Up to 20 percent of the US population will catch the flu this season. That’s a lot of miserable people. Keeping your family healthy can be as easy as following a few simple steps and being proactive against the illness.
Avoiding the flu when you have young children at home can seem like a daunting task. Especially as they attend school, church, play with friends or just go about normal life. These recommendations from knowledgeable doctors can help you and your family steer clear of the flu this winter season. Read up and stay healthy!
Flu Virus is Preventable
Influenza is the only respiratory virus preventable with a vaccination. Why not get one? Most local pharmacies or doctor offices offer them with no scheduled appointment. Insurances also cover flu shots most of the time. A few seconds of your time, and you can be protected. Families with newborn babies, elderly people, or multiple children are strongly encouraged to protect their families against influenza by getting all members vaccinated. If a young infant or elderly person comes down with the flu, it can be potentially life-threatening.
Wash Your Hands A Lot
Hand washing is essential to not spreading the flu virus. Thoroughly washing your hands means using warm water and soap with 20 seconds of vigorous scrubbing. This includes between fingers, under fingernails, and up the wrists. Teach children to properly wash their hands and remind them to do so often. It can help kids to sing the ABC song while they wash. This helps them know how long they need to scrub. Always use a clean, dry towel for drying.
Hand Sanitizer is Not a Substitute for Handwashing
Although hand sanitizer is a useful tool to keep around, it does not work as well at preventing the spread of influenza as proper handwashing. Use it if you need a quick fix and no bathroom is available. But remember, handwashing is best.
Try Not To Touch Your Face
When you touch your eyes, nose or mouth you are potentially allowing germs and viruses into your body. Many people don’t realize, even rubbing your eye or itching your nose can make you susceptible. Keep your hands clean and try not to touch your face as much as you can avoid it.
Boost Your Immune System
Foods that will boost your immune system and help you fight off illness include healthy veggies and fruits. Multivitamins and vitamin C supplements are great, but not a substitute for proper nutrition. Look for ways to sneak in some spinach, green leafy veggies or vitamin c packed fruit into your child’s diet.
If you are Sick- STAY HOME
It is best for everyone if sick people take care of their illnesses at home. Sometimes it can seem like you don’t need to take that precaution. However, staying home for a full 24 hours after a fever breaks is not only helpful for your recovery but also considerate of others who do not want to catch the flu. Don’t spread it around! Stay in bed.
One symptom of head lice that is often overlooked is sleeplessness. Is your child groggy, irritable or not getting to sleep quickly at night? They could possibly be suffering from head lice.
Common symptoms usually take about three weeks to manifest. These include itching, open sores, rashes, and white eggs or nits present on the scalp. At night time when you are lying in bed trying to fall asleep, these symptoms can escalate and be more noticeable.
Lice are Nocturnal Creatures.
Head lice are much more active at night. This is when they crawl around finding food, laying eggs and weaving through hair follicles. If you notice your child is having difficulty sleeping lice may be the culprit. Imagine the sensation of tiny, creeping bugs crawling through your scalp. Top that off with itchiness and sore rashes on your scalp. It’s no wonder some people can’t sleep with head lice.
What Can I do to Help My Child Sleep?
Establish a Realistic Bedtime – Whether your family is dealing with lice or not, experts all teach that nighttime regimes are an important part of helping children receive consistent, good rest. Choose a time that makes sense for your child to be in bed, actually falling asleep. Then work backward to establish a nighttime routine that can help them be mentally prepared from bedtime. Based on your child’s age bedtime varies. The National Sleep Foundation can help you determine what is best for your child. Getting enough rest is essential for a healthy childhood.
Set Up a Routine – Give your child a bath every night, read a book, brush their teeth and tell them a story. Keeping a consistent routine every night helps their mind and body prepare for sleep.
Use Relaxing Techniques – Relaxing scents can go a long way in helping with sleep. Essential oils can do wonders to help a child or adult prepare for sleep. Scents that help with relaxation are jasmine, lavender, vanilla, or any scent that you like that calms the nerves. Massage your child’s back, neck or feet. Using oils and massaging can help them calm down and fall into a deep sleep.
