Sick All Winter, Every Winter

Updated on March 07, 2013
A.C. asks from Atlanta, GA
18 answers

Right now, my whole family is sick with the Rhinovirus that's going around. It resembles the flu, complete with fevers and terrible coughs, and appears to last at least two weeks. Before that, my daughter and I both had a two-week-long stomach bug, then at least two colds and we had the dreaded Norovirus over Christmas. The only thing we haven't had is the actual flu, although when I took my son in to the pediatrician to have him tested for the flu (negative), she commented that he was much sicker than any of her flu patients!

Basically, my social life stopped at Christmas and hasn't been able to pick up again since we are always too sick for playdates or activities. I was looking through my scrapbook calendar from last year, and I see that we were sick all winter last year, too. I seem to catch every single bug my kids bring home, and my husband catches half of them. This makes the winters really long because I can't get out of the house, we always feel rotton, and then there's the weather. ^_~

We wash our hands frequently, always wipe down shopping carts and the like, and we live in a pretty warm climate. My kids aren't even in school yet - I can't imagine what next winter is going to be like, since just by breathing the same air as everyone else, we seem to get sick. I know little kids get sick a lot, but we're not talking a case of the sniffles here - every illness is full-blown and miserable. My question is - what do you do to fight off these winter bugs? Does anyone have any special techniques or tricks to keep the bugs away, or at least to get sick less often?

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answers from New York on

Are your kids ever allowed to get down and dirty. I think we have gone overboard on the wiping everything down, using hand sanitizer. I thin, personally, it is now coming home to roost. Little ones need to boost their immune systems, so let them dig and have fun.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Little kids get sick a lot... doesn't matter if they are in day care, play groups, go to parks etc. They will pick it up somewhere because their immune systems havn't been built up yet. And, that means you will get sick more in the meantime because you are so closely exposed to the germs, ie. snotty noses, vomit, poop etc. As they get older they will get sick less frequently and less severely. In the meantime, wash hands a lot... eat healthy, get fresh air and excercise, plenty of sleep and hope for the best. It doesn't hurt to take probiotics either. My whole family takes them and although we still get sick, it seems to be less frequently and not as severely... it is supposed to boost the immune system. If you truly seem to get sick way more often than others after practicing a healthy lifestyle, check with a Dr. to make sure you/ your children don't have some type of immune deficiancy. Good Luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Do you open up your house and let the fresh air and sunshine come in and naturally filter out the germs? Do you and your kids drink plenty of water and eat lots of veggies & fruit? I've found that sugar is a big immunity drag on yoru system and so much of waht we think is healthy is full of sugar - fruit roll-ups, low-fat anything that's processed, etc. Also condier that perhaps there's an underlying allergy that's starting the upper-respiraotry issues which lead to bronchitis and other maladies.

WE live in the NY metro area and the only thing I've found is that when we leave our house on the cool side (some of my friends say COLD) we don't get sick. The air's not dry, our immune systems seem to function better without sever climate control.

Anohter thing - we have teenagers. They've built up immunities. I have to say when they were pre-schoolers they were almost always sick. Their little bodies haven't developed anitbodies to anything yet - so every viral things or germ that comes along they react to. Once they're sick and you're rundown then you get sick. It does get better - they develope immunities and begin to be sick less and less as the years go by.

Stress is another thing that impacts your immunity. If your kids feel stressed (mom and dad fighting, illlness of close friends or relatives, new school, etc.) can also affect our ability to fight illness. Look at your kids and try to imagine if anything could be bothering them.

Good luck mama! I hope you all begin to feel better!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

In the winter, my entire family gets a flu shot and then we take Vitamin D3 and C supplements all winter. We don't take anything at all during the summer.

I don't wipe down carts, we SOMETIMES remember to wash our hands, and that's about it. I'm not very worried about germs.

We rarely get sick.

Best of luck!
C. Lee

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Many people get sick more often in the winter because they spend more time indoors. Make sure you are all getting outdoors daily.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well, knock on wood, but we have all stayed very healthy so far this year. My oldest had some mild sniffles in January, and my youngest had a freak episode of throwing up a few weeks back (she threw up once, then was fine). But other than that, we have been completely healthy. This is very unusual for us. Normally we all get laid out with some nasty thing at some point or other. Of course we had our flu shots this year, but we always do that. And California got lucky this year; our flu season was pretty light, unlike the rest of the country, where it reached pandemic levels.

