This is the first week back to school and we've already seen our poor little patients coming in with fevers, sore throats, and runny noses ! What is a parent to do??
Unfortunately, this is normal and expected, but still miserable for all involved. Is there anything parents can do to prevent some of these illnesses??? Yes! Here are a few:
1. Wash your hands. Teach your kids how important it is to wash their hands before every meal and after going potty of course. Teach them to avoid touching their face, eyes, or mouth until hands have been washed.
2. Don't suck on your pencils. Teach your kids that only food goes in their mouths and not to chew on pencils, put toys in their mouths, or lick their desks (it happens).
3. Take your vitamins. It's hard for any of us to get all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Start back on your multivitamins and vitamin D3 daily. For kids 2 and up I like Alive gummies or Flinstones with iron plus Vitamin D3 400-800 IU/day. For jr high and high school kids either Flinstones with iron or Nature Made Multivitamin or a Teen vitamin plus vitamin D3 1000 to 2000 IU/day. Vitamin D3 keeps bones strong, helps the immune system, and decreases inflammation. Teen girls especially need iron in their multi ( a flinstones with iron is perfectly fine for those who don't swallow pills). Talk to your doctor about what vitamins they recommend for your family.
4. Eat mostly healthy foods. It's hard to get kids, teens and adults to eat healthy all the time . If 80% of your diet is good that's pretty good. Check out the anti-inflammatory food pyramid a few posts back. Basically, our diet should be heavy on fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and proteins, water, and some good quality dairy, spices and dark chocolate (yahoo). Truly, eating a healthy diet improves your bodies resistance to illness, cancer, and heart disease.
5. Get good sleep. Shut all the electronics down one hour before everyone wants to get to sleep. Keep phones and electronics out of bedrooms as the blue light emitted from electronics (even those that are shut off) can disrupt sleep cycles. The number of hours of sleep needed varies person to person and by age. For kiddos aim for 9 hours a night and for adults 8.
6. Exercise. Daily exercise helps our bodies in so many ways. It helps with stress, sleep, and keeping a healthy weight. All of these combine to help our immune system. You don't have to play a sport, dance, be a gymnast, or super athlete to get exercise. Any movement or play for an hour a day counts!
7. Spend time outside. We are all a little nature deprived, especially us Arizonans this time of year. Studies show spending time outside reduces stress and helps our immune system. Go outside early morning or later evening and walk, hike, or play. Green exercise or outdoor exercise is the most beneficial, but evening reading a book outside or having a meal outdoors is helpful.
8.Get your vaccines, including a flu shot. Last year the CDC reported approximately 50,000 Americans dying of influenza and 126 pediatric deaths from influenza. So far in 2019 the US has had 971 cases of measles. 2-3 out of every 1000 children that gets measles die. Talk to your doctor about what vaccines your family needs. At our office, we start giving flu shots for the 2019-2020 season in October. Please protect your family.
9.Manage stress. It's not easy with all the responsibilities and activities the new school year brings but do your best to keep a handle on your stress and your kids stress. Carrying stress, increases toxins in your body setting you up for illness. Remember, even young children stress. Make sure everyone in your family has plenty of down time.
10. Hug someone. Human touch is healing and a necessity. Studies have shown reduced stress, an increased sense of well-being, and an improved immune system for those who have healthy touch in their lives . Hug your kiddos, spouse, loved ones and friends (and then wash your hands lol).