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Bringing home nursery germs

How to Survive the First Year of childcare

Since the covid lockdowns, the kids are now mixing with their little friends and it’s been back to back germ fest!

Us parents had great hopes for the first year of nursery, excited to display the paintings and craft they bring home, but instead we get a constant stream of bugs… Yuck! This wasn’t the plan was it parents?

It’s bad enough having to do the quickest drop off imaginable, to avoid completely drowning in guilt for leaving your heartbroken little one at childcare, then to pay for them bringing snotty colds and germs home is some sick joke, pun intended, figured I might as well make light of the situation!

Colds and Flu in Kids: When Your Child Is Always Sick.

The dreaded comment “Your little one is always ill”, bet you mentally eye roll when you're told that one? Folk who have no concept of the situation and point out the obvious come out of the woodwork when children get unwell, they really are the bane for any parent juggling work on practically zero sleep.

Coming off maternity leave and starting childcare is one of the hardest chapters, being a working parent is exhausting and juggling children who are magnets to bugs as they adjust to their new environment is another layer of sleep deprivation thrown in. Unless you hire a nanny or become a stay at home parent you can’t completely avoid these illnesses, you just have to suck it up, another pun intended!

The best advice given to me about reducing the likelihood of catching illnesses and treating symptoms, was from parents who have been through it.

Parents will tell you, “it’s good for him to build his immune system, and get

the bugs out of the way when they’re little.” Easy for them to say this when you’re using up all your sick leave living through green snot, temperatures and tears. And let’s not forget getting these bugs passed on to you too!

But these parents are right…

Getting sick at daycare is a rite of passage for us working mums and dads. Children getting exposure to other children, sharing germ covered toys they haven’t met or caught yet, will more likely to catch the viruses exposed to.

How to Prevent Colds and Flu

I’m yet to meet a child who hasn’t been sick, children are inevitably going to get coughs, colds and flu. Other than feeling rotten for a 7-10 days, sometimes 3 days, a cold will rarely cause serious harm.

Here are some things to prevent and help relieve your child’s symptoms:

  • Encourage children to drink plenty of fluids, water is best.

  • Eat minimum of 5 fruit and vegetables a day.

  • Keeping your child at home to rest can help fight the virus and help your child get better.

  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.

  • With doctors advice, pain relief medicines like paracetamol and ibuprofen can help ease cold and flu symptoms. Aspirin is not suitable for children.

When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, your childcare provider will have strict policies to avoid the spread of illness, and I would encourage parents to encourage your children to follow these good habits at home as early as possible, these are the common ones:

  • Covering mouths when sneezing or coughing.

  • Keep hands away from eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Using tissues to blow their nose, and throwing them in the bin after use.

  • Washing their hands with soap and running water.

Does My Child Need Antibiotics?

Antibiotics only works on infections caused by bacteria. If used incorrectly to speed up recovery or cure cold and flu viruses, the bacteria will become resistant, then they will no longer work when we need them to.

It’s always best to book an appointment with the doctor if your child’s symptoms are not improving.

Ear Infections in Kids

Another common ailment picked up when children start mixing in nursery, and most ear infections will clear up within a couple of days.

Treating early avoids complications, so it’s best to speaking to a doctor early to check if antibiotics or drops will help.

When will my little one stop getting ill?

Good news, there is an end to the sickness, once you get past this challenging first year your child’s immune system has been greatly boosted. Toddlers who attend group child care get sick more often than toddlers who stay at home, but those same children get sick less often than their peers during the primary school years. So what feels like a lifetime, is not forever.

Best of luck everyone!

Do you have any tips to share about preventing and helping children's colds and flu symptoms? Comment below, we would love to know.

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