Health Tips

Read these 62 Health Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Good Handwashing keeps the doctor away

I know it's been said time after time, but washing your hands will keep you out of the doctor's office.

With the kids returning to school and sharing pencils, pens, food, drink, and coughing/sneezing on each other illnesses such as strep throat, pink eye, stomach flu, and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD). Kids missing school can certainly throw a wrench in the day when there are plenty of things to keep stay-at-home-parents busy. Plus, miserable, sick kids don't make the happiest of homes.

The best method I've found is for the kids to wet their hands under warm water and add the soap. Turn off the water because they tend to immediately wash off the soap. Have them scrub their hands (don't forget the thumbs) for a good 20 seconds. We usually sing a song like Happy Birthday or Row, Row, Row Your Boat (twice) or the first verse and chorus of a popular song before turning the water back on and rinsing.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), good handwashing can reduce bacteria and virus that cause illness.

Handwashing should be practiced before and after eating, after using the bathroom, and after sneezing or coughing into your hands. For more information on hand washing or to watch the video, go to

If hand washing is not immediately available, anti-bacterial wipes are a substitute, but hand washing is the better choice.

Can my child drink milk when he has a cold?

The Myth of Eating Dairy With a Cold

Many parents believe that feeding a child milk while they have a cold will increase mucus production and make the cold worse.

While dairy products may coat the back of the throat, they do not increase mucus production, and are therefore fine to consume during a cold.

In fact, dairy can offer a good variety of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, and water. It also gives kids calories and proteins they need to recover. Colds usually make people less able to taste their food/drink and make them feel sick to their stomachs, so people usually eat less when sick. Every calorie during illness is essential, so milk offers good nutritional value per calorie.

One thing to keep in mind, excessive mucous can cause stomach upset and temporary milk (lactose) intolerance. Kids with colds can develop diarrhea from the mucous as well and lactose can make that worse. If that's the case, soy milk is also a good way to obtain calories, nutrients, and electrolytes to aid a person to a good recovery.

Yogurt is a great way to get the gastro-intestinal tract back in gear when sick. Four to eight ounces of yogurt with some fruit makes for a great and yummy snack.

Per the American Academy of Pediatrics and Food and Drug Administration, kids ages 2-8 years should drink about 2 cups of milk a day. That's 16 oz total of dairy a day.

How do I remove a stuck on bandage or band-aid glue?

Stuck on Bandage

To painlessly remove a really stuck on bandage, saturate the glued areas with baby oil. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then the bandage will slide right off. Baby oil also works well to remove any glue residue from the skin.

What do I do when I am feeling depressed?


Let's face it, sometimes life is hard. And no one every said life was fair. The important thing is to remember that this too shall pass. Sometimes we may feel like we can't deal with the many problems of life and may become depressed. Depression is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at some point in time. The important thing is to deal with depression, don't stay in that state. Get counseling if you need it. If the depression lingers, see your doctor. Get help from your friends and family. Find someone to talk to that will put some balance back into your life. Don't isolate yourself or the depression will get deeper. Deal with depression or it will deal with you.

What do I do when I am feeling depressed?

Fight Depression with Exercise

One way to combat depression is to exercise. Yes, exercise, even if you don't feel like it. Make a commitment to yourself to do it. Exercise will help your body to get rid of those negative emotions that are pulling you down. Work off that anger or frustration, it is the same as venting your emotions verbally, except you are releasing the energy from your body physically rather than through your mouth which can have very negative ramifications. Exercise is a far safer method of venting.

How can I make moving my family easier?

A Special Box for Moving

To ease the transition when moving into a new home, allow each family member to pack one "special" box that they can keep with them at all times throughout the move. Allow them to put whatever they want into the box, to help them feel more comfortable. This also works great if you need to spend time in a hotel or with family until you move into your new home.

How do I treat a bee sting?

Bee Sting Remedy

It's summer and that means sunburns and insect bites. So what do you do if your child is stung?

When a child is stung by a bee, scrape away the stinger with a credit card or butter knife,(never squeeze out a stinger, as more venom will be released).

