colloidal Silver. (Read more about ALL the benefits and uses here) We buy the 500ml Bio-sil bottle and (another favourite!) Silverlab colloidal silver nosespray at Dischem, or even Takealot! If you notice the first signs of a cold, or general unwellness, double up on your probiotic and/or colloidal silver.
THREE: Give healthier options
Our kids should be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables; foods with natural antioxidants (like berries, broccoli, tomatoes, mango, and papaya), foods with Vit A (like pumpkin & sweet potato), as well as foods that are good sources fo zinc (like beef, beans, and mushrooms) that may be helpful in preventing the spread of diseases.
But in the same breath, resist the urge to label food as “good” or “bad”, and every now and then, allow less-than-healthy options. When foods are forbidden, kids can end up really craving them, and that can set them up for eating problems later in life. Allowing occasional ‘junk food’ with meals and at snack times can help food lose its mystique, and kids learn to manage it as just another food.
FOUR: Water, water, water!
I know this goes without saying, but during the hot summer months we all need to drink more water! Children who are busy and burning energy especially need to make sure they are hydrated. When you leave home make sure everyone has a glass water bottle or stainless steel canteen for drinking.
People often ask us how we got our children to love water. Our children rarely have a cooldrink or juice box to school. They take a bottle of water. Healthy!
Since they were little, that was their option for something to drink. Now that they are older, the rule is always to drink a glass of water before they are allowed a glass of cooldrink or juice. This fills them up a little, as well as dilutes whatever sugar-filled drink they are following up with.
FIVE: Insist on sleep
When children are not sleeping well, they are more susceptible to germ and viruses, and tend to get sick easier and more often. Sleep is when the body restores and repairs itself. We let our children know that it’s not only important for them, it’s also something we adults do for ourselves, too. (So model good sleeping habits, Mama!)
So if you want a better way to cut down on the number of sick days your child takes, and help your child be more healthy, these five ways will go a long way to keep them stronger and healthier during this season. I’m absolutely implementing these better from now on to keep my children out the hospital and growing happier, stronger and healthier littles!
Till next time!