Do you hear it? The sound of winter? Coughs, sniffles, and sneezes! No matter how much you want to put your kid in a bubble to keep them from getting sick, you probably won’t escape the winter without a single sniffle. For a parent with a child managing diabetes, you know that a sniffle can make diabetes do crazy things! You don’t need to panic about your child getting sick, but simply do a few things to try to prevent illness. We have all heard this before, but every winter we can use a reminder:
- Lather, rinse repeat! Make sure that your child washes their hands well. Make sure to wash hands when coming home from school or day-care, after the bathroom, coming in from outside, and especially before every meal.
- Get plenty of ZZZZs. Kids who don’t get enough sleep can’t easily fight off illness as those who are well rested. Help them get a good night’s sleep and reduce their chances of getting sick.
- Eat the rainbow. Make sure your child eats lots of healthy foods. Eating a variety of colorful foods will make sure they get all the vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants their body needs. A good diet can help be armor against illness.
- Hands off! Germs are spread easily through the eyes and nose. Encourage your children to keep their hands away from their eyes and nose.
- Cough like a vampire. For those of us who grew up covering our mouth when we coughed, this seems silly. But, encouraging your children to use their elbow to cover during a sneeze will reduce the germs that they get on their hands. Their hands are everywhere! They will spread the germs everywhere they touch.
If they do get sick, give them some space. My mom always sequestered us when we were sick. We didn’t share a bedroom or bathroom with any healthy child. What seemed like a special treat to me as a kid, was a wise parent maneuver! You may not have the space to keep one child completely away from their siblings, but do the best you can. By limiting contact, you will reduce the chances of the illness becoming a family epidemic!
Sometimes NOT sharing is a good thing. Avoid letting the sick child share toys, towels, or even a couch with a healthy child. Keep a separate towel in the bathroom for the sickie and move their toothbrush away from the others to reduce the risk of spreading germs. When the illness has passed, throw the toothbrush away and get a new one.
You can also reduce the chance of sharing by wiping your home down with a safe disinfectant. (Did you know that simple white vinegar kills most germs?) Wipe off doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, faucets, telephone, toys etc. Throw their favorite blanket and stuffed animals in the wash and clean the sheets when they are better.
At your next appointment, review instructions with your health care provider about how to handle sick days and diabetes. If your child does get sick, remember to stay hydrated and get lots of rest. Monitor blood sugar, watch ketones, and call your doctor as soon as you have a question. It is much better to call and have the professional tell you not to worry than to be polite, wait, and wish you had called sooner.
Hopefully you can escape the winter without getting sick. Let’s count down the days to summer…only 166 to go!
Source: WebMD and www.parents.com