Then, clean the site with soap and water, pat dry, and apply a cool compress. Do not apply ice directly to the site, but wrap in a paper or cloth towel before application.

If the child has no medical contraindications, an antihistamine can be given to reduce the amount of swelling, pain, and itching at the site. Follow the directions on how much to give.

Word of warning: If the child begins to have breathing issues, lip swelling, stratchy throat, or other concerns, please go do the ER or call 911.

Even if a child has not ever had a severe reaction to an insect sting, it does not mean they can't. If there are ANY concerns, please seek medical attention.

How can I make hair washing easier?

Art in the Tub

To help young children to put their heads back in the tub during hair rinsing, try placing pictures or photos on the ceiling. The pictures get them to look up, and you can hold their attention by asking questions about them. Use photos that interest them, and change them whenever their interest level drops.

How can I relieve my child´s pain after an injury?

Mess-Free First Aid

Cut a clean sponge into several smaller pieces (approximately 1" X 2"). Dip the pieces into water before putting each into resealable freezer bags. When an accident occurs, they are ready. Use in the same way as you would use an ice pack. They are perfect size for small hands, and they won't drip.

How can I meet other parents and join support groups?

Parent Places

Check out your town. Usually there are parent groups where you can meet other parents, talk and also develop play groups for your children. They are a great help!

How can I settle my kids into a new house after a move?

Settling Kids After a Move

To make kids feel more at home in a new house, unpack your children's things first. They will feel more comfortable in the new surroundings with their favorite things around them, and will sleep much better in a comfortable room.

How should I deal with the loss of a family pet?

Dealing With Loss

In the loss of a pet, be honest with your children and allow them to express their feelings too. The loss of a family pet is often a child's first experience with death. Discuss the loss with your whole family and give everyone a chance to work through grief in her own style.

What is swimmer´s ear?

Swimmer's Ear

This common ear infection can occur because the outer ear canal has a tiny scratch in it from a fingernail, cotton swab, etc. Frequent swimming can cause a bacterial infection and the ear will become itchy, sore, swollen inside and may leak fluid. Treatments usually include antibiotic ear drops, and no swimming until symptoms disappear.

How can I repel bugs and mosquitoes?

Bug Repellent

A dryer sheet makes a good alternative to bug spray, and it usually smells much better. To keep the bugs away, rub a dryer sheet over your clothes and skin, including your hair. You can also tie a sheet to your belt loop to keep the little pesks away.

How should I brush my child´s teeth?

Brushing Little Teeth

Establish a daily teeth-cleaning routine as soon as your child's first tooth appears. A washcloth can be used to clean the front and back of these first teeth; switch to a toothbrush once molars develop. Don't use toothpaste until your child can spit it all out, usually around age 3. You can start flossing with children once a week around the ages of 3 and 4.

How can I ensure my child gets the full dose of medicine?

Getting All the Medicine Down

After giving your child chewable medicine, have them eat a piece of bread, or something similar. This way, the pieces of medicine that were stuck in their teeth stick to the bread and are swallowed. This ensures that your child gets the full dosage, and saves their teeth.

How can I make bathtime more fun and manageable?

Kid-sized Soap

To make bathtime more fun and manageable for your child, try using trial size bars of soap or the miniature soaps from hotel rooms. Kids enjoy having their own special bar of soap which fits easily into little hands.

When can kids brush their own teeth?

When Can Kids Do the Brushing?

My dentist recommends that a parent do the toothbrushing for kids - at least at night - until they are able to do cursive writing, not printing. This is a sign of developed manual dexterity. Let them practice with the morning brushing until they are older.

What can I use for a child´s cold compress?

Ketchup Compress

The next time you are in a fast-food restaurant, grab a few foil packs of ketchup. Stick them in the freezer, and they will make an ideal cold compress when the need arises.

How can I make nail cutting easier?

Trimming Without the Trauma

To ease struggles during nail trimmings, I use a washable marker to draw a face and hair on each of my child's nails. Then, we pretend to be cutting each "person's" hair. We tell stories about who each finger is, and talk to them as they are getting their hair cut.

