New-schoolers need advice on germs, sicknesses - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-19-2010, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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SO. My kids have always had pretty awesome immune systems. They've had a few minor colds and maybe 2 stomach flu/virus things their whole lives. (7 and 5 years old.) But we also didn't go out much, they never went to daycare or pre-k, etc. I homeschooled them up until now so they've never been in an environment like a classroom for more than a few hours. Its the 10th day of school and my kindergartener is already home with a stomach bug. These things are going to happen, I know, but I'm just wondering what else I can do/what you ladies do, to keep their little immune systems in tip top shape? Vitamins, etc.

Right now they are taking the gummy bear vitamins (I can't remember the name right now ) every morning because I don't know a whole lot about kids and vitamins and how much they should take and when, etc. If someone can point me to some information, that would be great!

They need more veggies in their diet, that's true. But I'm working on that. I just bought a book about "sneaking" veggies in, so definitely working on that.

They get enough sleep, I believe. 10-11 hours a night usually, which I think is recommended. And the Kindergarten teaches definitely preaches Hand Washing regularly. Like, A LOT.

My 5yo eats breakfast at school because that's where her class meets in the morning, but my 1st grader usually has cheerios with fruit, yogurt with fruit, or whole wheat bagels with cream cheese/peanut butter/nutella and a glass of carnation instant breakfast or OJ.

I'm sorry if I sound a little nutty, I swear I'm not a hypochondriac. I just still feel kind of lost in this whole school thingsand I just want to make sure I'm not missing something important. I've never been a germophobe before, but now when I think about where all those 5yo hands have been and all the surfaces in the kindergarten room...it makes me want to volunteer to be the classroom janitor. XD

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn - Benjamin Franklin"
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Actually, their not getting sick much prior to now is more likely due to less exposure than awesome immune systems. You just can't be around a crowd of kids on a regular basis without getting sick. Mine were never sick until they started school. The first 2 years they seemed to get EVERYTHING! However, these days (9 and 13) they are rarely sick and when they are, it's always very mild with fast recovery. It was the same with me. The first 2 years I was a preschool teacher I was constantly sick but I can't remember being sick at all the last 2 years. The 3 of us have built up pretty tough immune systems. Poor DH, doesn't get sick often because he's not exposed to much but when he is, he most certainly catches it and it flattens him!

While you should, of course, encourage frequant hand washing, good diet, lots of sleep, ect, the fact is, being with a group of kids is going to expose you to lots of viruses. This isn't neccessarily a bad thing. A strong immune system is one that is used. Experience with all those little bugs prepares the system to handle the BIG things when they come around. I'm not saying go out and try to get sick but I wouldn't go crazy with the anti-bacterials and clorox KWIM.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I would encourage frequent hand washing, but not use any antibacterial soaps or products- the chemicals in those things can cause more harm than the germs themselves.

You might want to try cutting back on their refined sugar intake, as refined sugar suppresses the immune system. Both nutella and carnation instant breakfast are loaded with sugar- you might want to find alternatives for school morning breakfasts. I'd also take a look at the ingredients in the gummy bear vitamins- you might want to switch them to a vitamin without refined sugar and without artificial colors and flavors.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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@whatsnextmom

"Actually, their not getting sick much prior to now is more likely due to less exposure than awesome immune systems."

Heh. That actually occurred to me after posting. Very true.

@Ruthla These are the vitamins we buy, no artificial colors or flavorings. You're right about the sugar content in nutella and Carnation, though admittedly I feel kinda of stumped when it comes to nutritional breakfasts, especially as they aren't meat eaters.

Thanks for the replies!

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn - Benjamin Franklin"
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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We were homeschoolers until last school year as well. I didn't expect frequent illness because we were all over town every day and hung out at germy spaces, children's musuem, etc... and got frequent bugs already. I was wrong! DD1 was sick so much last year, it used to be that someone would get sick and then it would get passed around. During the school year, every single bug came from DD1.

I would certainly stress good handwashing, which we did, but it didn't matter.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Peony! Its good to hear from people who have btdt. Definitely eases my anxiety.

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn - Benjamin Franklin"
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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When my son started daycare, after about 6 months I became convinced that we must be breeding germs ourselves.

One thing I learned is it's good to emphasize handwashing - good habits and so on -- but you do have to tread a fine line; you don't want your child to be feeling guilty for being sick. I think we accidentally gave my son that impression and we've had to spend some time correcting it. Handwashing helps, but people get sick and it's not their fault.

After 2 years it all settled down. It's a rite of passage into the tribe I think.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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We're about to experience this ourselves. I give my kids Vit D drops, fish oils, and Vit C.
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Old 08-20-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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We are former homeschoolers and the kids now attend school. The first year in school they were sick All The Time. No immunity what so ever.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 08-20-2010, 04:10 AM
 
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I agree with others that the BIGGEST thing you can do (even above vitamins and special food stuff like that) is teaching good handwashing skills and making it a habit, even at home. They wash their hands when they get home from school. They wash their hands before every meal.

I used to do 14 days on, 10 days off of echinacea, but to be really honest with you I noticed no real difference, and with 3 kids it got prohibitively expensive so I didn't do it last year, and my kids did not get sick except for H1N1 (which took out everyone in two waves in the two classes my kids were in), which was less illness than they got previous years. Now I tend to selectively supplement at the first signs of potential illness rather than preventative (since they have a high quality multivitamin every day).

I don't think it's bad for kids to get the garden variety colds and flu (barring special medical fragility). If your kids have never been exposed to a lot of stuff it's true you need to probably mentally prepare yourself for entertaining/taking care of sick kid(s) a lot this year. Both my husband and myself stay home (he telecommutes) and have since before our firstborn was born. She got the benefit of me working in a daycare/preschool up until my 2nd trimester and that got passed on in my milk I think (since we did get out and about and with many different people when she was a baby). Once I was knocked up with the twins though that all stopped because it was very hard to get out. So when the three kids started school, it was after years of maybe being in 1 group activity a week. Not only did my firstborn get sick all the time in Kindy, but I got wretchedly sick a lot, and even my husband did! So that's another thing to be wary of--be sure to stock your own comfort remedies and to supplement yourself too, you might be on the receiving end of the germ factory too!
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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The first year of KG we were sick with colds ALOT! DS & I both! 1st Grade las year was good up until a cold that wouldn't go away and turned into pneumonia and was in the hospital on IV abx! I had never been so scared in my life! I am hoping this year will be better.
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