Children and Germs

Gone are the lazy days of summer of sleeping in, park play-dates, and leisurely lunches. School buses, pencils, books, lunchboxes, and GERMS have replaced them!

When you have Myositis, or other Autoimmune Diseases, you could be more susceptible to those pesky little viruses and bacteria that hitch a ride home on your child. Unfortunately, as many of us are immunosuppressed, a mild infection for others can be a big deal to us, both in fighting the infection and in the repercussions that can occur when our immune systems turn on. This Tip Tuesday will share a few strategies for keeping those germs away.

With #myositis you may be more susceptible to the #viruses and #bacteria that come home with your child. See some prevention tips. Click to Tweet

Keep your and your family’s bodies as healthy as possible:

  • Consult your doctor about seasonal vaccinations. Some are not allowed when immunosuppressed, and others are highly recommended. Only your doctor can tell you which ones are appropriate.
  • Consider vaccinating your children (and ask your spouse too if possible as well!) against seasonal illnesses. Your best defense against the germs they encounter is helping your family members fight them effectively.
  • Consult with your doctors about your ability to take over the counter vitamins such as Vitamin C, Airborne, etc. that are believed to help fight germs.
  • Feed your family nourishing foods packed with vitamins and minerals, which add sustenance and natural protection against germs. The healthier your children are, the less likely they will be to infect you.
  • Research natural remedies (i.e. diffusing essential oils or taking colloidal silver) which some people believe fight germs without activating the immune system, but consult a natural health practitioner and your doctors before starting any new regimen.
  • Reduce stress (meditate, do yoga, exercise, draw, write, paint, etc.) within your limits because stress can leave you more vulnerable to infection.

Keeping family members from spreading germs to you takes work:

  • Frequent hand washing is a must. Soap and warm water are most effective, but it is a great idea to carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for when kids first get into the car after school. If kids ride the bus it might be a good idea to have them use sanitizer before entering the house or touching you.
  • Wear gloves to touch any possibly contaminated surfaces and wear face masks if any family members show symptoms of viruses or infections.

Keeping your house clean is paramount:

  • Some people like to use spray disinfectant and bleach wipes (for example, Lysol and Clorox Wipes) to keep surfaces germ-free. If you believe in their effectiveness, consider wiping down school items upon your children’s arrival home as well as home surfaces.
  • You may consider leaving shoes at the door so that the ugly buggies aren’t getting tracked through your house.
  • Use sanitary laundry and dishwashing practices to kill any errant germs that find their way into your home.
  • Ensure that your home’s air filters are clean so that they can function most effectively.

When family members are sick:

  • Increase your awareness of the above and ask your spouse, partner, or caregiver to assist you in limiting your exposure.
  • Consider sleeping separately as soon as anyone in the house shows symptoms.

If you show symptoms of illness please make sure to contact your doctor immediately. The best way to prevent illness when immunosuppressed is to meet it head-on with your doctor’s support.

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Emily A. Filmore is an author, speaker, and is one of the founding board members of Myositis Support and Understanding Association. She wrote "The Marvelous Transformation: Living Well with Autoimmune Disease" about her experiences with dermatomyositis and other chronic illness (Central Recovery Press 2015), the "With My Child" series of children's books about family bonding (, is the co-author of "Conversations with God for Parents" with Neale Donald Walsch and Laurie Lankins Farley. (Rainbow Ridge, 2015), and co-author of “Parenting through Divinity” with Laurie Lankins Farley (due for release in 2018 through the Waterside imprint).

View more information: Emily Filmore


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