What should I keep in a first aid kit?

First Aid kit

Build a First Aid kit that is complete. Here are a few items you might consider:
1.Children's non asprin pain reliever(Tylenol-but make sure you get infant's asprin free)
2.tweezers(for splinters and stings)
3.nasal aspirator but the hospital type with the long piece on the end.
4.antibiotic ointment
6.sunblock(for childrens 6 months and up)
7.thermometer-usually they tell you rectal but I would get the one that is a pacifier or the ones that stick under the arm. They are easier to use.
8.Tylenol infant's cold medicine
9.Oragel for teething
10.antiseptic towelettes for cleaning cuts
And anything else you feel is vital.

How do I make it easier to remove splinters from my child?

Splinter Locator

If you are having trouble finding a sliver, take some iodine and dab it over the general area. The iodine highlights the splinter, which makes it easier to locate and remove.

How do I comb out hair tangles?

Combing Out Tangles

If your child´s hair tends to get tangles and trying to get them straightened out sends you both to tears, try a few things.

First, consider a conditioner after washing the child's hair. There are several child friendly conditioners out there and are in the same sections as the kids' shampoos. Leave in their hair for a good minute before rinsing out. The 2-in-1 shampoos do not have enough conditioner in them to help with easily tangled hair, so a seperate one should help.

Second, get some spray in detangling spritz. It's also located in the same section as the shampoo and conditioner. Suave has a great one that's a few dollars at the most. Spray this on the hair and let it sit for a few minutes before starting to comb.

Third, don't start combing from the roots - this hurts! Instead, grasp a small section of hair and, starting at the ends, use a wide-toothed comb and short downward strokes. When the ends are smoothed out, move up toward the middle of each section. Comb out the hair near the scalp last. And take your time. It's not a race.

Try your best to be patient with yourself and your child. If this process has hurt in the past, give the child time to get used to these new steps. It can help if the child can pick the scent of the conditioner and the detangling spray. They feel more involved and this can help you later when you get to say, "the stuff you picked out helps your hair."

What can I do with old teething rings?

Another Use for Teething Rings

Instead of throwing teething rings away when they are no longer needed, put them in the freezer. You'll have an instant, fun-to-hold ice pack to help soothe bumps and bruises.

How can I relieve teething pain?

Teething Relief

For a cool pain reliever, put a few ounces of juice in a baby bottle, then place it upside down in the freezer, so that the juice rests in the nipple. (Put a napkin under the bottle to absorb drips until it freezes). Once frozen, it is a safe easy form of teething relief.

How do I treat motion sickness?

Motion Sickness

If your child is prone to motion sickness, feed your child light foods, such as crackers and applesauce, before leaving home. Have her sit facing forward and near an open window. Find a rest area and let your child out of the car so she can get fresh air. Sipping ginger ale can also be helpful.

How do I keep my child out of my cat´s litterbox?

Litter Boxes

To keep young fingers out of your cat's litter box, you can either invest in a litter box with a lid, or make a homemade cover. All you need is a cardboard box of a similar size as your litter box. Cut the back off the box, and slide the litter box in. Cut a hole in the box only big enough for your cat to get in. Back the box up against the wall, and your child will no longer be able to access your kitty's "sandbox".

How do I remove lice from hair?

Removing Lice

Unfortunately, dealing with lice is a fairly common childhood occurance. To deal with it and remove it, first, wash the hair with a strong shampoo that will strip the oils from the hair. Then wash with a commercial product designed to remove lice, such as Rid/Nix and leave on ten minutes, combing in and rubbing in the solution. Rinse hair well. Pour vinegar on hair and let this sit for a few minutes. Rinse, comb, and cut strands of hair with nits. Repeat this procedure in ten days. Do not forget to wash everything that may have come in contact with the lice separately in hot water. To prevent reinfestation, be sure to teach your child the correct practices to prevent spreading - such as not sharing brushes, combs, and hats.

What is syrup of ipecac, and why do I need some?

