It’s that time of year again “when colds and flu are in constant circulation. Know these uses of Xylitol. Children and their parents are often overwhelmed by the thought of something so contagious entering their home and putting the entire family at risk.
As a health care professional, you already know that colds and the flu are easily caught at school and other public areas where bacteria thrive. The good news is, the most effective ways to protect your patients from illness this season can start with promoting the use of healthy habits at home.
Consistent, thorough hand washing, discouraging mouth-breathing, and the use of a xylitol nasal spray are all simple, safe, and natural ways to stay healthy this season.
1. Teach good hand-washing habits. Children especially, but even adults are tempted to wash with a quick splash, but that isn’t nearly good enough to get rid of cold-causing germs. Good hand-washing is the most effective way to prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading. To make sure children spend enough time at the sink, teach them to wash their hands long enough to sing something like Happy Birthday twice, or count to 100. Remind them to wash their hands frequently, particularly after they use the bathroom, play with pets, before they eat, and after blowing their nose. Another tip for mothers is to keep their children’s hands away from their faces. No matter how clean they think their hands are. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective and convenient while at school. Remind them to use the sanitizer before eating snacks or lunch, and after using a shared computer mouse, pencil sharpener, water fountain or other community objects.
2. Discourage mouth-breathing. It seems like such a small thing, but when it comes to staying well, helping our children learn to breathe through their noses can make a big difference. The nasal passages and sinuses warm, humidify, and clean the air we breathe, says Lon Jones, D.O., and osteopathic physician in Plano, Texas. Mouth-breathing doesn’t provide this cleansing effect, so kids are more likely to get sick when they inhale germs through their mouth. Childhood mouth breathing can change the way the jawbones develop. This may result in a condition called long-face syndrome presented by a long, narrow face with crowded teeth and an open mouth. The long-term effects can impact a child’s breathing ability for the rest of their life, often leading to sleep apnea and in some cases, early death. When you notice children breathing through their mouth, a gentle reminder to breathe through their nose can be very effective. In time, they’ll break the habit.
3. Use a xylitol nasal spray. To promote respiratory health, Dr. Jones recommends that children use a xylitol nasal spray every four hours for daily prevention. This is a much more preventative way to approach the cold season rather than waiting around to get sick. Not only does it flush pollutants and airborne contaminants from the nasal passages, it helps moisturize the tissue, stimulating the body’s own natural defense system. This is accomplished by the unique combination of saline and xylitol. This natural sweetener has been shown to significantly improve upper respiratory health by decreasing the adherence of harmful bacteria in the sinuses. If a patient of yours does come down with an illness, be sure to promote the use more frequently (if needed). Xylitol nasal sprays help alleviate sinusitis, dryness, rhinitis, sinus pressure, symptoms from flu and cold, and nasal congestion in a natural way. Since the average American child has six to ten colds a year, using a xylitol nasal spray is a safe and effective way to promote better upper respiratory health, year-round.
Even with all of these tips, you’re going to be treating plenty of illnesses over the course of the season, because we all get sick at some point. As healthcare professionals, maintaining a positive attitude and educating your patients about healthy ways to boost their immune systems while ensuring they get enough exercise and sleep, are all great things we can do. For more information about xylitol products and its benefits, please visit xlear.com.
Ryan Hogan, USN, Vet, Hospital Corpsman
Ryan is a former US Navy Hospital Corpsman with training in the medical laboratory field, orthopedics and obstetrics. His primary role now is in health improvement in the prevention field. He resides and works in Salt Lake City, Utah.