Once the worst stages of a bad virus or flu have passed, every parent has a dilemma: do you keep your child home another day or two, until she’s completely symptom free, and risk her falling behind in schoolwork (or you falling behind at the office)? Or do you send her in, tell her to tough it out, and risk her relapsing?
Cold and flu season is here. I know, I hate it too. Those of us with children know those little germ factories bring home every bug and cootie they come across at school. Before long, you feel like your house is a Petri dish of viruses and bacteria.
You’ve finally gotten into a groove—going to the gym every day, eating right, feeling good about your progress. Then it happens. You get sick. And as you cope with a steadily worsening cough, runny nose and sore throat, you start to battle with yourself: I can still exercise! I’m not that sick. I should stick to my routine. Right?
It’s that time of year. (Sniff, cough.) We’re all walking around armed with a pocket full of tissues and throat lozenges, if we’re not completely bed-ridden thanks to an especially bad cold. And if we feel lousy, just think about how bad it’s got to be for babies, who can’t talk to tell us what’s wrong and can’t watch bad reality TV to take their minds off their congested little chests and pink runny noses.
You should contact your pediatrician if your baby has a fever of 101 or higher—and if it’s above 103 or the baby is younger than 6 weeks, you need to go to the emergency room ASAP. For those not-so-serious situations, though, there are many home remedies and over-the-counter options that will help baby start feeling good again.
While cold weather is unlikely to be the direct cause of joint discomfort, the drop in pressure that accompanies dipping temperatures may aggravate pre-existing conditions (though it has yet to be proven scientifically). Protect joints from weather-related stiffness by trying out these five helpful tips:
1. Heat things up: Before you get dressed, throw your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes – toasty clothes are like a heating pad for your whole body!
2. Take cover: Dress warmly from head to toe – be sure to wear a scarf, gloves and extra-thick socks to cover your neck, hands and feet and keep them warm and comfortable, even indoors if necessary.
3. Enjoy a hot beverage: If you must venture outside, warm your body to the core by enjoying a steaming cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
4. Keep moving: Mobility is crucial to prevent stiff joints in any weather. If it’s too cold to exercise outside, consider taking a long stroll through your local mall.
5. Feed your joints: Eat joint-protective foods, such as fish (rich in omega-3s and vitamin D), shellfish (a source of glucosamine) and citrus fruits, which provide vitamin C (crucial for collagen production).
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