Back to school usually means sniffles are coming. Sad, but true. Keeping up our kids health becomes a top concern this time of year.
I was in the school office a few days ago dropping off some papers and overheard a child in the nurse’s station complaining of a tummy that didn’t feel well. It’s that time of year folks. (I type with a shudder) All our kids health is about to be put to the test.
Even though this is Tyrion’s first year at school (sob . . . sob, sob) we have a fall and winter routine in place that includes:
- Important foods
- Having the proper hygiene talk
- Observing and teaching for follow through
I also stock certain cleaning products so we’re ready to tackle those lovely side effects . . . . (I shudder again)
*This is an updated version of one of my most popular posts My Secret Sauce of Vitamins & Supplements for Child Wellness all Winter
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
kids Health and the GUt. why it matters
Gut health is honestly one of my top concerns as a parent. It’s also one I feel gets overlooked by healthcare providers and isn’t taught or explained enough. A healthy gut can put up much more of a fight against seasonal challenges. If your kid(s) have taken antibiotics, eat sugar, and/or processed foods, (I think that’s like 99.9% of kids 😉 ) chances are they need a little help in the gut health department.
“Gut health” is essentially used to reference the microorganisms living in your intestines.
“A person has about 300 – 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body” – Health Online
THE GUT AND YOUR BRAIN
Know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something horrible happens? It’s because your gut is essentially a second brain.
This snippet of an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine explains it well:
If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” to make a decision or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.
Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). And it’s not so little. The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum.
Doesn’t that just blow your mind? This proves even more that keeping that gut healthy should be a top priority for kids health. (and adults too!)
WHY GUT HEALTH IS IMPORTANT
All this essentially means that a healthy gut is one of the best contributors to a strong immune system, heart and brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion. Reason enough that probiotics are some of my main “must haves” in my children’s daily health routine.
Some of the best foods for gut health are:
- Complex carbs (oatmeal and whole wheat)
- Fermented foods
- High in fiber foods
- Foods rich in polyphenols (Berries, grapes, cherries)
- Foods that nave natural probiotics (Kefir and yogurt with active live cultures)
Wellness starts at home. Our supplement routine
Since eating all those above foods can sometimes prove a challenge. “Fermented what?” my child says in disgust. I make sure to give them supplements I know are of a very high quality.
When the kids get up in the mornings and I immediately fix them their 100% grape juice, (you can read about the juice thing here) and they sip on that while watching cartoons. After about an hour I call them to the table where they eat their yogurt and take morning vitamins. Then it’s time to get dressed and out the door to drop Tyrion off for school!
- BerryDophilus™ Kids Chewables
- DHA Kids Chewables™
- Kids Vits™
- NOW® Elderberry syrup (I start the elderberry a few weeks before back to school and give it until summer break, then start it up again the next fall)
Most of you know how much I love NOW® products. I’ve been to their facility, talked to Jim, the CEO, in person, and was able to tour and learn all about their quality and standards. I fully trust the products and that’s why I’ve switched a lot of my family’s supplements over to them. You can read about their probiotic purity here.
Kids health in the Classroom
I get it my parent friends, we send them off to school with a wish and a prayer and instructions we’re not entirely sure they’ll follow.
“Wash your hands all the time!!!”
“Don’t touch everything in sight.”
“Goodness, keep your hands off your face and out of your mouth.”
“Use your hand sanitizer before eating.”
And the list goes on . . . We can only teach and send off hopeful they won’t forget our carefully laid plan.
The biggest things I tried to make sure Tyrion knew were important: Washing his hand after using the bathroom, and applying hand sanitizer before he eats.
Even if he does wash his hands before eating, I ask that he spritz them with sanitizer. Touching the faucet to turn it off (the same handles dirty from being turned on means he still walks away with yuck on his fingers)
The truth about most hand sanitizers
Did you know: The typical hand sanitizers sold in retail stores DO NOT kill most germs? This sad and horrible news is all true . Honestly, what is the point of them at all if they don’t protect us from a house full of under-the-weather children? Get away from me you hand sanitizer liars!!
I’ve only found FOUR, you read that right, four brands that provide maximum protection. Three can be found on Amazon (I have two of them) and the fourth use to be on Amazon (I have purchased it in the past) but now must be bought directly from their website.
