9 Clever Back to School Health Hacks

by Laura Klein

January and February means 1000s of Aussie children will soon be heading back to daycare, kindy and school.  

And that means the dreaded germ war will begin.

Did you know babies and children get an average of 6-10 colds each year? And for little ones in daycare, that number can reach up to 12.

Colds and sniffles are a fact of life, but there are some clever tips to prevent and reduce the severity of infection.

We've segmented this information into PREVENTION and TREATMENT.

Prevention

1. Wash Hands Regularly. It's at the top of the list for good reason. It's simply the best way to avoid the spread of germs, particularly before eating. 20 seconds is the magic number.  Teach your little ones to sing "Happy Birthday to You" as they lather up to get an idea of how long to wash. 

Daycare centres and kindys have established handwashing procedures, but once your child starts primary school, there is a less rigid routine for handwashing before lunchbreaks. Why not add a small bottle of organic soap-free hand sanitizer to your child's lunchbox.

And keep a bottle of sanitiser in the car, and in your handbag and nappy bag as well.

2. Daily Nasal Flushing - I wake up most mornings, and the first thing I want to do is blow my nose. Especially in allergy season. I may not have a cold, but I still feel that I need to clear my sinuses which is often caused by the dry air or pollen. Imagine if your baby or toddler felt that way but couldn't tell you! They would be so grumpy and uncomfortable.

A morning spray of saline solution (which is just purified salt water) up each nostril flushes the nasal passages of dirt or airborne germs. It clears, cleans and lubricates the fine hairs (called cilia). 

3. Trim the Fingernails. Sometimes I get so shocked to see how much grot gets under my kids' fingernails, despite trimming them every 4 or 5 days. Nail trimming should be a quick weekly task, and an easy way to prevent dormant germs entering their system.

Our Nail Snail is the newest Aussie invention to clean, trim and file little nails. So quick, so safe, so easy for any age.

Your little one might be a thumb sucker, and even though it's a comfort, it dramatically increases the risk of germ spreading. Once your child is kindy age, you can gently remind them not to bite their nails or suck their thumb as a way of keeping them healthy.

4. Rest. By sleeping the recommended 11+ hours each night, little ones give their nervous and immune systems time to 'recharge'. It will boost immune health and give them more energy to face each day. 

Our Aroma Snooze is a 6 in 1 Sleep Aid, with all the right ingredients to promote restful sleep 365 nights a year, including purified mist, red light therapy and soothing sleep sounds. It comes with a calming Snooze Essential Oil.

Alternatively, you can diffuse Protection Organic Oil in the week they go back to kindy or school to give a boost of orange, clove, eucalytpus, rosemary and lemon essential oils to kill any airborne viruses or bacteria. When a sniffle strikes, diffuse some Winter Rescue Remedy Essential Oil

The lead up to bedtime is also important for all ages.  Screen free an hour before bed is a good guide. Use the hour before bed for baths, stories, quiet drawings or blocks.

Or why not enjoy a snuggle on the deck, enjoying the cool breeze, looking at the stars and talking about your day. Kids and parents both enjoy this activity and it can become a real family ritual.

5. Water Wise: Drink lots of water and fluids. Warmer weather means kids will be thirstier. It's water that keeps their organs and tissues hydrated and flushes out toxins that may enter their system.

Water with lemon juice and honey is a great drink in times of sickness, for an added Vitamin C boost, but to also thin the mucous membranes in the body

6. Go Green: Boost immunity by increasing the fruit and vegie intake with smoothies and frozen fruit pieces - a yummy cold treat on a hot day. You can pack a serious amount of antioxidants into a green smoothie, and it still tastes great! Coconut Greens is a tasty, organic powder to add to smoothies for an extra vegie hit. 

7. Soup It Up:  A weekly soup dinner is quick, delicious and easy. Plus it delivers an amazing vegie hit with vitamins and minerals to fuel growing bodies.  Mum and Dad will benefit from the green hit too.

8. Laundry Time: Keep towels, face washers, and bed linen fresh. Germs and bacteria can lie dormant on pillow cases and towels, so give them a regular spin in the washing machine, particularly after a cold or illness. That includes your little one's sleep blankie or comforter!

9. Daily, outdoor exercise: The long, cool afternoons make it easier for your little ones to enjoy some time in the fresh air and sunshine after kindy or school. Get those little bodies moving, huffing and puffing to boost immunity. Even when they have a cold, it's good to go for a daytime walk in the fresh air and warm sun and soak up some Vitamin D.

Treatment

Despite all of our good intentions, a sniffle is likely to strike in the first few weeks of kindy or daycare.

Rest:  We spoke about a good night's sleep in the prevention section, but when illness strikes, children require even more rest, to allow their bodies to recover. Wherever possible, keep your child at home and quiet to rest for a day. It will aid their recovery and stop the spread of germs to others.

Sneezes:  It's good to teach your child from an early age to sneeze into their elbow, rather than their hand or just into the air. This contains the germs and prevents the droplets from becoming airborne or landing on hands where they could easily be spread. 

Snot Sucker: We mentioned the daily use of saline spray in the prevention section. When when a sniffle strikes, it becomes a 2 part process. We know little ones can't blow their own nose, so after a few squirts of saline, we recommend using the battery powered Snotty Aspirator (or snot sucker!!) to suction any mucus or blockage from your baby or toddler's nose. It's the only way to clear the nasal passages, and the battery suction is far more effective than the manual squeezy rubber bulbs. In 5 seconds, the battery powered Snotty will clear the nose so they can breathe, sleep and feel better, and recover quicker. Removing the snot at the source means there is less risk of the stagnant mucus creating a secondary ear, adenoid or chest infection. The Snotty Aspirator is available on our website.

Once your child is old enough to blow their own nose, teach them the hygiene habit of always putting dirty tissues in the bin, and washing their hands afterwards. 

Soothing Breathe Balms:  If your child is very congested, rub a small amount of organic soothing Chesty Rub into their chest and soles of their feet. It's as effective as chemist brand vapour rubs, but contains no petroleum or chemicals, and won't burn the skin.  It's made with a base of organic coconut, lanolin, beeswax and lavender plus other anti-viral ingredients.

Extra Fluids:  A water, honey and lemon juice drink, served warm or cold, can soothe sore throats, calm a coughing spell, and flush the body of toxins and viruses. 

A New Toothbrush: As your little one recovers, replace their toothbrush or toothbrush head to avoid germs lingering. Our Buzzy Brush is an electric toothbrush, with built in 2 minute timer, and cool song. 

Here's to a happy, healthy year of learning for your little ones.

Much love Laura xx

Disclaimer: We are not doctors or healthcare professionals or aromatherapists. Our products are offered for sale with general use guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Should any sensitivity to our products occur, please discontinue use. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, and/or take the place of medical treatment prescribed by a doctor or medical professional.