Syrup of Ipecac

Syrup of ipecac is a must-have in your medicine cabinet. It induces vomitting if poison has been swallowed. Do not use it until after you have phoned your poison control center or your physician and have been instructed to use it. Vomitting is not induced after ingesting some poisons.

At what age should I start taking my child to the dentist?

Dental Health

Start scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings for your children when they turn 3. Until then, oral checkups should be covered in visits with your pediatrician.

What is the best way to soothe a child´s cough?

Soothing A Cough

The best treatment for your child is to have him/her drink plenty of fluids to loosen phlegm. Watch for these symptoms and call a Dr. ifyou see them: any cough that lasts more than a few hours, cough associated with fever, difficulty breathing, any cough that lasts more than a week.

How do I know if my child is sick?

Signs of illness

Here is a quick list of some warning signs for childhood illness. When you are concerned, be sure to see your doctor.

2.difficulty breathing
3.screaming loud with knees up to chest
4.swollen glands
5.tugging at ears
6.changes in sleep patterns
7.not eating as usual
8.hard time waking up
9.acting lethargic
10.change in skin tone

How do I deal with empty nest syndrome?

Make the Most of an Empty Nest

To help cope with empty nest syndrome, when you are faced with an empty home after the kids move out, convert the children's bedrooms as soon as it is feasible and affordable into practical and usable space.... this will keep you from wandering into their rooms and getting melancholy over past times. Do not worry about hurting your child's feelings or allowing them space for future visits home. Your child will do just fine on a pull-out couch in the basement or living room, and is not likely to be home every weekend. Your child will have a full life, and so should you. Haven't you always wanted a den, office, exercise room, etc.? Make the most of your situation.

When should my child start using deodorant?

Starting Deodorant

Children should start using deodorant when they begin to develop perspiration odor, which usually happens around the time of puberty (8-13 for girls, 10-15 for boys, on average).

This can be a challenging task since most people don't smell themselves and your child may not be all that jazzed about having to wear deodorant. So, to help lessen the angst (for both of you) of this pre-pubescent monent, have the child pick out which one he/she wants to and will use.

What you would pick, they may hate the smell or it might make them sneeze so have them included in this process of new hygine.

It's a big deal that they are growing up and this will be one of many choices for them. The more they are involved, the more aware they become of their changing bodies.

After they pick something, have them do a test swipe some on their forearm and see if any reaction occurs. Also, you might want to consider trying it out on a weekend instead during the school week in case a reaction does occur, you can give something for it and the kid isn't having to deal with itching and being uncomfortable while trying to pay attention in class.

Good luck and get ready. More changes are a-coming.

How can I keep my child calm during first aid?

Blood Panic

If your child panics at the sight of her own blood, keep a red washcloth handy for nosebleeds and cuts. The color of the washcloth will hide the blood. The less blood your child sees, the calmer she'll be.

How can I relieve the itch from mosquito bites?

Mosquito Relief

To get rid of the itch from mosquito bites and to stop kids from scratching, try applying soap on the area. You (and your kids) should experience instant relief.

What is swimmer´s itch, and how can I avoid it?

Swimmer's Itch

Swimmer's itch is caused by a small parasite that lives in snails. In humans, the parasite digs into the skin and dies, causing an itchy skin reaction. To avoid the itch, don't swim in areas known to have it, shower immediately after swimming, and scrub your skin with a rough towel. If you or your kids get the itch, your doctor can prescribe a cream or may suggest antihistamines to relieve the itch.

What do I need to watch for if my child gets diarrhea?

Diarrhea in Kids

Diarrhea is usually caused by either bacterial or viral infections. It can only be treated with antibiotics if it is caused by bacteria. Dehydration is a common side-effect from diarrhea. Contact your doctor immediately if your child is urinately less frequently than normal, has a dry mouth, sunken eyes, drowsiness or rapid breathing. To prevent dehydration, have your child drink plenty of fluids, including rehydrating solutions such as Pedialyte.

Is it OK to wiggle my child´s loose tooth?