Spend Time Together – Use bedtime as a time for bonding. Reading a favorite story, chapter book or magazine together. Sing a nighttime song that you both love and makes you laugh. Tell them stories about your childhood or ask them questions about their day. Spending time at night with your child helps them feel like they matter to you. Take the time to create a soothing, loving environment so they feel safe and sound before sleep.
Sleep Recommendations Based on Age
-Infants and children up to two years of age need 14 hours a day. Usually, this involves a two-hour nap during the day, followed by a 12-hour sleep pattern through the night. Children usually sleep through the night by age six months. A nighttime regime can help with getting them in a pattern to sleep through the night.
-Children three to six years old need 12 hours of sleep a day. Basically, skip the nap and put them to bed at the regular time. This age is critical for development. Adequate sleep will help them tremendously to focus and pay attention at school.
–Older children ages seven to twelve need at least 10-11 hours of sleep a night. This is time actually spent in slumber.
-Teenage children ages thirteen to eighteen still need about 8-9 hours of sleep as their bodies and minds are continuing to grow and develop. Teenagers deal with a large amount of stress and social pressure. They work hard in school and are always learning and on the move. Making sure they are receiving the sleep they need goes a long way on the path to success.
As a parent or caretaker, we all understand that there are some topics you need to address with your children that are uncomfortable or embarrassing. Essentially, with teenage children, it can even be awkward. Head lice definitely fit into that category for some people. Why is it important to talk to your kids about head lice? What is the best way to help them understand?
Why Should I Talk to My Kids About Head Lice?
The Center for Disease Control states that anywhere from 6 to 13 million people acquire lice per year in the United States, most often children between the ages of 3-11. This problem is not getting better, it is actually escalating in the United States due to super lice that show strong immunities to over the counter lice care products. With a problem like this growing so rapidly, talking to your kids about prevention and symptoms is essential to stay lice free.
What’s the Best Way to Help Them Understand?
Come up with some questions. The way you talk to children can really influence the way they react. Asking specific questions is a great way to see how much they understand. Asking open-ended questions that require some thought and much more than a simple YES or NO answer can help to initiate conversation because kids are more likely to open up. It shows that you care what they think and feel. Some examples could be, “Why do you think it would be important to learn about head lice?” or “What things do you already know about head lice and how they survive?”
Keep things simple. Share the facts about lice with them in a simple, precise way they can understand. Make sure they get it by using simple terms, reiterating the facts with follow through questions and help them to get the big picture.
Avoid nagging and acting disappointed. It is a common misconception that dirty or unkempt people get head lice. The fact remains that anyone and everyone is susceptible to head lice, regardless of what gossip goes around. It is not anyone’s fault, it is a fact of life. Griping, complaining or nagging at a child will do nothing but make them feel bad. Approach your child with love, care, and consideration. Offer positive affirming words and take action in a positive way to help them. Patience is key as well. This attitude can help create a healthy relationship between you and your child. No matter if they contract head lice, or any other problem arises, you will be in a much better position to handle it.
Stay Calm and Contact Lice Clinics of America. If children see that you are calm and collect, they will be much more capable of keeping their cool as well. Don’t seem grossed out or disgusted because that does nothing to solve the problem or help the child. If you are childish about head lice, they will be also. Stay calm and contact Lice Clinics of America. We can help walk you through any head lice problem with the latest procedures and technology that can alleviate head lice and their eggs in a single treatment. We also offer head lice checks for parents who don’t know for sure what to look for and how to diagnose head lice.
At Christmas time a captivating way to bring the magic into your home is to share some Christmas time poetry. Snuggle up with your little ones, grab some hot cocoa and share these classic, timeless poems that can mean so much at Christmas time.
Class Christmas Poetry for Kids
Snowball by Shel Silverstein is a fun way to start! Children will love the hilarious ending and dream of playing in the snow. This classic poem brings the joy of winter to children in only a way Shel Silverstein can.
Snowball By Shel Silverstein I made myself a snowball, As perfect as could be, I thought I’d keep it as a pet, And let it sleep with me. I made it some pyjamas, And a pillow for its head. Then last night it ran away, But first, it wet the bed!
A Chubby Snowman compliments a craft time perfectly! Especially for younger children, what a fun way to incorporate poetry and craft time than a clever, creative poem and craft to make them laugh. Here are a few snowman craft ideas to choose from! Let it snow and bring on the creativity! Let it snow and bring on the creativity!
