Earlier this year, we went to my grandmother’s funeral.
When we left, no one was sick.
When we arrived? All of us were. I did my best to minimize contact between us and everyone else, but it was hard and others got sick.
I felt terrible.
Oliver ended up going to the ER while we were there, and eventually was admitted to the hospital in Colorado with RSV and the flu.
I’ll be the first to admit that there have been times I’ve had my sick child around others.
So I know that sometimes, despite your best intentions, you can’t always keep your sick kids away from others.
But when you can control it?
Please keep your kids home.
Some of us were blessed with children who never get sick. Someone could sneeze on them, throw up on them, and practically inject them with a sickness, and they still won’t get sick.
However, others of us were blessed with children who can walk into a building where someone is sick on the fifth floor, and they pick it up.
My kids are in the second camp.
Despite my best efforts, it seems like they are constantly sick. Part of it has to do with their asthma (I am not looking forward to this respiratory illness season).
But part of it is just because I swear they were born with weaker immune systems for who knows why.
You know how they say breastfed children get sick less? Yeah, apparently my kids didn’t get the memo!
There’s nothing worse than watching your child suffer. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to be in the hospital with their child, watching them struggle to breathe.
Contagious illnesses can be prevented
And I think that that the biggest part of that prevention is keeping your children home when they are sick.
80% of illnesses are spread by touch – and let me tell you, kids are constantly touching their faces, their desks, and each other.
One kid being sick in a class seems to get every kid sick (especially mine).
It’s okay for them to miss school. I missed school plenty growing up, and I still graduated in the top 10 percent and went on to get a bachelor’s degree.
It’s okay for them to miss church. It doesn’t make you a more righteous person if you never miss a day. I’m literally dreading the fact that Oliver is approaching nursery age at church.
Jack was always sick when he was in nursery (and so was I, because I served as a nursery worker for part of that time, and I held many coughing, sneezing, and practically passed out sick children).
In fact, I want to quote something from a talk given many years ago about when to stay home from church:
It is not neglecting one’s duty to stay away from others when one has an infectious illness. Rather, it is a kindness.
And I couldn’t agree more.
You never know when you are around someone who has a compromised immune system – or just someone that has a child or family member who does.
Children who have had cancer and gone through chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, etc. cannot get sick.
It literally becomes a matter of life and death.
I have a friend who has a child with Trisomy 18.
If he gets sick, it could result in a tragedy.
So please, next time your child gets sick, try and keep them home.
I know it’s not always possible – especially if you are a working parent.
But if it is possible, keep them home.
It’s okay to admit that someone is sick and that you can’t make it to something.
Everyone will thank you for staying home.
And, in the off chance that you or your sick child has to go somewhere? Just let other people know, and let them decide for themselves what they want to do.
It’s the kind thing to do.
Tips for Preventing Childhood Illness
Thank you to SmartyPants Vitamins for partnering with us on this post and providing us with a sample of their children’s probiotic.
We obviously can’t control what other people do. Regardless of wanting it to happen, there will always be kids sent to school or church or a play date sick.
Probiotics have become somewhat of a trendy topic the past few years, but it’s for good reason.
They do work, and they do have many benefits. I discussed awhile back how probiotics have helped my chronic digestive issues.
I admit, I am not always the best at giving them to my kids – especially when they are in liquid or powder form. Which is why I LOVE SmartyPants probiotics – they are gummy probiotics made with premium ingredients (there’s no junk in them!).
Kids love the taste, and they are easy to take. Not only are they easy to take, but they are extremely high quality. SmartyPants Probiotic Complete has multi-strain probiotics and Wellmune® prebiotic immune support in them, and they offer 7x more CFU than any other company out there.
Wellmune® does not artificially stimulate the immune system, or put immune cells into overdrive, it just prepares them to be ready for a challenge, which I think is the definition of the winter sick season.
So not only will does SmartyPants Probiotic keep your child’s gut healthy, but it can help keep their immune system in top-notch shape as well.
We want to bring more health to more people, so for every bottle sold, we make a one-for-one nutrient grant to Vitamin Angels. Each grant provides a child in need with life changing vitamin A supplementation for one year. So far, we’ve helped over 2 million children, thanks to your support. With your help, we hope to make 10 million grants by 2018!
Wash hands frequently
Encourage your children to have good hygiene – not only should they know to wash their hands after going to the restroom and before they prepare food, but frequently otherwise, too. It’s worth it to be a bit of a germaphobe and encourage frequent hand washing – especially if they are sick.
Don’t Touch Faces/Share Cups, etc.
I think most kids get sick because they are always touching desks, toys, etc., and then they touch their face. It’s just asking for it!
Teach your kids not to share utensils, cups, etc. with others. I know I’ve gotten sick a few times from letting my kids drink out of my cup! Teach them tog et in the habit of not constantly touching their face.
Also teach your kiddos to sneeze or cough into their elbow as opposed to their hands.
Avoid sick people
While you can’t control if sick people are around you, you can request that people tell you if they are sick before they get home.
There is nothing selfish about requesting that someone doesn’t come over if they’ve been sick. You can always keep some cough masks at your front door, just in case!
Make Sure they Get Enough Sleep
This is one we could be better about. Our lifestyle is such that bedtimes often are later than some children. However, it’s so important to make sure kiddos get the right amount of sleep for their age. It can and will help prevent illnesses (and help them get better quicker if they do get sick!).
Eating healthy can increase your ability to fight off illness. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and greens – definitely up the Vitamin C!
Studies have shown that, “regular, moderate exercise can reduce the number of cold and flu episodes that occur over the course of a year by 25-50 percent, possibly by boosting the circulation of infection-fighting cells.” Even when it’s cold outside, you can make sure your kids stay active (find an indoor track, play Just Dance or Wii Sports…whatever!).
Be Aware of Outbreaks
I think most states have some kind of “Bug Watch” that you can check out online. I know that Children’s Hospital of Colorado has one. It’s a great resource for checking to see which bugs are running rampant in your community so you can be extra vigilant about watching your child’s symptoms. If you start to notice your kid getting sick, be extra careful.
I think it’s also important to watch the news. Every year, I seem to hear on the news about some kid that got sick with the measles, and they let you know every place they went while contagious so others can know if they were possibly infected.
I know this might be a controversial one, but I do believe being vaccinated can help prevent a lot of different illnesses. If anything, get vaccines so you can protect those who can’t (such as the immunocompromised and babies who aren’t completely vaccinated). I truly believe that vaccines can and will save lives.
When my babies are small, I require that anyone who is around them regularly make sure their DTaP booster is up to date. Pertussis (more commonly known as whooping cough) is a terrible disease for infants to get – it can lead to many complications, including death.