Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by West Pediatrics. Please note that Dr. West suggests that before doing anything listed below that you have a discussion with your pediatrician and make sure that the advice is right for your child. While these tips are helpful, it is always important to discuss an individualized plan with your child’s doctor.
Traveling for the Holidays; it’s as easy as…VWXYZ?
That’s right! Here are the -VWXYZ’s to keep your family healthy as the holiday season starts to take shape. I just love the cool crisp weather, seeing beautiful lights and decorations, and most of all getting to spend time with family. BUT- with this beloved season comes one dreadful hurdle: Disrupting our children’s routines through travel or lots of activities. I doubt I am the only one who constantly struggles with how to keep my kids healthy through the cold, events, and all of the travel!
At West Pediatrics, patient numbers are limited to ensure that you will always be able to contact me when you need, like when traveling! West Pediatrics patients get my direct cell phone number and are encouraged to call me to get specific recommendations at any time, day or night – including on holidays! And don’t forget, your house is my office. If your baby gets sick during the hustle and bustle of the season, you stay put- I’ll come to you! Reach out to me for a free consultation to find out more!
So without further ado the –VWXYZ’s
A great way to reduce your chance of getting sick is to get your flu shot! Now unfortunately, the flu shot doesn’t prevent all cases of the flu. However, those unlucky ones who do contract the flu despite receiving the vaccine, tend to have less severe symptoms and have reduced risk of complications like hospitalization or pneumonia as compared to their unvaccinated counterparts.
Wash Your Hands
This is one rule I can’t stress enough – touching things other people have touched is the most common mode of spreading germs. Makes sense, right? Let’s take a look at the following airport scenario: stranger sneezes into his hand, which he then uses to browse through books looking for a present to bring home to his child. Your child grabs that book, then realizes she’s hungry so she reaches into your bag of chips and puts a chip into her mouth. Voila! Your kid is now sick. Sneeze -> book -> hand -> mouth. Ensuring frequent and proper handwashing can reduce this spread of germs drastically. And, by proper, I mean (1) 20 seconds, (2) in between fingers, (3) under finger nails, and (4) around the wrists. This should happen AT LEAST before eating and after using the restroom.
X Out Germs Without Soap and Water
Even though handwashing is very important, we all know that sometimes you don’t have access to soap and running water. Heck, sometimes your toddler just won’t cooperate with that routine. A quick and easy solution is to carry an alcohol based hand sanitizer (like germ-x or purell) along with you. Another way to reduce exposure to germs is to bring along Clorox wipes and disposable plastic placemats – great for airplane tray tables or at a restaurant. Best case, use soap and water. When that isn’t practical- hand sanitizer is better than nothing.
Ye Olde Medicine (Your Grandparents’ Cures?)
They weren’t the best generation for nothing. Sometimes our elders have great natural remedies that have lasted for generations for a reason. Your grandparents would likely approve of some of these remedies that you might find helpful to have on hand while traveling:
- Elderberry – Elderberry is an herb that is rich in antioxidants with anti-viral properties that has been used for centuries to treat upper respiratory illnesses. As such, if concerned your child may get ill before the holiday, it might be worthwhile to try a supplement that boosts immune support. Check out one such product HERE. It also contains Echinacea, which also has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold.
- Honey – Honey is another time tested treatment for cold and flu symptoms, however please remember this should only be given to children over 1 year of age. Zarbee’s Baby Cough Syrup is an alternative to honey that is made with agave nectar and can be administered to babies less than 1.
- Tylenol/ibuprofen – This is a given but I felt the need to have on this list as a reminder – it’s always helpful to have these general pain and fever reducers on hand.
- Saline – Nasal saline spray helps relieve congestion and can reduce inflammation in nasal passages. I definitely recommend stocking this while away from home.
While I know (trust me, I really do know) how difficult it is to keep your kids on a routine while traveling, it is so so important for them to get enough rest. Lack of sleep puts stress on a growing body more than most, which in turn can inhibit the immune system and make your kids more susceptible to catching a dreaded virus.
Well there you have it! As always, West Pediatrics patients are encouraged to call me day or night with questions – this is especially helpful when traveling since we all know that is when things tend to happen. Here’s to a healthy, happy holiday season!
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Dr. Kortney West is a board certified pediatrician. A Lafayette native, Dr. West is a two time LSU graduate (undergrad and medical school) and she completed her residency training at UT-Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. She is a member of The Emerge Center Board of Directors and Baton Rouge Junior League. She is active at St. James Church and St. Alban’s Chapel. Dr. West is the mother of 2 adorable children, Elizabeth (4) and Josh (18 months) and the proud wife to her husband Michael. She thoroughly enjoys cooking, LSU sports and dabbling in amateur painting. In January 2017, Dr. West founded West Pediatrics, LLC, a concierge pediatric practice aiming to change the way we view our pediatrician, bringing the focus of medical care back to children’s health, and preventative care in a convenient manner.