A Chubby Snowman Author Unknown A chubby little snowman had a carrot nose. Along came a bunny, and what do you suppose? That hungry little bunny, looking for some lunch, Grabbed that snowman’s nose, Nibble, nibble, crunch!
Christmas Bells is the ultimate Christmas classic that has been set to music in a beautiful hymn we all know and love. First start with the reading of the poem, then introduce your children to the song! Pick up some small bells to ring as you sing or read and create your moment of treasured memories.
Christmas Bells By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men! It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.” Sources: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/christmas-bells-by-henry-wadsworth-longfellow
Children who attend public or private schools are at a higher risk of catching infectious illnesses that are easily passed around. Before the intense winter months hit, read up on these common childhood illnesses and learn how you can prevent and recognize them in your child.
Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease –
A virus that results in open sores inside the throat and tonsils, rashes or blisters on the body, obvious mostly on the hands and feet.
This highly contagious disease is passed through schools and children by infected items that children commonly touch throughout the day. Bathrooms, doorknobs, books, or various items at school become contaminated and it can spread like wildfire. Although not considered a serious illness, HFMD causes painful blisters in the mouth, throat, and tongue, making it difficult to eat. Children also experience high fevers and a rash that can spread throughout the body but is initially noticed on the hands and feet. Washing hands often and thoroughly is important in preventing the spread of this. Disinfecting surfaces will also play a major role in stopping the spread of it.
Head Lice –
Head lice, a human parasite that survives from the blood and warmth of a human host.
Head lice are small, sesame seed-sized insects that crawl from hair strand to hair strand with claws at the tip of their legs. They lay nits, or eggs, near the base of the scalp that are white in color and firmly glued to hair strands to prevent them from flaking off easily. Head lice are easily transferred through direct head to head contact, sharing clothing, or hair accessories. Initial symptoms will include, irritation on the scalp, redness, itchiness and the appearance of nits. Many people erroneously believe that head lice become dormant in winter months. In fact, they are active all through the year and can be passed on through winter months as well.
Pink Eye, or Conjunctivitis –
This illness is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin clear tissue that outlines the eye and eyelid.
When your child wakes up in the morning with yellow crust causing the eyelid to be glued shut, this is a clear indication they have contracted conjunctivitis. A highly contagious infection, this is normally passed by children touching infected objects and then rubbing their eye. Most people will become infected with this several times throughout their life, especially small children in schools. To effectively cure it, a prescription eye drop is required.
A bacterial infection called group A streptococcus that causes a severe sore throat and swollen lymph nodes.
Unlike other types of sore throats, strep throat requires antibiotics to clear up. It is usually diagnosed from the resulting swollen neck lymph nodes and a lab test done at your doctor’s office. Commonly spread in school-age children through mucus or coming in contact with contaminated items, over 3 million school-age children will deal with strep throat yearly. Initially, sore throat, slight fever, loss of appetite and possible upset stomach will be the first symptoms to show.
Sometimes the worst part of having head lice in your home is dealing with the gossip from the neighbors! Parents can wonder, who do I really have to tell, and when? We understand that the whole situation can bring added stress to you and your child. With that in mind, here are a few helpful tips for taking the proper action.
Communicate with Your Child First
We don’t want our children to feel like they can’t trust us. Take the time to sit down and talk with your child about the issue. Help them understand that head lice are highly contagious, therefore it is essential that you let a few, trusted adults know who will handle the problem delicately. Make sure they feel like you are using discretion and handling the situation responsibly. Talk to your child also about not feeling like they need to tell the whole classroom. Some kids can be cruel and bullying might result. Ultimately, remind your child that head lice happens. It is not something to really be embarrassed about. Most people will experience a case of head lice in their lifetime.
Wouldn’t You Want To Know?
The best way to go about determining which parents you should contact, and which parents can be left out of the loop is to ask yourself when and where could their child have been affected. If your child has spent time playing, hanging around or associating with their child it is best to contact them. It is proper and good to ask them to use discretion and not repeat it to others. Think to yourself, would I want them to tell me if the situation was reversed, and you can’t go wrong. When you do contact the adults that need to know, it may actually turn out to be a blessing! Sometimes people you don’t know about are also dealing with head lice and could appreciate a friend to talk to.