Wiggling Loose Teeth

If your child has a loose tooth, there is no need to give it extra wiggling to speed up the process. If your child does wish to wiggle it always encourage her to wash her hands first to prevent germs and infection from entering her mouth. Never wiggle to the point of pain. Be sure to see a dentist if your child's gums around the tooth are swollen, if the permanent tooth starts to grow in before the baby tooth is gone, or if a tooth is coming in sideways or at an angle.

How do I give my child eye drops?

Applying Eye Drops or Ointment

To treat your child with eye drops or ointment, have your child sit or lie down, and tilt his head backward. Gently pull down his lower eyelid to form a small pocket. Insert the drops, or squeeze a thin strip of ointment onto a guaze pad and apply. Have your child shut her eyes for a minute to allow the drops to be absorbed. Always wipe the ointment tube with alcohol after using to prevent re-infection.

How can I make getting needles less painful?

Less Painful Needles

To ease immunization pains, try rubbing some teething pain relief gel, like Orajel, on the site just before the injection. This should numb the skin, and ease the pain making needles easier for both of you.

How can I remove a splinter?

Splinter Rescue

When your kids get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

How do I measure my child´s medicine?

Measuring Medication

When measuring liquid medication for your child, be sure to use an oral dropper, a cylindrical dosing spoon, or a plastic medicine cup in order to ensure he/she is receiving an accurate dosage. Using a household utensil is highly inaccurate, as the size of spoons vary. Tablespoons can hold as little as 2.5 ml or as much as 10 ml.

How do I cope with empty nest syndrome?

Educate Yourself About Empty Nests

When you find yourself faced with an empty nest, find as much information about empty nest syndrome as you can. Books and Web sites can help you understand what you're going through. Also, consider a support group. Even if you're not a joiner, a group with similar experiences can offer information, new friends, creative solutions and a sympathetic ear.

How do I cope with empty nest syndrome?

Dealing With an Empty Nest

When your children move away from home, and you are faced with an empty nest, don't be alarmed if you experience feelings of sadness and loss of purpose. These are normal reactions. Find someone to talk to, such as your spouse or a friend. If you don't feel better, consult a counselor or therapist trained in the field to help you cope with empty nest syndrome.

How can I rinse my child´s hair without getting soap in her eyes?

Keeping Soap Out of Eyes

To keep soap and water out of your child's eyes while they are in the tub, try having them wear swimming goggles. She can pretend to be a deep-sea diver or Olympic swimmer, while you get to rinse her hair without any tears.

Is there an alternative to chemical mosquito repellents?


The next time you are going out and it is mosquito season, rub your child down with a fabric softener sheet. It seems to be a mild mosquito repellent.

How can I help my child feel good about herself/himself?

Express Your Love

Get physical with your child. We forget how powerfully casual physical gestures express love. A quick kiss or stroke on the cheek as your youngster bounds off to school leaves a little piece of you with him for the day.

How can I make cutting my child´s hair easier?

Easier Hair Trims

To make haircuts less of a battle and more fun for boys, try playing "barbershop" at hair cutting time. Treat him like a customer, and give him a "shave" after the cut. (A popsicle stick works well as a safe "razor") He may also enjoy some aftershave and cologne to smell just like Daddy. For girls, try having a beauty salon and end with a manicure or perhaps some light makeup.

How do I cope with Empty Nest Syndrome?

Easing Into an Empty Nest

To make life easier after your kids move away from home, and to help with empty nest syndrome, find something to look forward to. Whether it's visiting your children or taking a vacation - by yourself, with your spouse or with friends - it will keep your mind on something positive. Also, be sure to find a way to communicate regularly with the kids by phone, e-mail or letters. Keep in mind that this is an invigorating time in your relationship with your child - a chance to go from being a teenager's parent to a young adult's vital, trusted friend.

Is is safe for my teen to wear artificial nails?

