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cold

Maya has always been a relatively healthy child. In her first year of life she only had one cold and that was when she was about 7 weeks old and she got it while we were visiting family over Christmas. Throughout her almost 4 years of life she has had mostly just colds. Last year she did have a mild case of croup, but no medication was needed and it was gone in a day or two. No flu, no ear infections, no antibiotics. It has been smooth sailing in that department so far.

I knew that she would like be sick more often this year now that she has started school. We all know that germs love to travel around the school yard and make their rounds to all the kid’s homes. Well, here we are, just over a month into the school year and we’v already had our first battle with the school cooties.

A couple of weeks ago Maya had her flu vaccine. At the advice of her doctor I opted for the nasal mist versus the shot. Her doctor warned me that she would likely have an extra stuffy, runny nose for a couple of days (I say extra because Maya has allergies and pretty much always has a stuffy, runny nose). So, when her nose was stuffy all last weekend I didn’t think anything of it. When it didn’t go away and a cough arrived I figured she was coming down with a cold. No biggie, we’ve dealt with colds before.

Then Thursday night rolled around, well actually more like the wee hours of Friday morning. Maya woke up crying and when I went into her room I found her running a fever and complaining that her ear hurt. A trip to the doctor later that morning confirmed what I already knew, she had her first ear infection. A prescription for a round of antibiotics and we were on our way home to suffer through the weekend with an extremely crabby Maya.

She has made it almost 4 years with not a single ear infection, not a single round of antibiotics and nothing more than a cold under her belt. One month into her first year of school and now she has had her first ear infection and she is part way through her first round of antibiotics. This school year could get interesting. My fingers are crossed that we get a reprieve from the school cooties for a bit.

This week has been horrible, as far as weather goes.  Between the ice and snow and frigid temperatures it has us begging for a break from this winter weather and wishing for a glimpse of spring.  I feel like this winter has been going on forever.  I’m just so ready for warmer temperatures, buds on the trees, green grass and the first signs of growth in the garden.  Come on spring, we’re waiting for you.

We were one of the many areas affected by that large winter weather system that hit the entire middle section of the country before heading east.  Luckily, we didn’t end up with as much snow as originally projected but thanks to the full day of ice accumulation the city was pretty much shut down for a couple of days.  Lorne worked from home since it wasn’t safe to travel on the roads so the 3 of us spent 2 days huddled at home staying warm and watching as the weather changed from bad to worse.

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As Tuesday wore on everything around us became completely covered in ice.  Tree limbs started to bend under the pressure.  Inside I watched and hoped that the ice would turn to snow before a tree fell on something causing us to lose power or worse one of the very large trees in our backyard submitted to the weight of the ice and fell on our house.

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Maya was bummed when she found out we weren’t going to be able to leave the house at all.  To cheer her up I told her since we were staying inside all day she could pick whatever she wanted to wear. Her choice was no surprise to me.  She choose a tutu, a t-shirt and flowers for her hair :)  Someone is wishing for spring just has much as the rest of us!

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Today it is beautifully sunny outside, not a cloud in the sky.  However, it is FREEZING!!  So excuse me while I stare out the wind at the beautiful sun and dream of spring while pretending I don’t see all the snow on the ground.

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Come on spring we’re anxiously (very anxiously) waiting for you.

One of the things I like about living in St. Louis is knowing that, although we definitely get winter here and it can be pretty cold and we do get snow, our winters are fairly mild.  Typically when we get snow here it disappears as quickly as it appears.  We rarely get large amounts of snow all at once and when we do it is usually warm enough a few days later to melt most of it.  When it gets bitterly cold here it is usually only for short periods of time.  A few days of 20 degree weather followed many much milder days.  And, usually, we get some sun.  I thrive on knowing my least favorite season will be short and not too horrible.

That seems to have all changed this year.  It has been cold, cloudy and incredibly snowy this year.  Today as I look out the window I am looking at about 5-6 inches of snow in my front yard and snow still falling from the sky.  Which would be fine if this was the first time it had happened this year, but sadly this is about third or fourth time we’ve been dumped on this year.  Not to mention the fact that it is freezing out and has been freezing for weeks and weeks.

I am definitely disliking this winter.  I’m so ready for spring to get here.  At least someone around here is enjoying this weather, well the snow part of it at least.  Maya says she doesn’t like the cold but she loves the snow :)

Although we haven’t been outside to enjoy today’s large snowfall here are a few pictures from last week’s big snow.  I can tell that even though she is having fun in the snow she is ready for warmer spring weather too.  The first thing she did was run over to the porch swing!

