Five things that are worth your time, and 5 things that will waste it!
Australia is heading into what is expected to be one of its coldest winters on records. With the cold, we all know that it tends to bring its best friend along with it; the flu.
Recent media reports have stated that there has been nearly 59,000 laboratory confirmed notifications of influenza in Australia for 2019 already, while close to 100 fatalities have been recorded across NSW, South Australia and Victoria.
This year there seem to be three very aggressive strains of the Flu with one of them hitting children particularly hard.
This is because most children are encountering viruses for the first time and their immune systems can’t kill the virus as quickly as they would after a few years of growth and building resistance.
So, what can you do to protect your child from getting sick this winter and what are the wives’ tales you shouldn’t be investing in? We’re glad you asked.
5 Thing that are worth your time
- Washing Your Hands
The most common way in which we catch the cold or flu is by getting the virus on your hands and then touching your nose or eyes. We all know just how much bubs love touching everything, and then putting their hands in their mouth!
Washing your hands is only effective if you wash with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that kids who regularly use a hand sanitizer have 50 percent fewer absences from school than those who don't.
- Please cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
This one really is common sense!
You may be a carrier and not even know, so it’s always best you cover up and make others in your house do the same.
Every time you cough or sneeze you are expelling millions of germs into the air.
These viruses don’t travel easily and unless someone sneezes in your face you’re unlikely to get sick.
Then what the problem? Well, they don’t just disappear.
These germs settle onto the surfaces around your home, where the probability of coming into contact with them is high and this is where the problem is!
- Make sure bub is eating well
It's important that your child eats well which will help keep their body strong and help fight off any infection before it can take hold.
If you’re able to nurse your baby, studies have shown that babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely than formula-fed babies to get colds and ear and throat infections.
The antibodies from your body are transported through your breast milk, which gives your little one an extra line of defense.
If you are unable to breastfeed, don’t be hard on yourself. There are other things you can do on this list to protect your baby.
- Keep your bub covered when in public spaces
This is especially important in high traffic places such as supermarkets and shopping centers.
Having your child in a covered pram is the way to go. It stops germs reaching them and hopefully, them touching infected surfaces.
The more people you are around the more likely it becomes that you’ll be exposed to the cold or flu.
This doesn’t mean keep yourselves locked away but definitely be wary and make sure to wash your hands when you get home!
- Get yourself a good humidifier
Scientists ran a study in 2013 testing how the flu virus spread under certain conditions. The results were very interesting.
During the study, scientists used a cough simulator to send the flu virus into the air and measured how long it lived at various levels of humidity.
At humidity levels less than 23%, up to 77% (majority) of the virus remained viable in the air an hour later.
At humidity levels greater than 43%, as little as 14% (almost none) of the virus remained viable an hour later.
It was found that after 23 hours 100% of the viruses in the humid air were all dead, while 60 percent still survived in dry conditions.
During winter we tend to have the heater on high and one of the side effects of this is that it dries up the air in the house, helping the spread of germs and infections.
Running a humidifier has been proven to make a huge difference in preventing the spread of illness in the home.
- Keeping warm and rugging up prevents getting sick
No one likes being cold and it’s best to keep your child warm so that they won’t get upset, but it won’t keep the flu away!
Researchers have made people wet and cold and then infected them with viruses to see if they were more likely to get sick than people who stayed warm. Apart from being uncomfortable those that were cold got sick at the same rate as those dressed warmly.
- Stop the kiss goodnight
We all associate kissing as a key contributor to illness. However, with bubs it’s different!
As long as you don’t kiss on the lips you’ll be ok. Studies have shown that kissing is not an efficient way to transmit cold viruses.
This is because you need to get them in your eyes or nose in order to get sick. The only one that can spread effectively by a kiss is the one that causes strep throat. So, if you have a sore throat kissing is a no-no.
- Herbs and vitamins will help protect or avoidance of sickness
Researchers have rigorously tested vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc and the results have been more than a little disappointing.
In fact, one recent study found that some kids who take zinc have unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, and throat irritation.
- If you don’t have a fever, you’re not contagious
If you have a cold, you're most contagious for the first 2 to 3 days whether you have a fever or not, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Be very aware that contagiousness can precede visible symptoms. The contagious phase of a cold virus is usually over by day 7 to 10.
- My child’s cold can turn into the Flu
The flu and the common cold are caused by different viruses. So, it is impossible for the cold to really turn into the flu. If you or your child develops the flu, it was caused by a flu virus in the first place.
Because the two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be challenging to tell the difference between them based on how you feel.
It's important that you are aware of all the things that are worth spending time on and things that don’t work so well. After all, we’re talking about the health and wellbeing of you most precious treasure, your little one!
If you want to keep yourself and your little one in perfect health this sick-season, click the link below!