Surviving Cold & Flu Season – January 2011

It’s that time of year, when everyone seems to come down with some sort of illness after the holidays. So how can you prevent your child from catching a virus, and if they do catch one how do you treat it?

According to Samantha Stern, training and development director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek and Wauwatosa, “When children have runny noses, it is really critical for parents to exercise caution and keep them away from other children.”

This is because the cold virus usually tends to end up on their hands, clothing, and toys–where it can live for up to 30 minutes.

“If another child touches a toy with an infected virus on it, and then rubs her nose or eyes, she can easily catch the cold,” says Stern.

Here are some tips to help your family through the cold and flu season.

Wash your hands.

Stern says everyone needs to wash their hands frequently for at least 30 seconds with anti-viral soap and hot water because the typical cold lasts 6 to 14 days and viruses are easily transmitted on your hands.

While this tactic is simple it has been proven effective. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that children who regularly use a hand sanitizer have 50 percent fewer absences from school than those who don’t.

Avoid Eyes and Nose

According to Stern, “You also want to avoid contact as much as possible with your nose and eyes, only touching them when your hands are freshly washed and clean.”

Sleep and Slow Down

Stern says another important thing you can do to survive the cold and flu season is to slow down, de-stress and make sure that you and your children are getting the proper amounts of sleep.

She says the reason why so many people get sick after the holidays is because they are worn down and exposed to other sick people who are out and about when they should be at home resting.

Research has also proven that stress hormones actually break down a person’s immune system, so watching your family’s stress levels is important.

“Look at January as the perfect time to slow down, recharge and focus on staying healthy,” says Stern. “After the busy holiday season, it actually feels good to force yourself to slow down and take it easy.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers’ downtown facility, located at 340 W St. Paul Avenue (across from the main post office), will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Treating the Most Common Childhood Viruses” on Thursday, January 13th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Certain common childhood illnesses are just a part of growing up, and catching them actually helps to boost your child’s immune system. While most illnesses come and go, there are some that deserve special attention from parents. Come to this Family Fun Night to learn more about them. Activities will include making snowflake shakers, playing with shaving cream snow, and creating paper plate snowmen. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us!

Registration is required. Please call Ebenezer Child Care Center’s main office at 414-643-5070 to register.

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally-based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart.

The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere, individualized, nurturing care, and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.