Last Updated October 7th, 2009

9 Tips for Cold and Flu Season

The suddenly rather chilly nights we’ve been having around here are quite the reminder that cold and flu season are approaching. This year’s flu season has been quite hyped up with all the talk of Swine Flu, vaccines, and wondering just how bad a year it’s going to be anyhow.

No matter how you think it’s going to go, it’s time to start planning for how you will cope with it all. When you have kids, there are pretty good odds that they’ll drag some bug home for the family to share.

At least when you’re an at home parent you aren’t so likely to be calling in sick to work, even if you have a work at home job.

On the other hand, you can’t just call in sick to your kids if they’re young. They need you no matter how sick you feel.

1. Research this year’s flu vaccines and decide if they’re right for your family.

There’s been a lot of talk about Swine Flu as well as the usual seasonal flu this year, and that means two shots to consider. It also means a lot more talk about whether or not both flu shots are a good idea. Reports such as the one out of Canada that the seasonal flu shot may increase the risk of swine flu make this an interesting decision even for those who would normally just get the flu vaccine.

My own inclination is to not get them, but that’s my choice for my family. You may have your own preferences.

2. Check your medical supplies.

It’s nice to have the stuff you might need on hand for in case you or your kids do get sick. It’s no fun running to the pharmacy with a sick kid or if you’re feeling miserable yourself. And waiting for someone to bring you supplies can be torture too.

3. Eat healthy.

This should #1 really. Eating healthy is one of your best defenses against getting sick. It’s not a guarantee by any means, but it’s one part of giving your body what it needs to fight off illness.

I’m really fond of fruit and vegetable smoothies. It’s amazing how many vegetables really don’t change the taste of a smoothie all that much. They also make great popsicles for the kids.

4. Wash your hands.

And have your kids do likewise, regularly.

This actually may or may not help against the flu, but it’s a good habit and can’t hurt. Especially since they do feel it helps limit the spread of the common cold.

5. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands if you can help it.

I was kind of amazed a few years back when my oldest daughter started preschool and they taught her to sneeze and cough into the crook of her elbow. But it makes sense. You don’t touch many things with that part of your body, so you spread fewer germs that way.

Tissues are another good option.

6. Try not to spread whatever bugs you catch.

It’s rough staying home extra when you’re sick and/or keeping the kids out of school, but it really is for the best. When you’re an at home parent at least you can still get some things done if you have a sick child underfoot, unlike parents who work outside the home and have to take the whole day off. Take advantage.

It’s more difficult in many ways if you’re the sick one and you still need to get the kids to school. Do your best to stay away from others; most people will gladly stay a couple extra steps back if you warn them that you’re not feeling well.

7. Drink plenty of fluids.

This one is good advice anytime. Water is best, but juice works well enough, especially if your kids aren’t big fans of plain water.

8. Get outside.

Fresh air is good for you. Sunlight is good for you. Get outside a little bit without sunscreen to let your body produce some natural vitamin D, then consider sunscreen if you’re likely to be out enough to worry about a burn. Same for the kids.

Sunburn is less of a worry for most people in winter, of course.

Getting cold doesn’t mean you will catch a cold. Viruses flourish most in places with lots of people, and that’s where you’ll catch them. Just don’t over chill yourself either if it really is that cold outside. That’s not good for you either.

9. Exercise.

Healthy exercise is… healthy. It’s a good idea any time of year.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated October 7th, 2008

A Fan to Lower SIDS Risk?

Since I’m expecting baby #3, this headline caught my attention. I’m of course well familiar with having baby sleep on his or her back to lower SIDS risk, but having a fan in the room is an interesting one too.

Researchers feel that this indicates that better room ventilation may help in general to reduce risk. The fans showed a 72% drop in risk.

I have to say, this is making me wish for a ceiling fan in my bedroom. Baby will be in there the first few months at least, after all. My husband hates fan noise, so that would be an acceptable way to handle it, I think. A good ceiling fan is pretty quiet on its lowest setting.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 16th, 2008

Getting Ready for the OB Ultrasound Water Torture

Yes, indeed, today is the day! I go in this afternoon to get my ultrasound to find out what exactly it is I’m lugging around here. Been teasing my daughter that it will be a pony.


The part I dislike most is the fairly standard request that I drink 40 ounces of water in the 1-2 hours before the ultrasound. And then not pee until after the ultrasound is done.

Every woman who has gone through this knows how miserable it is. Not only is that a huge amount of water to have in your bladder, there is a baby who is all too happy to tap dance on it. The kicks may not be as strong as they will be later on, but if you’ve had that much water to drink, it doesn’t matter much.

The appointment is set for after my daughter gets out of school. With the usual grand sense of timing that medical offices have, their first appointment offering was 5 minutes before the time my daughter gets out of school. Once I said ‘Nothing before 3 p.m.’ the problem was solved.

My daughter is very excited. She’s been fascinated by medical issues ever since my son had his craniosynostosis surgery. Since I intend this to be the last baby (especially if they insist on another *$&#$ C-section!), I want her to get to see this part.

So here I go, hoping to not explode today. Well, maybe not that bad, but if you’ve done it you know the feeling.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated April 24th, 2008

Total Body Supplement Recall

There was a little surprise waiting for me in my inbox this morning. The CDC contacted me to help get the word out about a recall of a few Total Body supplements that have toxic levels of selenium and high levels of chromium. Guess they’re trying really hard to alert people to the issue.

The products and lot numbers are:

  • Total Body Formula Tropical Orange with lot numbers 4016801, 4024801 and 4031801
  • Total Body Formula Peach Nectar with lot numbers 4016802 and 4031802
  • Total Body Mega Formula Orange/Tangerine with lot number 4031803

The CDC has information on their website about this, but here’s the basics they sent me:

  • As of April 22, 2008 there have been 195 cases.
  • Those affected range from children to older adults.
  • Ten of 16 states where the supplements were distributed have reported cases to their state health departments, including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
  • The supplements were also sold over the Internet.
  • Symptoms typically occur within 5 to 10 days after daily ingestion of the product begins.
  • After discontinuing use of the product, the symptoms of selenium toxicity may last for several weeks but should improve eventually without treatment.
  • Testing also revealed elevated levels of chromium in the supplements, up to 17 times greater than the amount stated on the label. The supplements are considered less likely to cause chromium toxicity because the chromium levels in the supplements are not as elevated.

The recalled products may cause the following severe, adverse reactions:

  • significant hair loss
  • muscle cramps
  • diarrhea
  • joint pain
  • fatigue
  • fingernail changes
  • blistering skin

They say to just throw out the bottles if you have them, and consult a doctor if you have symptoms. You can report your symptoms to your local Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) or Department of Health.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 8th, 2008

Well, I HAD Been Impressed

I got a notification in the mail about 2 weeks ago, reminding me that my son is due for his 3 year checkup. This is the first time the doctor’s office has sent me this kind of a note, and I was fairly impressed that they are getting that organized in their new office.

doctor's office

But what can I say? It was too near to Christmas and I was too busy to call immediately. So I finally remembered to call them today.

The woman on the phone took a look at my son’s record and informed me that it was too soon for his checkup.

Say what?

Somehow she had decided that I meant I wanted one immediately, not at the end of February, when he’s actually due.

It took a bit of explaining that I meant for the appointment to be scheduled for when he’s due for it, not immediately. I guess habits can get you that way sometimes, since so often people call and want that appointment immediately.

But I would have been far more impressed if she had simply said “OK, I see he’s due at the end of next month. Let’s see what we have.”

Instead, she told me it was too soon, and nearly ended the call. Just one of those moments you wonder what the person was thinking.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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