- Zylast (not available on Amazon.)
- Clorox CLO Hand Sanitizer (Not the same kind of Clorox found in most stores)
- Germstar Noro
- My-Shield Hand Sanitizer
This in-depth and thorough website shares many reports and tests on how these sanitizers hold up to the norovirus. A really good read if you geek out on this stuff like me.
Tummy trouble House Protocol
If my kids ever complain of an occasional stomach ache I whip up a batch of “black applesauce”.
Black applesauce is simply activated charcoal and applesauce. I open up the charcoal capsule, sprinkle on applesauce, stir, and serve. The charcoal is flavorless.
Activated charcoal is thought to adsorb gas and typical IG toxins. It’s also great for a myriad of other tummy issues, including food poisoning.* [*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.]*
*Side note: If a child still throws up after ingesting activated charcoal, it WILL STAIN! So keep a catch container close by.
Once tummy troubles are in the home, the only things you can do is separate the sick person from the others and clean like mad.
If you have multiple bathrooms I designate one to the sickie, and have all others in the household use the other ones. If you’ve only got one (like us in our first home) I went through with a bleach rag and cleaned after each time the sick person used it. I used a ratio of 2 tablespoons of bleach to half a gallon of water.
Bleach and Hydrogen Peroxide are the only true killers of the Norovirus, so I would bleach all the surfaces, toilet, handles, and then go through with a rag wet with water to clean off the bleach after about five minutes. I didn’t want anyone getting a bleach burn on their bum while using the potty! I did this with gloves so as not to get bleach on my hands.
Laundry and barf
Yeah, it’s not fun. Honestly, if it’s underwear or old pj’s/shirts, I just pitch them. Not worth cleaning those. Newer washer and dryers have the “steam sanitize” option, and I use that for all clothing, bedding, and anything else. I also use bleach when I can, but will bypass that if it’s something that will become discolored. It also goes without saying, shake all the items you’re washing into the outside garbage before cleaning to remove any extra particles. 😉
For things like carpet, couches, or special stuffed toys that can’t be washed, I use the Clorox Hydrogen peroxide disinfecting wipes, and Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaner Spray guaranteed to kill Norovirus in 1 minute. These are not at most local retailers so again, I get them off Amazon.
With these protocols in place, I can usually stop the stomach bug at one person. Not often does the whole house get infected.
Shop strong cleaning products:
I’m sharing this information not out of “fear” of getting sick, but simply because who has time for it? I give the vitamins, teach proper hygiene, and keep the cleaning products on hand because they work. Seeing my kids sick is the worst. Feeling helpless while your little one fights off a nasty bug is no fun.
House Protocol for the sniffles
Honestly, congestion and sniffles are harder to contain to one person than pretty much anything else. They last for days, you’re sneezing constantly, and no-one is going to wash their hands after every nose blow.
And kids? Forget it. Their selves are their tissues. They wipe and run, too busy to actually blow their noses.
To keep the air fresh, I make sure to keep the humidifier going in their bedrooms every night. I love this humidifier. We also use essential oils diffusers in their rooms, (this puppy diffuser is our favorite) and add to it Nature’s Shield oil blend or Eucalyptus. I make sure to use this Chest Rub on them when they go to bed. My kids actually enjoy this nighttime routine. I remember as a kid my mom doting on me when I was under the weather. It brings back good memories of being protected and cared for.
Shop care for the sniffles:
Wrapping it up
Do you now think I’m crazy? 😉 I don’t obsess over my kids health and what I’ve written about, it’s just a routine now that’s ingrained in me. When someone is sick I imminently go into sickness mode and start implementing the above depending on what the child or adults symptoms imply. It’s a part of life, like it or not, and getting a routine down had helped me release my anxiety about it. I’ve researched each sickness, know how to treat and prevent, and that’s that!
Have more questions or need clarification on something? If you do chances are someone else also does, so drop it in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer!
I am not a doctor or health care professional. These are my opinions based on personal experiences and research. Please consult your physician before changing anything in your child’s diet and supplement routine. I am not liable for any issues or problems you or your child may have for implementing the above information.
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