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It’s his second year of daycare and Scarlet is in first grade. Last year, it was Scarlet’s first year of elementary school and it was Des’ first year of daycare. We got hit so hard, that I’ve been dreading this fall and winter because of my memories. We had a glorious seven months of no illnesses during spring, summer and early fall. Then the sicknesses started. All four of us got hit with the worst cold I’ve ever had – three weeks of congestion, sleeplessness and coughing. For all four of us! And it was staggered that we didn’t all have it at once, so it was more like six weeks of someone still having that cold.
That was round one. Then Scarlet got a fever. Then Des did. Both have had other colds. Cassidy has had a sinus infection. We had a good few weeks, and then Scarlet got another cold. Now Des has it, and I’m afraid that Scarlet will get it back.
What I’ve learned in my second year of having two kids in daycare or school settings, is that it doesn’t have to be miserable. It doesn’t have to be fearful. Unfortunately, sickness is inevitable in a family of four in a New England winter. That much is true. However, we can talk about ways to stay healthy as best as we can, and to limit the severity of feeling so sick. We can talk about what to do when you’re better, and how to potentially avoid getting hit with the next round of illness.
How to avoid getting sick, as best as you can!
I know it’s not always easy to avoid the cold and flu, but there sure are ways to avoid getting every round:
1. Eat foods with lots of Vitamin C and take Zinc lozenges. I swear by them!
2. Wash those hands! Of course it’s the oldest trick in the book, but how many of us actually wash our hands for a good amount of time?
3. Eating proteins can help boost the immune system. And never forget your fruits and vegetables.
4. A nice mix of exercise AND good sleep does wonders for your body.
5. Sip that Bigelow tea! This is a must-have item in our house, for us and for guests. Drinking tea with lemon and honey feels incredible. Breathing in steam stimulates hair follicles in the nose to move out germs faster. Lemon can thin out your congestion, and honey is an antibacterial agent. I get my Bigelow at Walmart in the Tea section.
How to make the best of it, once sickness has hit!
1. Meditate. Yes, I really said that. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and can improve health and immune system functions too. Take deep breaths and focus on your breaths. If your mind wanders, return your focus to breathing. Think of your breath going through your body to every body part, from head to toes. Unclench your tension.
2. Indulge in a guilty pleasure. For me, it’s Hallmark movies. What’s it for you?
3. Talk with a loved one. You can feel very isolated when you’re sick. It heals the soul and body to talk and laugh again.
4. Rest, relaxation and re-hydration! These three are so important! Drink as much water as you can. Rest as much as you can. Relax to some good music or a good book or magazine. Let your body really heal with rest, relaxation and water.
5. Sip that Bigelow tea! Even though you’re already sick, tea is an age-old balm for sniffles, sneezes and congestion. Hot liquids can loosen congestion in the chest and sinuses, and ultimately clear up congestion and soothe you!