20-Month-Old Toddler Development: Germs, Colds, Flu and Kids
Your kid's pal shoves a coveted toy into his mouth and then graciously hands it to your kid, who proceeds to slobber all over it, and voilà—you're dealing with another green runny nose. Sound familiar? Welcome to the wonderful world of germs and kids. What you're thinking: "Seriously. Is there some secret snot reservoir in the back of this kid's head? And if so, where's the OFF switch?!"
- Toddlers are total germ magnets ... and day cares and playgroups might remind you of the infectious-disease ward at the county hospital. It's enough to make you want to coat your kid in hand sanitizer. Or you could be a little more practical and try frequent hand washing for prevention and lots of TLC when she comes down with cold #2,384. Here are more tips to help keep your kid healthy.
Cold and flu prevention:
- Hand washing is the best way to prevent germs from spreading. Make sure your kid scrubs his digits in warm soapy water long enough to sing the ABCs. A lesson in hygiene and reading skills all in one!
- Wash your kid's toys frequently and discourage him from putting them in his mouth. (Like that's gonna happen.)
- Put a humidifier in your kid's room to keep the air moist when she's feeling ill. Then close your eyes and pretend you're in the Bahamas breathing the dewy ocean air. Hey, it's cheaper than a vacation!
- Try using a nose aspirator or saline spray to loosen up the gunk in his nose. And protect his nostrils from chapping by dabbing on a little Aquaphor or lip balm.
- Give her lots of fluids and try to get her to eat. Turns out grandma was right: Chicken soup is actually clinically proven to be an especially good cold remedy. But don't stress if your kid refuses any grub for a few days. As long as she stays hydrated, you're cool.
- Call your pediatrician before you give your kid any meds. The FDA recently recommended that kids under 6 years old never take cough medication, and a study revealed that Vicks can be dangerous for kids under 2. So make sure you're up-to-date on the latest drug stats.
- Finally—and importantly—know when to call the doctor. You'll want to look for a fever over 103, vomiting, a severe headache, a cough that won't quit, an apparent ear infection or lethargy. Don't worry about being a big pain in the butt—that's why pediatricians make the big bucks!
- "Since becoming a mother and having my son admitted to the hospital at 5 weeks with Rotavirus, the idea of germs and kids turns me into a little bit of a freak. Public restrooms make me nervous. When it comes to shopping carts I thank God for the invention of hand sanitizer. Poor child can forget about going in the Play-Place on my watch! I'm a bit of a playdateaphobic if you will. I couldn't even keep my son in day care for more than a day ... I don't think that's why they call it day care. The mere thought of every surface in the place being contaminated by a million coughing, sneezing, runny-nose rug rats is enough to send me into a full on panic attack."
Read more of "Keep Your Kid Away From Mine! by DylsMommyJ
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The next best thing to putting your kid in a hazmat suit every time he leaves the house. Cook It: The Handed-Down-Through-the-Generations-Chicken Soup With Matzoh Balls Recipe
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All kids grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your toddler with so-and-so's from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your pediatrician at your kid's next checkup.