The ONLY thing I can think of that we did differently this year, is that I made the kids start taking vitamins (we all take gummy vitamins, even the adults :). And then, I joined an organic farm delivery, where a local organic farm delivers fresh produce to my door every other week. I wouldn't have thought that just switching from regular to organic/non-GMO would make such a difference, but evidently, our immune systems are WAY better this year than in years past.

Like I said, I'm sort of astonished to be sitting here in March, totally unscathed by the flu or any other viruses. Maybe if you're not taking vitamins, and/or eating lots of good, fresh produce, that's an easy way to start. Even if it doesn't help, there's still no harm done.

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answers from Chicago on

Good Eating habits, Plenty of rest.

We have had 1 ear infection- daughter (20 months)
Son 2 -12-24 hr tummy virues (4.5)
Husband & I had 1 12-24 hr tummy virus.

We have been very fortunate. Both kids are in daycare and my son is in school.

We eat a ton of fruit, yogurt and as much protien as we can. I try to stay away from boxed meals as much as I can. We get our vaccinations, including the flu shot. I can not complain. I know my husband and I are on the healthy side. I make home made soups 2-3 times a month. with plenty of Garlic & onions (Garlic is a natural antibiotic) I am sure this does not hurt. I think it helps.

Look at your sleep patterns, food patterns see if changes can be made? Are you too clean? Washing hand with regular soap, is good. I think sometimes people get into a too clean system and make things worse. I am not never have been a germ a fobe and I think my kids have been pretty healthy overall. I hope thier bodies can fight off most things.. Tummy bugs, well I don't think you can prepare for them. My hubby and I get them since we have had kids, but before that it has been years. But the average cold? We have been pretty lucky.

Do you excercise? Even in winter, we are out side with the kids. that helps as well.

Good Luck.

ETA: We have a air purifier in the kids room. It was $450, but totally worth it .. it cleans and purifies the air. I think it helps. as my kids do not seem to get the same "viruses"

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answers from Boca Raton on

The things that have helped us over the last few years. . . very little wheat or dairy in our diet. Cut out sugar, especially when something is going around. Eat out as little as possible (prepare our own food at home). Vitamin D, EFAs (essential fatty acids), good B complex. When anything gets started I love oil of oregano capsules, as well as Echinacea Supreme by Gaia. We have had some success with Virastop if we start it early enough. We also all get exercise on a regular basis.

I have spent years, now, working with various alternative health care practitioners. I think it's a good idea - before starting any supplements - to seek out professional advice first. There are genetic differences (MTHFR mutation is one that comes to mind), medication interactions, etc., to be aware of with certain supplements. I also like to get multiple opinions.

We used to get everything that came down the pike and now we rarely get a full-blown illness (knock on wood). When we do get sick it doesn't seem to last as long. I'm not sure if it's our diet, exercise, the supps, or a combination of all of the above.

Good luck - I know your frustration!

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answers from St. Louis on

I am thankful for my healthy family. So far this winter we have had an ear infection, sinus infection and the norovirus. We play outside as much as possible, I wipe down door knobs with Clorox wipes and we get lots of sleep. My kids actually go to bed earlier on the weekends than during the week. We eat lots of dairy (cheese, milk and yogurt) and outside of that we do not have any special diet (as you can tell from my previous posts lots of take out up until a few weeks ago). I'm sorry your family it is all the time have you discussed a weakened immune system with you doc?

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answers from Miami on

I'm so sorry. Hopefully spring will be here soon and things will get better.

Are you changing out the tooth brushes? Sometimes this can keep making sickness keep coming around. Washing towels a lot can help too. If each person has their designated hand towel, that's even better.

Do you all wear face masks (like the rest of the Japanese?) Make sure you change them often. If you don't, you just breathe in more of your own germs.

Get well soon!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I feel ya momma. At least one of us in our four person family has been sick since the beginning of December. Just when we think we are all better, someone gets sick (me today with Sinus infection), hubby two weeks ago sinus, son three weeks ago ear infection, etc etc etc. I'm tired of copays and medications and dr visits! We air out our house as often as we can, Lysol, clean, disinfect, wash our hands, etc, too. Our kids ARE in school but the things we're sick with haven't really been things that are CAUGHT in school (ear infections, tube surgery, sinus, morning sickness for me). I'm so over this winter even though where we live it wasn't even that bad. I just want nicer, warmer weather and a healthier family. Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful we have health insurance that we can afford, and access to same day appointments, and medications, etc. But I'm just done being sick!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you haven't toddler in your house, or a two year old, illness is normal, if you ask me.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter was slightly immune compromised. They told us at Children's hospital that unless you wash your hands really well after wiping down a desk, shopping cart,etc. you are actually transferring germs that were once stuck on the surface to your hands.

