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Moms Talk Q&A: Jump Right In With Your Thoughts

Today's issue: How do you deal with flu season?

Moms Talk is a new weekly feature on Sherman Oaks Patch, in which local parents are invited to share opinions and advice on parenting issues.

Each week our Moms Council members will discuss a different issue. Join the conversation by weighing in on a topic or asking questions.  

 This week's Mom Council members include:

Linda Arbiter:  A licensed family therapist in Sherman Oaks, Linda is also the mother of three children. Linda's specialities include parenting issues, adolescent development, and anxiety issues involving children.

Michele Dahl: Michele is a freelance writer and mom to 3-year-old firecracker, Shelby, and 1-year-old sweetheart, Cash.  In between working  three jobs—not including her unpaid gig as mommy—she is a contributing writer and product reviewer for www.hollywoodmomblog.com.  

Randi Green: Randi is raising three children, ages 18, 15 and 10. She is a personal trainer, working with children as well as adults. Randi says: "I’ve dealt with the terrible 2’s, the trying tweens and the terrific/horrific teen years, and have firm opinions on it all!"

This week the conversation focuses on dealing with the flu. Linda Arbiter asks the following question and offers her view .

It’s flu season again. Schools are reporting increased absences among our children due to “flu like symptoms.”  Kids get sick, infect other kids, siblings get sick and then we, the parents, get sick.  It’s a nasty cycle. Can any of this be prevented?  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, “keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.”

 Which is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.

 When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound

When my kids were younger, I would greet them at the front door after a long day at school, usher them all into the closest bathroom, help them lather their hands with soap and then sing “Happy Birthday to You.” They would laugh hysterically but they would keep the soap on their hands until the song repeated twice!  Clean hands meant fewer germs brought into our home from school and fewer missed days from school.  They are now 29, 26 and 21, and they still chuckle when they remember how “crazy” mom would make them wash their hands and sing Happy Birthday everyday after school!

Susan G February 25, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Ms Arbiter - I think it's great that a therapist is participating in this community newsletter. How might therapy work to treat an adolescent with anxiety and/or addiction problems?
Laura Cohen February 25, 2011 at 02:56 AM
"Singing Happy Birthday" is so much better than counting to 2o. If you can make your child laugh, it's a perfect NATURAL reinforcement. Great suggestion! One issue, children/teens face is with sharing brushes. It's hard to say "NO" to a friend. Saying "YES" may mean being gifted with LICE. So even if the brushes stay at home to avoid contact at school, what happens when a friend is over and asks to use it?
Michele Dahl February 25, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Haha, my daughter's been singing, "the weiners on the bus.." lately. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has to listen to the strange songs of a preschooler!
Cathy Flynn February 25, 2011 at 06:38 AM
I usually stock up on hairbrushes and toothbrushes at the 99 Cents Only store, so if sleepover friends don't't bring theirs, I have extras. The kids are always amazed that they actually get to keep them. I insist. It's so much cheaper & less stressful than lice and the flu.
Jenny Kane March 13, 2011 at 12:40 AM
I don't have children, but I am a Godmother and an Aunt and about to be a Godmother again. It's always good to have information sites such as this. Thanks for the good advice ladies. :-)

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