Colds and flu are caused by different viruses, have
different symptoms, and can have greatly different
effects on your health. Read more at Centers
for Disease Control
The common cold
is caused by one of more than
200 viruses and is called an upper respiratory
infection because it involves the nose, throat, and
surrounding air passages.
Symptoms may include watery eyes, runny nose, sore
throat, and cough. Most colds do not include fever,
chills or substantial lung involvement. Read
more at mayoclinic.com
is caused by the influenza virus and
infects the entire respiratory tract — nose,
throat, and lungs. It can include fever, head and
muscle aches, exhaustion, and a cough that can
A cold can last two or three weeks; most people are
better within seven to ten days. On the other hand,
without proper care or attention, flu can lead to
severe illness and complications which can cause
permanent health damage. Read more at mayoclinic.com
Prevention and care of both a cold or the flu is
similar, except that you need to be more careful and
aware of complications with the flu.
Use any medication with caution. Over-the-counter
drugs, and even some natural remedies can cause
• Use single-symptom drugs such as
cough suppressants, pain relievers, or
antihistamines, rather than multisymptom formulas or
• Gargle at the first sign of a
scratchy throat with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. of salt or 1
tablespoon of vinegar dissolved in 8 oz. warm water
and repeat several times a day.
• Don't insist that your doctor
prescribe antibiotics for a cold or flu; they cannot
• Don't give aspirin in any form to
children 19 and under due to the risk of contracting
Reye's Syndrome if a fever is present.
• Administer any medicine
carefully, following directions as to amount (by age
and weight) and frequency. Just one overdose can
cause damage. Repeated ibuprofen challenges the
kidneys and acetaminophen the liver. Do not
substitute concentrated infant drops for children's
liquid; this can be fatal!
• Use cough syrup sparingly, as
coughing is one of the ways the body gets rid of
• Menthol-based lozenges will help
numb the throat and open up nasal passages. Zinc
lozenges may also be helpful.
To Blow Your Nose,
Sneeze, and Cough
How you blow your nose, sneeze, or cough can affect
your own health as well as others.
• Be prepared with lots of sturdy
tissues to avoid getting mucus on your hands. Use
tissues once, then throw them away so germs can't
multiply in them.
• Don't blow your nose too hard or
squeeze it while blowing; blocked pressure can force
infectious drainage into your ears and sinuses.
Instead, press one finger over one nostril and blow
gently through the open nostril; repeat on the
• When coughing or sneezing, turn
away from other people. If you don't have a tissue,
cough or sneeze into your arm or elbow rather than
your bare hands.
• Don't hold back a sneeze or it
can spray germs into your sinuses and ears.
• Always wash your hands after
blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing!
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In This Issue
Learning How To Stay Well
During Cold and Flu Season
5 Ways To Avoid Infection
(Includes Links to Free Unit Studies and E-books)
9 Ways To Enhance Your Immune System
8 Ways To Continue Learning while Sick
• Colds vs. Flu
• Healthy Ways To Blow Your Nose, Sneeze, and Cough
• Living Books: Charlotte Mason Curriculum
• The Teaching Home Magazine: Back Issues
• Constant Contact: E-mail Newsletter Service
While there's no cure for the common cold or the flu, some simple guidelines can help your family be as healthy as possible this winter and also prevent more serious diseases.
As home educators, we can use this teaching opportunity for our immediate health and welfare, as well as general health education.
Of course, prevention is the best policy, so you will want to teach your children how to avoid exposure to germs and maintain a strong immune system.
Then there are many things that you can teach your family to do to make them more comfortable while they are sick and help them get well sooner.
Disclaimer: The information in this newsletter is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment, but we do hope it will help your family enjoy better health this winter!
May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory.
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.
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To Avoid Infection
1. Teach Your Children about Germs
Teach about germs and how they are transferred by air, fluids, and blood. Use a textbook, an encyclopedia, or the Internet.
Free Online Unit Studies|
• Teaching Children About Germs
• Bacteria 101: Protect yourself from MRSA, Salmonella, E.coli, flesh eating disease, and more.
• Cover Your Cough: How to Stop the Spread of Colds and Flu
Free PDF E-Books
From Infectious Disease Workshop: teaching material, lesson plans, and learning activities.
