Monday, March 6, 2017

Sick Happens - What to Do When Kids Bring Home the "Ew."



This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

I will never forget the shock I felt when my oldest began pre-school and almost immediately we were inundated with what I like to call "The Pre-School Plague.

For the first six months of the school year we were in and out of the pediatrician's office almost weekly. I often felt like I was making it rain co-pays as we walked away with diagnoses for strep throat, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, GI bugs and more. Sending him to school each week became a game of Russian Roulette- a sort of "what would he come home with next?" mystery puzzle. Eventually it got so bad that my husband questioned pulling him out of pre-school altogether to avoid the constant barrage of illnesses. 

Nearly 3 years and two more little boys later, the start of the school year and particularly flu season in general is always an extra stressful time in our home. While we continuously impress upon our kids the importance of hand washing, coughing and sneezing into our elbows and taking extra precautions to ensure we don't spread germs to our friends, the truth is sick happens. From play dates to parties, classrooms to carpet squares, "ew" is everywhere. 

Did you know that classroom desks often carry more bacteria on them than toilet seats and if eating happens to take place in the classroom, these germs only multiply? Up to 2.7 million bacterial cells per square inch live on common school surfaces such as water fountains, desks, computer keyboards, bus seats and cafeteria trays. Now imagine what your child touches while he or she is in school all day. It kind of makes you want to wrap them in a bubble, am I right?

Research has shown that most kids touch up to 20 objects per minute and touch their face 50 times per hour. Math has never been my strong suit but I can guarantee that those odds aren't in any parent's favor. No matter how careful and conscientious we are when it comes to preventing illnesses, kids will get sick and the least we as parents can do is be prepared for those kinds of moments. 

Remember those kids who won awards for perfect attendance in school growing up? That kind of attendance is nearly a thing of the past considering more than 38 million school days are missed by U.S. children each year due to the flu. Similarly, parents miss about 126 million workdays annually while caring for a sick child. This equates to nearly 40 billion lost dollars. Missing work to stay home with their kids and worrying about sickness outbreaks going around the classroom are top concerns parents have when their child encounters germs at school.

The Sick isn't just found inside schools either. The supermarket is a festival of "ew" with more surfaces containing germs than we can count on. From shopping carts to shelves, reusable grocery bags to credit card machines, these surfaces are the leading carriers for germs outside of home and school.


What To Do When Kid's Bring Home The "Ew."

1. Be Prepared.

There's nothing worse than having to run out at the last minute for sick day essentials. I learned this lesson during that very first year of my oldest son's Pre-School career which is why I always try to keep our medicine cabinet stocked with Pfizer products for those #SickJustGotReal moments. Not only do I keep these medicines stocked safely away in our house but I also keep a second set in a special go-bag that I rarely leave home without. You just never know when The Sick is going to hit and it's better to be safe than sorry! I also make sure to keep a case of Gatorade handy as well as everyone's favorite sick day essential: Saltines. 

One last tip? Order a movie from your local cable provider or download a video or two that your army of sick little soldiers hasn't seen recently to a Kindle or other device. I recently dropped off a couple of DVD's that I rented from a local library to my girlfriend's house when her twins were down with the stomach bug- and it's true- any distraction from The Sick is worth it's weight in gold.

2. Be There for Them.

Even as an adult, the minute I begin feeling under the weather I can't help but want my mom at my side- rubbing my head, feeding me ice pops and bringing me Pastina in bed. So Moms (and Dads, too!): Even if it means you have to hold your breath the moment you enter their room, stay with your kids. Make them feel comfortable, safe and taken care of. Make sure they have a quite place to rest, far away from the normal chaos and in our case, far away from their wild, rambunctious brothers.

3. Treat the Symptoms.

The pediatric brands of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare have three solutions to tackle the "ew-iest" of illnesses. Children’s Advil®, Children’s Robitussin® and Children’s Dimetapp® are on constant rotation in our household, depending on whose sick and with what.
For aches, pains and fever reduction, Children’s Advil® is a great solution for kids as young as 2 and up to 11. Children’s Advil® comes in several great-tasting flavors, including: Sugar-free Dye-free Berry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape flavors. There’s also Infants’ Advil® White Grape, which provides unsurpassed fever relief (among OTC pain relievers) with a syringe for easy dosing for children 6-23 months.

For the cough that just won't quit, I trust Children's Robitussin® Extended-Release 12 Hour Cough Relief to control and relieve symptoms all-day or all-night. Available in grape or orange flavor, for children ages 4 and up, this is one of my favorite medicines in my "Beat The Sick" arsenal. (While most Children’s Robitussin® products can be used starting at age 4, some are only for children age 6 and up.) Lastly, Children’s Dimetapp® Multi-Symptom Cold Relief Dye-Free eases the stuffiest of little noses, while quieting  that bothersome cough that rarely seems to relent. All this packed into a great-tasting grape flavor that’s dye-free, for children 6 and up.

While my career background is in medicine, I know there's more available to treat symptoms and little sickly bodies than just drugs. That said, I am a firm believer in the power of pharmaceuticals used in combination with essential oils, snot suckers, vitamins and humidifiers, to safely treat the appropriate sick symptoms and get my boys feeling back to their wild and crazy selves in no time. 

4. Stop the Spread.

Having a stocked medicine cabinet is only half the battle. It's always important to focus on stopping the spread of illness so that your family and friends remain healthy as well! Especially during cold and flu season, I make it a habit to stock up on Cavi wipes, a disinfectant wipe designed to kill broad spectrum microorganisms such as H1N1, E.coli, MRSA and Salmonella. Constant hand washing with antibacterial soap is a MUST and I always make sure to have numerous bottles of hand sanitizer and boxes of tissues within reach no matter what room of the house we may be hanging out in. 

Hang in there Parents. Cold and Flu Season is almost over. While as caregivers we often feel helpless during these #SickJustGotReal moments, our presence and preparedness to fight those nasty germs is just what the doctor ordered. 

What do you do when your kids bring home the "ew?" I'd love to know! Tell me in the comments section below or share your thoughts over on this post's corresponding amplification on Instagram or Facebook.


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