January 18, 2006

A mom's advice on breaking the sick cycle

Flu. 'Tis the season. I've gotten emails about it. Listened to friends cope with it, with their spouses, their children. At work we haven't been at full staff since a week or so before Christmas.

Not that it's all flu. There's nasty colds, some bronchitis, hints at pneumonia. Sometimes the office sounds like a lung-ward for all the hacking and sneezing.

Last November, Mieke was almost at wits' end when it seemed her darling little boys would get over a cold just to start another one. I am going to offer here the advice I gave her.

First of all is to take care of yourself (and any kidlets) with good food and sufficient sleep. After that is to break the cycle of reinfection, and that means paying attention to surfaces. Think about everything you touch and how often (and unconsciously) you then touch your face. SO

  • Wash and change bedding A LOT. Wash in hot or warm water with a bit of bleach and that includes washing PILLOWS (not just slips) blankets, comforters -- anything next to your face.
  • Wash and disinfect all the kids' toys. OFTEN.
  • Wash and disinfect all touchable surfaces -- door knobs, door jambs, light switches. I made a game with my girls when they were little called "Fingerprint Patrol". Saturdays I'd mixup a couple of plastic tubs of nice warm, soapy water and hand the little ones washcloths, dipped and wrung. Then they had to run all over the house washing off fingerprints (and consequently germs and viruses) off walls, doors, etc.
  • Little kids are ALWAYS touching stuff then touching their faces and mouths. Fastest way of spreading colds and flu and reinfecting with the same. Soap and water and frequent washing of hands and surfaces goes a great way to breaking a chain of sicknesses. SOAP AND WATER, doesn't have to be any of the "anti-bacterial" soaps. Infact, there has been some question of late of their effectiveness.
Of course, if you find yourself felled by the ickies, nothing like a warm bed and a hot toddy.

(or is that a hot bed with a warm Tod??)

cross posted at Darleen's Place

Posted by Darleen at January 18, 2006 01:08 AM

You can actually wash a pillow? I mean, sure I knew that theoretically... but won't it go flat and/or lumpy afterward?

Posted by: eLarson at January 18, 2006 09:39 AM


As long as it's not a down pillow, I've found one can wash them just fine. Though if you don't have a large capacity dryer, I'd take a trip to your local laundramat and use the commerical washers/dryers.

Sleeping on a pillow when you've been coughing into for several nights is just asking for a cycle of reinfection.

Posted by: Darleen at January 24, 2006 03:29 PM

Asked and answered!

Thanks, Darleen.

(BTW - Where'd you find that groovy pic of the WashingPost style writer? I borrowed it, and linked back through it to your original article... but I'd like to link to the source.)

Posted by: eLarson at January 25, 2006 11:23 AM

I've found that getting the kids to slop the hogs and milk the cows is a great way to build their immunity to all kinds of things. Letting the puppies kiss them seems to help, too.

Posted by: old_dawg at January 27, 2006 09:37 AM