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answers from Atlanta on

We got a nutribullet and we LOVE it! It works great and makes it easy to get more fruits and veggies in our system. Everything we put in our mouths is either feeding disease or fighting's that simple. We put only organic produce in, we use big tubs of mixed greens with kale, tat soi, arugula, and many others and the kids don't even know they r eating it. I do use oj to sweeten it up with other frozen fruits and flax seeds or chia seeds for omega 3's. The better u eat, the less ur body has to work breaking down yucky pesticides and processed foods, the easier it is to fight illness. Good luck!

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answers from New York on

I air out the house at least once a week. Bulk up on vitamin C and D. Eat more veggies and fruit and take a cod liver oil tablet daily. Seems to do the trick. I'm certain it will work for you too along with washing hands and wiping things down.

We only use antibacterial gel when we actually have a cold. You sneeze or blow your nose you use the gel, you cough, you use the gel. Seems to cut way down on the sick time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Start using a juicer and have fresh veg and fruit juice everyday. You'll be much healthier and it's a natural daily vitamin. This has been our healthiest year. I have only had one tiny 2-day cold since last winter. The kids have only had one cold as well this school year. Guess when we got that cold? When we slowed down our juicing habit! I got a UTI and a cold at the exact time we stopped daily juicing.

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answers from Atlanta on

You REALLY should think about vitamins and supplements. The best thing is Echinacea, but your bodies can build up an immunity to that. So, you should alternate it. (You can take it for a few days, then skip a day or two; or take it for a week then off for a few days/week.) Another thing that will help is Vitamin C, D and Omega 3s. (Sundown has an Omega3/D3 gummie supplement that I really like.) Once you start feeling the crud in your throat, you can take Zinc. But, you should only take that after you eat because it can make you feel very queasy.
The last two years we haven't had very cold winters in the south. This causes the flowers to bloom fairly constantly and the pollen is horrible. I have seen a lot of people mistake colds for sinus issues. If you think you might have sinus issues, you can take a generic claritin or something daily. That helps me a lot and I don't get the "sore throats", which, in my case, is sinus drainage.
Vitamins can be expensive, but you should watch for sales and clip your coupons. Kroger does a BOGO every so often, and each bottle rings up at the sale price, so you don't necessarily have to buy two. And, then Kroger and Publix double their coupons up to $.50, I think.
Also, check your local GNC for supplements for your little ones. If they are older than 2, than you can give them a liquid Echinacea that they sell. My 3 year old takes it. You can squirt some in their morning juice. Mine just takes it orally (as long as he has his drink in his hand to chase it!). LOL
This will be especially helpful after they start school and are around that multitude of germs.
God bless you and your family!

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answers from Washington DC on

We joke that my SS is allergic to February, but if you look at his routine and health, that's not really far off. Things that factor for him:

1. Poor diet. One winter he was on his own and far from home and ate too many carbs and too little fresh food. Even vitamin supplements didn't fill the gap. He does now take a multivitamin and eats better and is less sick. He was still sick this year, but not nearly so bad.

2. Flu shot. I don't always get one, but with SS's history, we encourage him to do so.

3. Getting run down in general. SS would start off the school year at a furious pace and by Christmas his body was rebelling. He needed to say no to a few activities so he wasn't up til 1AM doing HW. Sleep is so important. If you have interruptions to your sleep habits, regroup and get some rest.

4. Other factors, like indoor allergies. We keep the house closed to keep the heat in, but we also keep rolling around in the same germs and allergens all winter. Occasionally try cracking a window and/or getting out to the park where you can breath in new air. Any day the weather is in the high 40s or low 50s, I try to remember to crack a window for a little while. If your family is sensitive to dust, then make sure your ducts are clean.

I also think there may be some validity to allowing them to get minor germs so that when they get the bigger germs, their systems are ready for them. The reason kids get so sick in school at first (and after long breaks) is that the other kids bring in new and more interesting germs to share and those whose immune systems haven't seen those germs before get sick. Same with daycare. Same with a new office. It'll even out. Now, I'm not saying I encourage my DD to eat dirt and never wash her hands, but I also try not to slather her in hand sanitizer, either. We wash hands after blowing noses, cough into our elbows, and make sure that hands are clean before we eat. Good point someone else had about toothbrushes, too.

1 mom found this helpful
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