Unit 1: Infectious Diseases
These all teach (at the appropriate age levels) about disease-causing microbes, what you need to know about diseases, infections, viruses and bacteria.
Please note: We do not recommend using glitter in any of the learning exercises to show how easily germs spread – or your home will "glitter" for years to come!
• Instructor's Background Text (144 pages)
• Instructional activities for ages 2-6 (30 pages)
• Instructional activities for ages 6-9 (29 pages)
• Instructional activities for ages 9-12 (36 pages)
• Instructional activities for teens (23 pages)
Unit 2: Disease Prevention
Learn how handwashing and other precautions can prevent infectious diseases. Plus when and how to clean up blood spills and body fluids. Also includes handwashing songs for younger ages and healthy habits and the immune system for older ages.
• Instructional activities for ages 2-6 (20 pages)
• Instructional activities for ages 6-9 (18 pages)
• Instructional activities for ages 9-12 (38 pages)
• Instructional activities for teens (21 pages)
More Resources for Adults
You may not want to expose your children to some of the content in these or other series, but want to be aware of the issues yourself.
• Sports and Infectious Diseases Instructor's Background Text (12 pages)
• Bioterrorism and Infectious Diseases, Part 1 Instructor's Background Text (42 pages); Part 2 (29 pages)
Includes preparedness and disaster supplies kit.
2. Sharing Infectious Agents
Children are adept at
picking up and spreading germs. Teach them how to
avoid this at all times, but especially when someone
in your home is ill or you are out in public where
many unknown and very harmful diseases abound.
• Cover skin abrasions and cuts.
• Don't touch the face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.
• When ill, it is courteous to
avoid contact with others so that you don't spread
your cold or flu, even if it means missing something
you really want to do.
Also, when you are ill and
your immune system is weakened, it is easier for you
to pick up another, and perhaps worse, illness if
you are exposed to crowds and others who are sick.
3. Establish Hand Washing Rules and Habits
The simplest and most
effective thing that you can do to keep from getting
sick yourself, or spreading your sickness to others,
is to wash your hands well and often.
How To Wash
• Wet hands with warm water and
• When you don't have access to
soap and water, use non-alcohol baby wipes. Use of
antibacterial soap can promote growth of more
virulent germs and viruses.
• Teach your children to scrub all
parts of their hands for 20 seconds. Teach them a handwashing
song that lasts that long to sing.
• Dry hands well. In a public
restroom, turn off tap with a paper towel or back of
wrist, and open door with a paper towel or a corner
When To Wash
• Wash hands immediately upon
returning home after being out in public or playing
• Wash hands before preparing food,
eating, or handling clean dishes.
• Wash after using the toilet,
changing diapers, sneezing, coughing, blowing nose,
How to cough, sneeze, and wash hands.
• Handwashing poster.
For Older Students
• Chemistry: How
soap works video and text.
• History: Why handwashing is important.
4. General Hygiene
It is important to practice
good hygiene principles and routines at all times,
as you or others may be contagious a day before
symptoms of illness are evident.
Explain to your children
that, although they may not see germs, they are
present and can make them sick. Connect hygiene to
illness by reminding them of the last time they were
ill. The memory may be powerful enough to convince
them of the importance of hygiene.
• Don't share: drinking and eating
utensils, food that has been handled or partially
eaten by others, or toothbrushes.
• When someone in your family is
sick, don't share books, games, and toys.
• Brush teeth and tongue, and rinse
your toothbrush in mouthwash or vinegar between
brushings to kill bacteria.
• Close toilet lid before flushing
so germs cannot spray toothbrushes or other
• Put dirty clothing or linens into
the laundry right away and wash them with regular
5. Clean Your Home
Clean your home regularly, and more when colds and
flu are going around.
• Disinfect carefully with a
solution of bleach
and water or use baking soda
to clean surfaces.
• Also reduce exposure to dust,
smoke, and other chemical irritants (such as
cleaning compounds) in your home.
• Open windows and bring fresh air
into your home occasionally, even in winter.
To Enhance Your Immune System
Your own body's immune system is the best way to
both stay well and get well!
