Prevent Holiday Illness in Your Family

The only thing more stressful than the holidays is being sick around the holidays. The only think more stressful than being sick around the holidays is having sick kids around the holidays. Take some steps to prevent illness before it happens.

Boosting the immune system – I hate to be the bearer of annoying news, but here it is. I realize the suggestions below run contrary to the gluttonous, party-going, stress-filled holiday time. Just do the best you can.

1. Increase your family’s servings of fruits and vegetables.

2. Decrease intake of sugary drinks and snacks.

3. Encourage better or at least, consistent, sleep habits.

4. Discourage lying around and encourage activity, especially outdoors.

Fight germs

1. Don’t be cavalier about illness transmission. If someone is sick, keep your children away from close contact.

2. Encourage hand washing. Put fun kid soaps, antibacterial lotions, etc. around the house. Remind your kids to wash their hands. I find it helpful to put the fear of God (or Santa) in them. Try, “If you get sick, Santa will NOT come to this house.” The in-laws still will, but not the big guy in the red coat.

3. Buy extra toothbrushes. If your child gets a cold, use a new toothbrush through the illness, and another one when they feel better. If other kids who keep their toothbrushes close, give everyone a new one at the first sign of illness and separate them from each other. You might want to pick up the jumbo pack when you are at Costco for Thanksgiving.

4. I know it stinks when your child has to stay home from school, but please be considerate of the negative effect your sick child can have on the rest of the class.

5. Invest in the overpriced antibacterial cleaning wipes. Use them frequently on sinks, doorknobs, etc. They are cheaper than your co-payment.

Finally, get your family the flu shot. Think of how you felt when the power went out. WHY didn’t we get a generator, right?? My husband and I didn’t because we never lost power before. This is the same argument people make for not getting the flu shot. Sooner or later, Typhoid Sandy will come knocking on your door. Be prepared.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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