There’s a part of me that is very much looking forward to back to school. Ronin starts 2nd grade and Ellie will be in full day Kindergarten. I’ll finally have big blocks of kid-free time to get things done. Yay! But one thing I dread every year as school approaches is the inevitable cold season that comes along with it. Ack!
New teacher, new classmates, and even a new school for my girl this year, means brand new germs that their little immune systems are not used to encountering. I’m not a germaphobe by any means. I actually think it’s better to encounter some degree of germs for our immune systems to get stronger, BUT back to school germs definitely scare me.
Ever since Ronin was a baby, he’s been caged by allergies and illness.
He’s always been ultra susceptible to what we thought was croup. We had our first visit to the ER at the age of 1-1/2 because my poor baby could not breathe with his wheezing, barking cough. In fact we’ve had many visits to the late night ER or urgent care because of that dang scary cough. He’d be trucking along just fine and the minute his little body caught the slightest wiff of a cold and he’d have those night time croup symptoms. Here he is in the ER this past Halloween night 2014.
A couple of years ago a doctor finally mentioned that she thought it might actually be viral and/or allergy induced asthma or “reactive airway disease”. And it’s the “viral and/or allergy induced” that’s the important part. He doesn’t have asthma in the chronic sense. He can run himself exhausted, and often does with no breathing issues. But catch a cold, or have an allergic reaction (he’s allergic to grass for example) and it gets much worse very quickly.
So for us, back to school cold season is all about preparation.
We preemptively do a few things to try to avoid colds, but knowing back to school sickness is inevitable, we also prepare for what’s sure to hit within the first few weeks.
Ronin’s preemptive strike, which has definitely reduced his number of incidents, is to use a steroid nasal spray and inhaler every day. This is just for him because of his own issue with reactive airway disease. My poor boy. The combination of cold season and his many allergies: dust, cats, grass, peanuts and even an intolerance to gluten pretty much suck. So yeah, we take care of him on an ongoing basis to try to avoid his asthma like symptoms. Luckily Ellie doesn’t have the same issues.
But there are the things we can do for both of them. School germs be gone!
Drink lots of water.
My kids actually love water. It’s always the first drink I’ve always offered when they’re thirsty. It’s great for flushing the body and keeping hydrated when sick.
Wash Hands/Hand Sanitizer.
I have read this over and over but it’s a good reminder. One of the best ways to reduce sickness is by washing hands regularly. And if a sink isn’t available a hand sanitizer is a good option too. The clip on santiziers are great for backpacks so the kids have easy access.
Head Outside/Fresh Air.
During the colder months, we tend to stay inside and keep the windows closed, but I have to remember to circulate the air in the house every so often and get out, even if it’s super cold for some fresh air.
But for when sickness inevitably hits…
Cough or Sneeze into the elbow.
This is a simple thing to teach the kids to help curb the spread of germs. Of course we don’t always know when we’re contagious but with a little trick like this less germs end up on little hands, which means less germs spreading all over the place!
Stock Up on the Basics.
I know that no matter what we do, the kids (and probably I too) will catch a cold or two or three. Ugh. I hate cold season. But for me it’s best to buy ahead, so we’re not caught in the lurch in the middle of the night with no medicine. I stock up on my cold care essentials at the Walgreens up the road. They have everything of course, and I always save with their Balance Rewards program.
Cold Care Savings Tip! Spend $30 on Pfizer products at Walgreens and earn 10,000 Balance Rewards points.
Recycled Shoe Box Cold Care Kit
To get prepared, I created a DIY Cold Care Kit with a recycled shoe box and duct tape that I just love. Ronin saw it and immediately said “That looks like a medicine box!” which is awesome because I want them to know that they shouldn’t mess with it. I have it stored on top of our medicine cabinet for when sickness strikes. Here’s how you can create your own.
What you’ll need:
A small shoebox
2 colors of duct tape
Step 1: Wrap the bottom of the shoe box (inside and out) with duct tape.
Be careful not to stick the tape too hard before you’ve straightened and gently smoothed out each piece. You’ll get air bubbles if you’re not careful, so place each strip of tape lightly on the box first so you can pull it up and re-position if necessary. That magical duct tape sticks hard once pressed so go easy at first.
Step 2: Prepare the shoe box lid.
Using scissors or a knife, cut two corners of your shoe box as shown. This will allow you to create a swinging lid like door on your medicine box. Then wrap the entire lid in duct tape except for the flap.
Step 3: Tape the lid/door.
Place the lid onto the bottom of the box as shown and then cover the flap with duct tape, taping it down to the bottom of the box, creating your door.
Step 4: Tape medical crosses on your cold care kit/medicine box.
I used glitter duct tape to add the medical cross detail, then added my cold care essentials like medicine and vitamins all found at Walgreens. And now we’re ready for whatever hits!
Have you stocked up for cold season at yet?