Artificial Nails

Acrylic fingernails can be a health hazard for our young girls. The risks associated with acrylic nails include dermatitis, burn injury (due to the flammable nature of the nail), nail loss, disruption of nail bed growth, numbness in fingertips, nail trauma (due to the excessive length), and cyanide poisoning (found in the nail remover and may be fatal if ingested). In addition, acrylic nails may harbor infection.

If your teen has a special occasion (prom or wedding), short-term use may be acceptable. Because of the flammable nature of acrylic nails, stress the importance of abstaining from smoking or any activity involving fire. Watch for any possible complications and be sure the nail technician is licensed and properly trained (varies by state).

How can I save a broken tooth?

Tooth Saver

If a child has a tooth knocked out or broken, put the tooth in a cup of milk until you can get to your dentist or ER. Milk is free of harmful bacteria and keeps the tooth's cells moist more effectively than water.

How do I know when to be concerned about my child´s bad habits?

Bad Habits

It is perfectly normal for your child to have a bad habit, such as thumb sucking or nail chewing. The habit could signal anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behavior, however, if you child shows any combination of the following:

1. Physical scarring - If your child picks skin, pulls hair, etc. badly enough to cause physical damage.

2. Multiple habits - If your child exhibits more than one bad habit.

3. Excessive anxiety - If your child is normally very anxious, particularly if someone is trying to stop the habit.

How often do I need to wash my child´s hair?

Washing Hair

You do not need to wash your child's hair every day. Toddlers and preschoolers can have their hair washed once or twice a week, and grade-school kids can wash their hair about every other day.

How can I get my kids to brush their teeth for a long time?

Keep Brushing!

To get your kids to brush their teeth for the recommended 3 minutes, place a 3 minute egg timer in the bathroom. Turn it over and get them to brush until the sand runs out.

How can I relieve the itch from mosquito bites?

Mosquito Bite Itch

To relieve the itch of a mosquito bite, soak a cotton ball with vinegar and apply to the bite.

What is a quick, easy way to wash my child´s hands?

Hand Hygiene

For a quick clean, fill a spray bottle with liquid soap and water. Simply spray hands, and wipe with a warm washcloth.

How do I know if my child has a head injury?

Head Injuries

If your child has experienced trauma to the head, there are a few signs to look for to alert you to call your doctor immediately. Call your doctor if your child is dizzy, weak, unable to move her limbs, unconscious or is under one year of age. If there is excessive bleeding, or if your child is breathing irregularly you should also call your doctor or visit your ER. If your child has experienced a fall or bumped his head and you are concerned, it is always best to err on the side of caution, and visit the doctor. Brain injuries can be very serious, so it is best to have it checked by a medical professional.

How can I eliminate hiccups?

Getting Rid of Hiccups

To quickly and easily eliminate hiccups, give your child one teaspoon of sugar. The hiccups disappear instantly. I have tried this many times, and it always works!

Is it safe to give my child aspirin?

Aspirin Alert

Experts believe that giving aspirin to children under the age of 18 may put them at risk for Reye's Syndrome, which is a rare, but potentially fatal disease of the liver and brain that strikes during recovery from a viral illness. To be safe, do not give your kids aspirin or stomach-upset medications that contain salicylates which are in the same drug family as aspirin. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen, however, are both safe and effective pain relievers for children.

How can I help my child feel better during a move?

Good-Bye to a Good Friend

To ease the pain of separation when moving, make a thoughtful good-bye gift for your child's favorite friends. Purchase a small photo album and collect photos of the friends from their time together, place the photos in order, and then add captions that tell the "story" of their friendship (how they met, fun times, etc.). Be sure to leave some blank pages at the end for add-ons for when they write to each other after the move.

How can I cope with empty nest syndrome?

Coping With an Empty Nest

To help make the transition easier when your kids move away from home, and to avoid empty nest syndrome, make plans to travel, go back to college, move to a smaller home -- anything that keeps you busy, especially when the last one leaves. Start preparing early on, because as soon as a baby can walk, he/she wants to run. They want to do things on their own, make decisions on their own, etc. Start planning for "Mom" - BEFORE the kids are gone.

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Guru Spotlight
Patricia Walters-Fischer