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4 Essential Ways to Help Protect Your Children From Pneumonia

4 Essential Ways to Help Protect Your Children From Pneumonia

Fall and winter bring chilling temperatures, less sun, and more rain. You’ve probably heard that colds aren’t caused by rain or cold weather. But believing this common myth may be better for you – and this becomes critical if you have children.

Don’t worry, here are a few effective ways you can help protect your children from pneumonia during the cold seasons.

Is Catching a Cold When it’s Cold Really Just a Myth?

Is it just a popular myth that you’re more likely to catch a cold when exposed to cold temperatures? Maybe not — doctors found evidence that cold viruses infect you easier during the colder seasons. They found preliminary evidence that exposure to cold temperatures suppresses your immune system. They also found that the rhinovirus (major cold-causing virus) can multiply easier in your body when your body temperature is lower (it’s most optimal for the virus when your body is at 91 degrees Fahrenheit).

They ran studies on mice cells and found that when the airways are exposed to cold air, the immune cells are less able to send signals between themselves to coordinate blocking the rhinovirus from replicating itself.

Don’t let your guard down because you’ve heard the myth is wrong. In fact, you should protect your children and yourself even more, when it’s cold out because your immune system has a harder time fighting cold-causing viruses.

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Why Cold Prevention is More Important for Children

Simple colds and flus can turn into pneumonia – and children are more susceptible to developing pneumonia from these and other respiratory infections. According to the American Lung Association, children are generally at high risk for pneumonia. Pneumonia is the leading cause of hospitalization among U.S. children. Worse, pneumonia is the cause of 15 percent of worldwide deaths of children below 5.

Your children most likely won’t die from contracting a cold this winter, but being aware and proactive in protecting your children from colds and flus during the cold seasons helps lower any risk.

Here are four things you should be doing:

1. Give Your Children Daily Vitamin C Supplements

What’s a famous go-to when you have a cold? Orange juice – because of its vitamin C content. Scientists have now found proof justifying this traditional remedy. Researchers found that vitamin C boosts your immune cell count and your immune cells’ ability to capture invading viruses. It also boosts production of virus-fighting molecules (called interferons) made by your immune system. Vitamin C has also been found to directly lower virus replication. When researchers gave animals vitamin C, it boosted their defenses against both viruses and bacteria, which can both cause pneumonia. They also found that your body uses up vitamin C when fighting off pneumonia – so at the very least, keeping your vitamin C stores up helps your immune system fend off pneumonia-causing germs.

How do these findings play out in the real world? Natural News interviewed Dr. Andrew Saul, Ph.D. who advocates for finding natural cures before seeing your doctor. He testifies that he was able to cure his pneumonia within three hours of a non-stop vitamin C therapy. But, his testimony is a bit biased since there’s some personal gain (in terms of his self-cure books) involved.

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Natural News also tells of another patient using the same non-stop vitamin C therapy. The New Zealand native was near death, being attacked by both leukemia and pneumonia. The therapy reversed both diseases and he eventually walked out of the hospital on his own!

But both “miracle cures” involved non-stop intravenous vitamin C of very high doses. Unless you’re a trained healthcare professional, it’s not a remedy you can easily resort to whenever you get the sniffles. It also may be dangerous, and you should ask your doctor before ever trying it.

Instead, bulletproof your children’s and your immunity by taking vitamin C supplements with them every day. It’s better to prevent colds and flus from taking hold than resort to overboard remedies when you’re already sick in bed. (As a bonus, taking vitamin C supplements before or after your daily workout helps prevents oxidative damage and stress caused by free radicals created when you exercise!) All you need to do is make sure your children pop a vitamin C pill before you send them off to school and you can rest assured they’re safer from colds and flus.

If your children find it hard to swallow pills, you can give them a glass of vitamin C-packed lemon water with their everyday breakfast instead.

2. Install a Chimney

If you cook your children’s meals on a wooden stove, you could be increasing their risk for pneumonia. But if you invest in a chimney for your stove, you’ll help lower their risk. Researchers found that households with chimneys installed to their wooden stoves have a 30 percent lessened risk of severe pneumonia in toddlers. The chimneys also lowered carbon monoxide exposure (which can harm your children’s nervous systems) by 50 percent.

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Why? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), open fires for cooking are a major cause of children’s pneumonia. Experts found that smoke exposure can aggravate the condition of children with mild pneumonia. In fact, in the study, the smoke exposure made it more likely that medical intervention would fail, which led to 35 percent of the infected children dying. But using a chimney helps keep indoor pollution from cooking away from your children’s lungs.

Robert Hanflig, the owner of Pellet Stove Parts, advises that choosing the right chimney is vital for keeping smoke out of your home’s air. A chimney’s draft (vacuum function) is drastically lessened if it’s not 2 feet taller than any raised part of your roof that’s 10 feet from the chimney. If you have a flat roof, the chimney must be at least 3 feet above it.

3. Get Your Children Vaccinated

Vaccination is unanimously recognized as the most effective way to prevent childhood pneumonia. The NIH reports that vaccination prevents 1,075,000 child deaths by pneumonia annually. They advise vaccination for Hib and pneumococcus in children, as these are the two leading causes of children’s pneumonia deaths.

But vaccines can have staggering side effects, which include thousands of medically recorded cases of seizures and encephalitis. Although it’s unlikely that your children will experience any side effects, the risk is still there. Instead, you can choose to boost your children’s cold and flu defenses with vitamin C and other immunity-boosting supplements, like antioxidant-rich green tea and coffee bean extracts.

4. Give Your Children Hand Sanitizers

Touching infected surfaces then touching your nose, eyes, or mouth later is one of the most common ways cold-causing germs enter your body. Why? People wipe their noses with their hands all the time then touch doorknobs, desks, and other common fixtures. Cold-causing viruses usually survive for 24 hours outside of a host, but depending on the surface, some viruses can survive for a whole week! If your children touch an infected surface, these germs are now on their hands and only a nose-scratching or an eye-rubbing moment away from entering their bodies.

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Hand sanitizers can be expensive, but teaching your children to use them often can help prevent these cold- and flu-causing pathogens from entering their bodies. Researchers studied the hands of participants after they used a hand sanitizer and found greatly lowered numbers of infectious viruses on their skin. They concluded that using hand sanitizers after your hands come into contact with public objects can help protect you from exposure to these germs, but since it doesn’t completely disinfect your hands of cold-causing viruses, it’s not foolproof.

The cold seasons bring risk to your children of developing pneumonia. While no method can assure your children 100 percent protection, implementing these four ways effectively lowers their risk significantly. According to Justin Eichler, lead editor of Posta news, children of certain ethnicities are more susceptible to dying from pneumonia (like Maori and Pacific Islanders whose risk are about six times higher). If your children are of these higher-risk ethnicities, you should strongly consider getting them vaccinated, which offers the most protection from pneumonia.

Featured photo credit: langll via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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