Teachers and School Nurses Can Help
Teachers are quite aware of the dangers of head lice and the commonality of it as well. Don’t be afraid to let your child’s teacher know the situation. The school nurse can also be a great resource for you in giving you information and helping you determine when your child should safely return to school. The majority of head lice cases that deal with school-age children can be traced back to school or school-related activities. If you want to get a handle on the problem, contacting the school is a must. However, be sure to talk to the teacher about notifying parents of the issue, and not the culprit. Actually, there is really no way to know how the initial infection got started. No one person is to blame. You may even be surprised how many children in the classroom are dealing with head lice or have dealt with it recently.
Lice Clinics of America is Your Best Resource
We have expert professionals who deal with head lice outbreaks every day. Our staff can help you determine the best solution for your head lice problem, and give you real answers to getting rid of head lice once and for all. We are always here to answer your questions and help you be free from the stress of head lice. Contact us today to get started!
Tips and Tricks to Keep your Little Ghost Safe This Halloween
-Be Seen in the Dark
Make sure that costumes can be visible in the night. Opt for brighter, easily seen colors for your child to wear. If you need to, have your child wear some reflective tape or glow sticks as a cheap way to keep them visible.
-Keep Costumes Safe
Halloween masks are super spooky but can obstruct your child’s view if they are not the proper size. Make sure they can see where they are going. Makeup is a good alternative to masks or hoods that will keep their line of sight open. Props that are sharp or heavy can hurt someone if your child gets spooked or just gets a little excited over the Halloween events. Make sure all wigs, hoods, capes or extras are fire retardant.
-Gather with a Group
There is almost always safety in numbers, and that includes on the spookiest night of the year. Gather with friends, cousins, neighbors or anyone who you can take along trick or treating to keep everyone safely together. Make sure children are supervised at all times.
-Check Candy for Safety
It can be important to check through your child’s candy for any opened, suspicious or homemade goodies that you don’t want them to have. Make sure that candy is age appropriate as well by removing hard candies or choke hazard size candy for smaller children.
-Don’t Forget your Cell Phone
Don’t slip out that door without your cell phone. Make sure it’s fully charged and ready to capture those scary moments with your child. It’s important to have it handy for safety reasons as well. If you do let your older kids around the neighborhood alone, maybe use walkie-talkies to keep in touch, just in case.
-Use Sidewalks and Don’t Ignore Traffic Rules
Children can become overly excited on Halloween night and forget to cross the street safely. Talk to them about using sidewalks and crosswalks when available. Also, make sure they know to walk on the outside of the road toward oncoming traffic if no sidewalk is available. Pick a larger neighborhood to stay in and give your kids plenty of options for trick or treating to avoid busy or dark roads.
-Be Extra Cautious While Driving
More accidents happen on Halloween Night with cars and pedestrians than most other times of the year. Be alert and use more caution than usual on this festive night. Remind teenage drivers of these risks as well.
-Keep Pumpkins Free from Hazards
Instead of letting children carve pumpkins, have them draw on a face with a sharpie and then an adult can cut out their pattern. Using paint or props to create a spooky face on your pumpkin instead can also be a safer, fun approach to Jack o’Lanterns. Try using battery operated lights or different colored glow sticks to give your pumpkin that eerie Halloween glow this year.
Many parents are unaware of how common a problem that bullying has become across the nation. Bullying is a serious issue that should not be brushed off or treated as an average childhood problem whether at school or home.
Bullying is defined on kidshealth.com as “ intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. It can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling, threats, and mocking to extorting money and possessions.” Social media is becoming a huge outlet for cyberbullying in recent years. Parents should always be aware of what is going on with their child’s social media accounts and check them frequently.
A national survey on StopyBullying.gov shows that about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time.
When your child contracts head lice, they can become the target of bullying among peers and classmates.
Take Care Who Finds Out About the Problem
Although it is extremely appropriate to let individuals in your life know about the head lice problem in your household, proper care should be taken to make sure it does not become a community-wide announcement. Trusted, sensitive parents of your child’s close friends and neighbors, responsible adults at the school and anyone else that could be affected by the head lice problem who you know will use discretion should be notified of the problem.
