The warmth of September is still with us, but it won’t be long before fall sets in – and with it, cold and flu season.
Moms everywhere are hoping against hope to avoid another cold-weather bout of fevers, sniffles and days home from school. And that goes double for mothers of large families, who no sooner get one child well enough to go back to class than another one comes home feeling awful.
Kate Gosselin knows this well. As the mom of eight – twin girls in middle school and sextuplets in second grade – she fights a constant battle against germs and viruses.
“When school starts, there’s only so much a mom can do to avoid germ exposure and the resulting illness,” she writes in this week’s CouponCabin blog. “Unfortunately, in my large family, it’s always a marathon of illness, lasting a minimum of two weeks from start to finish.”
To reduce her family’s chances of getting sick, Kate takes special preventive measures, and she shares those tips in her blog. However, she might just want to reconsider one of them. Here’s the story!
The Gosselin sickness-fighting routine begins in the afternoon, when the eight youngsters come home from school. Since they’ve been exposed to all the germs in and around their classrooms, they follow a routine to keep the icks at bay. “We remove shoes immediately inside the front door, change out of school uniforms and wash thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water within the first five minutes of entering,” writes Kate. (Sound like overkill? Consider how much dirt and pesticides collect on the soles of your shoes, and how many surfaces your kids touch in the course of the day.)
Lunch boxes and backpacks go in a special area, too. Dropping them randomly around the kitchen could expose the food-prep area to harmful bacteria.
To bolster their immune systems, Kate not only serves healthy meals, she also gives her children multivitamins and vitamin C supplements. When she detects a cold coming on, she administers an over-the-counter cold-symptom reducer. She reports that she’s already had to use it this school year, and so far none of her children has missed a day of class because of illness – which is a pretty impressive feat for such a large family.
“Preventing illness keeps my family healthy – but also translates into savings,” explains Kate. When you consider the cost of doctors’ visits, prescription and OTC meds, tissues, juice and sick-day treats like books and crayons, staying healthy really does pay.
Kate’s tips are all smart…except for one.
The Gosselins use antibacterial soap to scrub up after school, which may not be such a smart plan. The FDA reports that triclosan, the active ingredient in these soaps, not only isn’t cleaner or healthier than plain soap and water, it may also help make bacteria more resistant to antibiotics.
Keeping kids’ hands clean is an important part of keeping them healthy through cold season and all year round. But experts say that plain old soap and water does just as good a job as the antibacterial stuff – as long as you scrub for a full 20 seconds and use warm water for rinsing.
Best of all, regular soap is typically cheaper than the triclosan-laden brands, making it a smart choice both financially and medically. Just something for the health-and-budget-conscious mom of eight to keep in mind.
Here’s to a healthy school year for the Gosselins and kids everywhere!
[Photos: via img.ly]
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