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‘Tis the season to be sniffling

sniffles.jpgSince last Friday, temperatures have gone below 0? in Western Europe but we have yet to realize the dream of a White Christmas. Today, for example, there will be a high of 2? and a low of -5?. Friends from Ukraine complain about what they call “these middle temperatures” because, according to them, within this range, bacteria don’t all die and can survive the low temperatures. I asked them why this is so and they merely said, “We’re used to -15? and it can get as low as -40?. You can be sure NONE of the bacteria will ever survive that temperature!”

Fa-la-la-la-la, it’s winter time. Don we now our gay apparel, fa-la-la, fa-la-la, la-la-la!

And so I say this because since the beginning of the month, doctors’ offices are packed with parents and their children, needing prescriptions for medicines like antibiotics, Ventolin, baby-halers (inhalers for babies and toddlers), paracetamol, cough syrup, mucolytics… every time the weather turns nippy and then downright cold, so come the tiny bacteria and viruses to make life difficult for our children.

My husband and I have learned that the best way to stave off colds, sniffles, ear infections, fever, and the like, is to take preemptive action. Here are some tips on how to keep the blues away:

  1. Keep them warm. Invest in the full winter wardrobe: bonnets with ear covers, scarves, gloves, winter coats with good insulation, fleece and wool pullovers. Keep the head covered when outdoors, keep the hands toasty and warm, protect the neck from the insidious wind chill.
  2. Pump away excess mucus. By this I mean that at the first sign of the sniffles, be vigilant in pumping the child’s nose with seawater (this can be bought at the pharmacy). In Belgium, the seawater product is labeled thus: “For irrigation of the nose.” This helps prevent blockages in the respiratory system: the ears, the throat, and the nose are cleared of excess mucus. When the colds are already there, make sure to pump the child’s nostrils at least four times a day. We’ve been doing this since our eldest child first got an ear infection three years ago and he nor his brother have not had any infections since.
  3. Give them copious amounts of Vitamin C. Orange juice, vitamin supplements, multivitamins, clementines, kiwis and other fruits with high citrus content help stave off the nasties. Ply your child with it as often as you can. Any excess vitamin C will be flushed naturally by the body through sweat and urine so there is no worry of overdosing on the good C.
  4. Make them drink water, water, and more water. Let your child drink as much water in a day as he can. This will mean more nappy changes or trips to the potty/toilet, but it’s well worth the hassle. Water cleans the system, clears it of toxic materials harming the body.
  5. Make sure they rest. And rest aplenty. The body craves it. The best way to fight enemy bacteria and viruses is found in sleep. Lay your child to rest and he will wake up a stronger young man for it.

I hope you have a sniffles-free holiday!


The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and is not meant for diagnosis or treatment. Any information found on this site should be discussed with a health care professional. Use of this information should be done in accordance with the health care plan outlined by your health care professional. For specific professional or medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment, consult your doctor or health care professional.


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