Keep in mind that this situation can be humiliating and embarrassing for children, especially teens. Only inform those who need to know.
What Should I do If My Child is Bullied for Head Lice?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that up to 12 million children will catch head lice in the United States this year alone. Let your child know that most people will have to deal with head lice in their lifetime. It is a common problem that is not life-threatening or detrimental to their health. It does not label them as dirty or gross.
Children’s personalities are so different. There are many approaches that might work for your specific child. Here are a few tips for helping prevent bullying:
-Stand up to the bully. Teach your child to respond in a firm, strong voice that they will not be pushed around. Sometimes this will help the bully back off because your child is not an easy target.
-Other children will do best to approach the situation with humor. Have them come up with a joke or be prepared to laugh at themselves in the situation. Humor can take the bully by surprise and show them that your child is not affected by their degrading remarks.
-Children who will not respond well to pressure or be too afraid to stand up need to flee the situation as quickly as possible. Leave and find an adult.
-The first thing that a child should do is inform a teacher, principle, recess guard or any trusted adult who will listen.
-Teach your child to avoid physical fighting. This will only escalate the problem and get them into trouble.
-Keep up the communication. Talk to your child often and ensure that the problem is indeed resolved. Be the trusted adult that can help them come up with a plan and prevent bullying.
Many times as parents there are things you look back on and think….what could I have done differently? How could I have prevented this? Don’t let head lice be one of those situations! Ultimately, there is not a “fix all” solution that can guarantee to protect your family against head lice. However, as a proactive parent, there are some things that can be done to help in the fight against head lice. Take a look over this list of ideas and decide which ones you can implement into your busy schedule in addition to treatments.
Head Lice Prevention Tips for ProActive Parents:
Teach Your Kids About Head Lice. We all know that children are more susceptible to head lice than adults. This is because they spend more time together in groups, don’t value personal space and are often playing and active together. Head lice are passed along through direct head to head contact most often. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show us that up to 12 million children will contract head lice in the US this year alone. That number is on the rise as more and more teens and preteens are passing along head lice as well. Teach your kids what head lice are, how they live and the symptoms of head lice. An excellent website for a resource is Easy Science For Kids.
Teach Kids About How Head Lice Are Passed. If you are telling your kids not to share hairbrushes and leaving it at that…you are making a mistake. Props for at least addressing the subject, but there is so much more to it than that. Do you have teens who spend hours on a smartphone or small handheld devices? Maybe your daughter is the selfie queen of her high school? Are your young kids spending reading time at school on the same bean bag as three other students? Do you have kids in sports sharing equipment and lockers? These are all scenarios where kids need to be aware that head lice can be transferred. Direct head to contact and contact with an item that is contaminated are the top ways head lice are passed. Teach them to be careful.
Become Informed Yourself. Parents with kids at home should know what to look for if your child has head lice. Three weeks is usually the amount of time it will take for full symptoms to start showing. First, nits or lice eggs can become visible very near your child’s scalp. They will be clear in color and blend in with the hair. Each egg is laid with a glue-like secretion that sticks it to an individual hair strand, making it much more difficult to pull off than dandruff or dry skin. Secondly, your child will start to feel itchiness, irritation from fecal matter and saliva and red bite marks on the scalp. Thirdly, you may be able to see traces of head lice or nits on pillows or areas that touch their head. They may also be feeling tingling or tickling sensations on their scalp that will escalate at night time.
Check for Symptoms Often. It may seem over the top to check your child’s scalp for head lice every few weeks, but it will almost certainly be worth it if you catch the problem early on. Lice Clinics of America sell nitpicking combs that are excellent for sifting through your child’s hair and searching for clues of a head lice infestation. Checking often can also give you the chance to remind your kids to be cautious. Remind them to be careful about direct head to head contact and sharing items. Lice Clinics of America also offer head lice checks in your local clinic. The professional staff can help you know what to look for, and determine if you have a problem.
Don’t Think It Won’t Happen To You. Above all, remember that head lice can happen to anyone! It is something that affects clean hair, dirty hair, people from all walks of life. No matter how proactive you have been, there is still always the chance it could happen to you. Stay on top of head lice with these few tips and make the process much easier for you and your family. Lice Clinics of America is your best source for treatments and advice on head lice. Contact the clinic for further information or questions.