The Signs of Fall: Back to School, Foliage, Pumpkin Spice, and…GERMS!

The signs of fall are slowly starting to make their presence known; even here in the Washington DC area. It might be hard to spot them, with the day-to-day change of weather we’re having this year – 85 degrees and muggy one day, and 65 degrees, windy and rainy the next…still muggy though. But, other than that, the signs are all around us…and I hate it!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fall, but in true curmudgeon-fashion, still find something to complain about, and fall is no exception. So, what exactly is it I dislike about fall? How about almost everything!

But Mike, what about the leafs; the beautiful leafs changing color.
Great! The only feelings I get from watching the leafs change color is indifference and annoyance. Let me know how beautiful you think those leafs are when you’re pulling them out of your backed up gutters…then, clean mine out while you’re at it.

But Mike – Pumpkin Spice…EVERYTHING!
To that I will say…I hate you. And I hope you get trampled by a stampede of women in yoga pant and ugg boots.

Uuuhhh, ok. Well, at least your kids are back in school. Nothing to complain about there…right??
You must be new here, because….WRONG!

I can always find something to complain about. Luckily, when it comes to kids, you don’t have to look far – especially this time of year.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it…well, at least once, and that’s all I should have to! I hate repeating myself. But, this time I will, because it needs repeating…kids are walking, talking, nose-picking, thumb-sucking, snot-wearing, disgusting GERM FACTORIES!! My two kids seem to be especially good at being gross. I feel like I need walk around in one of those hazmat suits, just to interact with them.

And when they’re at school/daycare all day, mingling and interacting with other gross kids (clearly plotting how to ruin parents lives); it’s just a matter of time before they mix their germs with the other kid’s germs, and before you know it…BANG…full on bubonic plague! Or, maybe just the flu, but I don’t have to tell you how bad any sickness feels when you’re a parent…but I will if you want me too.

Parents – sickness is inevitable. But, here’s a few handy-dandy tips from your old pal, the Papa, on how best to avoid, or at least not spread along, the germs our gross offspring bring home from school.

#1 – Keep those kids at home…I don’t care how annoying they are.

Look, I get it…you just got rid of these little heathens just barely a month ago, and now they’re puking up their guts, and you just know they’re going to be home with you; all up in your face. But, what’s all this?!? The next morning they’re feeling all better. I mean, it must be a miracle! And not even 12 hours after doing their best impersonation of that one scene from Family Guy…you know the scene I’m talking about…

…yeah, that one.

And like every parent, you think, “I could totally send them to school. No one will know. Besides, they’re fine.” But, don’t do it! No matter how tempting it is to be rid of them; do NOT, send them to school. We parents can be our own worst enemies some times.

#2 – My kid’s nose has turned into a snot-faucet. Is it allergies or a cold?

As much as we parents claim we’re experts on everything, and can tell anything and everything about our kids by just the slightest motion they make…we’re not. Our kids are just as unique and strange (really strange if you meet my kids) as someone we’ve never met before. Do yourself a favor, and follow the age-old parenting wisdom that says, Google that stuff, man!

Seriously – educate yourself on what the symptoms of sickness from allergies and cold related, look like. Don’t just rely on, “Oh, I know my kid”. Decoding these symptoms can be tricky; why not get all the help you can? Check out this handy article on this very topic.

#3 – As much fun as ODing your kid on medicine may sound…don’t do it.

Did you know 8 out of 10 parents give their kids the wrong dosage of liquid medicine at some point? I can totally see this happening. Especially if your kids don’t get sick often. Or let’s say your kid isn’t the prototypical kids as laid out by the current dosage charts…you know, like almost every kid?!?

Educate yourself on the latest dosage charts, as well as the drug facts for the medicine your giving your kids. Oh, and when giving your children any type of liquid medication – use the administering device given to you by your pharmacy…not a kitchen teaspoon. I mean…

#4 – Getting your kids to take their vitamins: The Daily Struggle and The Payoff

I try and not be too hard on my kids when they whine about taking medicine because, let’s be honest, I whine too when I have to swallow that disgusting cough medicine. But, the whining when it’s time to take their vitamins?!?! UGH! You’d think I was trying to make them swallow cyanide or something.

I’ve tried everything with my 6yo, but he still fights me on taking vitamins. I’ve bought gummies, liquid that smells like candy, told him vitamins will keep him healthy…nothing stops the whining. To make matters worse, he’s become the worlds pickiest eater, so I know he isn’t getting all the nutrients he needs on a daily basis. Check out this awesome guide on vitamins and minerals supplements from my friends over at KnowYourOTCs.

#5 – Parenting is all about playing Prevent Defense

And finally, prevention is the best medicine! This insight from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a motivating reason to make sure your kids are washing their hands regularly: “People, and kids in particular, touch their eyes, nose, and mouth frequently, transmitting the germs on their hands into their bodies. Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best defenses against infections. It reduces the risk of respiratory infection by approximately 24 percent and gastrointestinal infections (e.g., diarrhea) by more than 30 percent.”

Yes, kids are gross, and disgusting, and loud, and annoying…but, as I point out every time I get all grumpy about my jerk kids; they’re my jerks, and I love them. I love my health even more, but still.

I wish you all good luck as we enter the flu and cold season. Find additional helpful tips from on all types of topics, like how to safely treat a fever, and being confident you are safely dosing your child.

Here’s hoping I see you all on the other side.

I’m a blogging ambassador for the CHPA Educational Foundation’s KnowYourOTCs program but guess what: all opinions are mine!


One thought on “The Signs of Fall: Back to School, Foliage, Pumpkin Spice, and…GERMS!

  • September 28, 2018 at 2:11 am

    And what about headlice?in our school there seems to be a constant outbreak


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