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Please, mother nature, could we be done with the snow and freezing cold temperatures already!

Cold and flu season is upon us.  No one likes being sick, and no parents likes to see their child suffer from an illness.  Though it is probably impossible to keep your child free and clear of all viruses, it is possible to help keep the cold and flu bugs away at least some of the time.  There are steps you can take, things you can do, things you can teach your child to do, that will help keep them healthy during this cold and flu season.

Viruses spread easily and quickly among children. Between the tendency for children to constantly put their hands in their mouth and a tendency to forget about the coughing and sneezing into your elbow rules it isn’t any wonder germs make their way around a group of children so easily. Kids share toys, food and inevitably germs.  Here are a few things you can do to help your child avoid cold and flu bugs this season:

  • Talk to your child’s doctor about getting a flu vaccine this season.  Flu vaccines are effective at preventing the spread of the flu.
  • Teach your child to wash their hands frequently.  Clean hands are less likely to spread germs and contract germs.
  • Teach your child to sneeze or cough into the crease of their elbow to help avoid getting germs on their hands that they then spread to others.  A child who is used to this rule will likely encourage their friends to do the same.
  • Encourage your child to keep his or her hands of their face, and especially out of their mouth.
  • Encourage your child to be active.   A healthy, active child is far less likely to get sick.
  • Encourage good sleep habits.  A well rested person is better able to fight and avoid cold and flu bugs.
  • Provide your child with a healthy diet.  Encourage healthy meals and snacks.

The more active and well rested your child is the better chance they have of avoiding the cold and flu bugs that will inevitably go around their classroom this year.  Teaching your child good habits for washing their hands and avoiding putting their hands on their face or mouth is a great way to further help your child avoid the bugs this season. If you have questions about the flu vaccine or steps you can take to help your child avoid the cold and flu this season talk to your child’s doctor.

Happy cold and flu season. Here’s hoping you and your family can avoid as many bugs as possible this winter.

It can be so frustrating when your toddler has a cough and you don’t know what you can do for them. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 3 years of age not be given any over-the-counter cold or cough medications. The common cold often causes a cough in toddlers as the mucus builds up in their throat. They don’t know how to blow their nose yet so it is made that much worse by the mucus build up in their nasal passages. A cough is often most severe at night when they are lying down and the mucus builds up even more.

My daughter just recently had a cold with a bad cough. I felt so bad for her, she was so tired from not sleeping well because of the cough. I wanted to do something for her to make her feel a little better so I did a little research on natural cough remedies for toddlers.

If you find yourself with a toddler who has a stubborn cold and cough here are a few remedies you can try:

  • Elevate their mattress by placing a couple (or so) pillows under one end of the mattress. This will keep them a little bit upright while they sleep and help prevent so much mucus from pooling in their throat causing them to cough.
  • Use a humidifier or cold-mist vaporizer in their room to help keep the air moist. Moist air is helpful for congestion and coughing.
  • Use a vapor rub. Look for one that is safe for toddlers. I’ve heard it is a good idea to rub it on their feet and put socks on them. That way they get the benefit of the vapor rub without the risk of putting it in their mouth.
  • A spoonful of honey. Honey has been shown to be very effective in relieving a cough. You child must be over 1 year of age before they can have honey so this remedy won’t work for babies. If you child is over a year old give him or her 1/2 a teaspoon of honey.
  • A warm bath in a warm/moist room. Run the shower in the bathroom with the door closed for a few minutes to heat up the room and make the air very moist. Then run a bath and let your little one play in the bath for a little while. This will help break up the mucus and is very relaxing for them.
  • Use a bulb syringe and saline solution to clear out their nasal passages. Most toddlers won’t cooperate, but if they do; tilt their head back a bit, put 10-15 drops of saline solution into each nostril, use the bulb syringe to remove the mucus and saline. Don’t fit your toddler, if they don’t cooperate with this one try something else.
  • Give them lots of fluids. This will help keep them hydrated during their cold and will also help break up the mucus in their throat that is causing the cough.

A stubborn cough can be so frustrating, especially when it interferes with your child’s ability to sleep. Try a few things to see what works best for your child. My daughter liked the honey (it tasted good and seemed to work well at alleviating her cough so she could fall asleep). I also find the warm bath in the warm, moist bathroom works well to.

Talk to your doctor if you are worried about your child’s cough at all, or if it persists longer than their cold symptoms.

Do you have any tried and true home remedies that have worked for your little one’s cough? Please share them.