You are what you eat, and a good, well-balanced diet
is essential to building a healthy immune system and
to providing sources of energy and nutrition for
optimal growth and development.
• Choose a variety of whole, fresh
or frozen fruits and vegetables. Five or more
servings a day are recommended. Try to include an
apple each day.
• Eat whole grains.
• As much as your budget allows,
buy natural, organic food, such as meat, eggs, and
• Good fats are also necessary.
(e.g., cold-pressed, organic canola or olive oil,
walnuts, peanuts, and natural peanut butter.)
Refrigerate all these items; they oxidize at room
• Avoid bad fats, such as
hydrogenated oils, white
flour, and sugar, which can depress the immune system.
When You Are Sick
• Eat more foods high in vitamins,
like citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, and carrots.
• Eat chicken soup, which contains
an amino acid that thins mucus and breaks up
congestion. Also, the steam from the soup (or
from hot tea) helps open up air passages.
• Take good-quality vitamins every
day to ensure that you are getting adequate amounts
of vitamins and minerals.
• Consider taking one 500 mg capsule
of vitamin C twice or more a day when you are sick.
Rarely, too much can cause diarrhea and gastric
discomfort. If you experience these, simply reduce
amount and/or take with meals.
• Six to eight 8-ounce glasses per
day are recommended for the average person (or
one-half ounce per pound of body weight).
• Drinking hot beverages helps open
up nasal passages and reduces congestion. Add
honey to herbal tea, plain hot water, or diluted
Adequate rest is essential for our bodies to repair
our immune systems, as well as to keep our bodies
• Most adults require 7-8 hours of
sleep every night; teens 9-11, and children 10-12.
When You Are Sick
• Extra sleep or rest is an
• Put an extra pillow under your
head to help congested sinus or nasal passages drain.
Taking a Daily Constitutional
A daily walk taken for the benefit of one's
constitution (health) used to be called a daily
A daily walk with your family can
provide many needed health benefits such as the
Regular exercise improves circulation, combats many
health problems by strengthening the immune system,
and can reduce the occurrence of colds and flu.
• Wear a hat and scarf to stay
warm when outside. Getting chilled compromises your
• If you cannot walk outdoors,
exercise on a mini-trampoline
either indoors or outside on your porch.
Sunshine is one of nature's healing agents,
providing Vitamin D and killing germs.
7. Fresh Air
Clean, oxygen-rich air enhances your ability to
• Breathing deeply of fresh,
outdoor air comes naturally when walking.
exercises indoors will also send more oxygen to
your cells and provide many health benefits.
A daily walk also provides:
• A break from studies or work and a
• Stress reduction.
• An opportunity to observe nature.
• An opportunity to talk with your
children in a more relaxed atmosphere.
8. Avoid Stress
Stress and worry affect the chemistry and function
of every body system, and can weaken your immune
Meeting the basic needs of your family can make the
difference between a stressful and a pleasant home
atmosphere. (We can all attest to that!)
• Maintain a neat and clean
environment by picking up clutter and keeping up
with laundry and dishes. Remember that God gave
mothers more than two arms, but some of them are
attached to your children! Teach
and check chore assignments.
• Fix simple, healthy meals and
serve at regular times before everyone is starving.
• Schedule realistically by
limiting activities outside your home, allowing
extra time between activities, planning ahead, and
being prepared the night before.
9. A Calm and Happy Attitude
The opposite of stress is a calm and happy
composure, which helps your health as well as being
a great gift to your family.
• Include humor in your outlook,
read a funny book, or watch a funny video when you
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine."
• Trust in the Lord.
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for
(I Peter 5:7)
To Continue Learning while Sick
If teacher and/or students are sick, relax and do some
1. Watch educational videos, or turn any video
learning experience by looking up or talking about
things in the story such as location (geography),
time period (history), subject matter, character
development, and Biblical worldview.
2. Play an educational board game.
3. Read aloud or listen to story tapes.
4. Teach lessons about germs and good health
5. Review flash cards or fact sheets.
6. Catch up on Bible reading.
7. Listen to classical music.
8. Tell your children stories about your childhood.
These and other relaxed activities can provide
unique learning opportunities and reassure you that
your down time is not a total loss educationally.