Give nasty colds the cold shoulder

Oak Park mom Gail Coughlin says last winter was filled with sickness for her family. “We were sick from basically Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day, off and on, with everything from pneumonia, strep throat, colds, flu and ear infections that just wouldn’t quit.”

She is determined to keep illness out of her home this winter. Three things that might help her family and yours do just that.

Wash, wash and wash again

“Washing hands before eating, after touching or playing with someone else, after using the bathroom or after playing with animals can reduce your chances of getting an infection,” says Dr. Sameer Patel, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. “Also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.”

An alcohol-based sanitizer is better than nothing, but sanitizers may not disinfect organisms such as Norovirus, he says.

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds and frequently clean surfaces, such as doorknobs and railings. 

Essential oil up

Mandy Smith Seaman, a mom of three, stands by the use of essential oils.

“Every day before school, my kids apply essential oils to the bottoms of their feet to support their immunity all day at school,” Seaman says. “Preventing illness and building up our bodies made a huge differences in how often illness hits and how hard it does.”

Love you, honey 

Loyola University Health Systems doctor and mom of three, Josephine Dlugopolski-Gach, says one of the best remedies for a sore throat is warm tea with honey. But honey can be a great cough suppressant as well. Research shows that kids 2 and older with  upper respiratory tract infections and were given up to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime had reduced coughing and improved sleep.

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