Experts say that 80% of infectious diseases are spread through touch. Short of carrying a sign that says, "Stop touching me!" the best thing to do is wash your hands frequently and encourage your children to do the same.
When my sons were toddlers, I tried to establish routines such as washing our hands right after we got home or rinsing with antibacterial sanitizer when we got into our car.
What's the best hand-washing technique? Wash for at least 20 seconds and then dry your hands thoroughly (wet hands spread germs more easily than dry hands do).
Even toddlers are capable of washing their hands, with supervision. But how about blowing their noses? Most kids can't master that skill until about kindergarten. But don't let that keep you from chasing after your toddler with a tissue!
Here's what our mommy M.D.'s — doctors who are also mothers — do to prevent and treat their own kids' colds.
"I keep colds away by taking probiotics and giving them to my daughters," says Kate Tulenko, M.D., M.P.H. Tulenko is a mom of two daughters, the author of "Insourced: How Importing Jobs Impacts the Healthcare Crisis Here and Abroad" and CEO of Corvus Health, a global health consultancy. "A really good study found that taking probiotics daily during winter can cut the number of colds in half. I buy a probiotics powder, and I stir the recommended dose into my girls' milk each day. Any brand seems to be fine. After I started doing this, we noticed a decrease in the number of colds we caught."
"With multiple kids, colds spread like the plague," says Brooke A. Jackson, M.D., a mom of twin girls and a son, a dermatologist, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology Associates in Durham, North Carolina, and author of the forthcoming book "Skincare for Runners." "Prevention is key." We wash our hands often, eat well (especially in winter) and avoid other runny-nosed kids. When all else fails and my toddlers have colds, I put saline spray in their noses to ease the congestion."
"When children are older than 1 year old, honey is a great treatment for coughs and sore throats," says Jennifer Hanes, D.O., a mom of two, a wellness physician and a blogger in Houston. "It's been shown to be more effective than the over-the-counter cough syrups. When you give your child honey, you don't have to worry about medication interactions or the time since the last dose. My children love taking a teaspoon of honey for a scratchy throat or to help quiet a cough."
Honey should never be given to infants younger than 1 year old, but it's fine for toddlers.
"When my younger kids were toddlers, my older ones were in school, and they were always bringing home colds to share with the rest of us," says Susan Besser, M.D., a mom of six grown children, a grandmother of seven and a family physician with Mercy Medical Center/ Mercy Personal Physicians in Baltimore. "I didn't do much at all to treat their colds other than chase them around with tissues. As long as my kids were playing and seemed happy despite their colds, I didn't worry about it. I really think it's important for moms to realize that kids don't need all those cold and flu medicines. Most of the time, you're just treating yourself so you'll feel better, not the kids. Also, those medicines aren't harmless. Studies show that lots of babies are treated in emergency departments for overdosing on common over-the-counter cold medicines."
Mommy MD Guides Recommended Product: Nasopure
A simple patented system called Dr. Hana's Nasopure can help with cold prevention and treatment. Developed by pediatrician Hana R. Solomon, M.D., Nasopure is a modern, comfortable and easy nose wash that cleans away mucus, pollen, mold, dust, bacteria and viruses.
To use Nasopure, simply pour the Nasopure salt mixture (which is buffered and pharmaceutical grade to ensure an ideal mixture with no burning) in the patented Nasopure bottle, add water and flush the solution into the nose. It will exit through the opposite nostril, leaving you clean and refreshed. It's so easy even a 2-year-old can do it.
Dr. Hana's Nasopure kit comes in four- and eight-ounce bottles with 20 salt packets and instructions, and it offers 100% satisfaction guaranteed. The smaller size is for little hands, seniors and travelers. It's made in the United States, and it's assembled by adults with disabilities.
For more information and to order, visit the Nasopure website.
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: albertoadan at Pixabay