Archive | May, 2012

What are Antenatal Classes?

30 May

learning about pregnancy at antenatal classMoms-to-be are a beautiful, glowing, mushy-brained symphony of hormones and emotions. They mood-swing from the chandeliers every other minute; experiencing intense highs and lows of joy, confusion, love, frustration, excitement, exhaustion, anticipation, anxiety (just to name a few) – and that’s before we even factor in all the cravings, back ache and stresses of picking the perfect name! First time moms-to-be can be even more extreme.

What we find these days is that new moms are being overwhelmed with information from friends, family, media and even complete strangers about pregnancy, birth and parenting. Many new moms are confused, because they don’t know what questions they should even be asking. And so our moms-to-be are left mood-swinging from the chandeliers; too nervous to come back down to reality.

That is where antenatal classes come in. Antenatal is all about the early stages of motherhood – pregnancy, the birthing process and the first few weeks with your baby. These small group classes are a safe and secure place for new moms to ask questions and get professional advice. These classes are designed to inform and support first time moms-to-be, helping them to ease into their pregnancy and early motherhood with complete confidence, and keeping the chandelier-swinging for the bedroom!

Here is an outline of what is covered in antenatal classes:

Week 1 – The joys and challenges of Pregnancy

•   The stages of pregnancy, its niggles and its relevance to the birth process

•   The placenta, cervix and uterus

•   Development of the baby – 9 months of growth

•   Positions of the baby

•   Dos and don’ts during pregnancy

•   Exercise

•   Pregnancy massage

•   What to take to hospital

•   When to go to hospital

Week 2 – Normal Vertex Delivery

•    Hormones in Pregnancy

•    Anatomy

      –   Uterus, placenta, cervix (last week)

      –   Pelvic floor, amniotic sac and  vagina

•   Stages of delivery

•   Labour positions

•   Dads in labour

•   Relaxation

•   Birthing DVD

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Week 3 – Pain Control (dress accordingly)

•   Pain Control

•   Types of Pain control

•   Epidural

•   Breathing Techniques

•   Practice Demonstrations

Week 4 – Assisted deliveries

•   Induction

•   Vacuum delivery

•   Forceps delivery

•   Caesarean section

•   Assisted delivery DVD

learning about your baby in antenatal class

Week 5 – Breastfeeding and Establishing Routine

•   Breast vs. bottle

•   Advantages/disadvantages of Breast feeding

•   Advantages/disadvantages of Bottle feeding

•   Breast feeding

•   Latching

•   Expressing

•   Breastfeeding problems

•   Bottle feeding

Week 6 – Early parenting (those first few weeks)

•   What is the Apgar score?

•   The first 6 weeks

•   What to look out for

•   Vaccinations

•   A baby bath

To find out when Baby Guardian Vaccination Clinic is running the next Antenatal Class, please contact Sr. Andrea.

Vaccine Schedule

28 May

What are vaccinations and why are they given?

Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to infectious disease because their bodies have not yet built up a resistance. A vaccination helps the body to develop its own immune response that helps defend and protect it against that particular disease.

The World Health Organisation has an Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI), which has been adopted by the South African Department of Health. These are in the normal schedule of vaccines that are available free of charge. In addition to EPI vaccines, there are other vaccines that are available in the private sector. Below are detailed charts of the EPI and private vaccination schedules.

Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI)

Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI)

Private Immunisation Schedule

Private Vaccine Schedule

What are the possible side-effects of vaccinations?

The likelihood of side-effects has reduced dramatically within the last couple of years, due to newer and better vaccinations. These are the most common side-effects that can possibly occur within 24 – 48 hours after the vaccination has been given:

  • Redness, warmth and swelling at the site of injection
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability and persistent crying
  • Disinterest in food
  • Body rash


What do the different vaccines protect you against?

  • OPV: Oral polio vaccine drops
  • Pentaxim: Diptheria, Tetanus, accellular Pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b and Polio
  • HBV: Hepatitis B
  • Infanrix-hexa:  This 6-in-1 injection immunizes against Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Polio, Hepatitis B
  • dT: Diptheria, Tetanus
  • PCV (Prevenar) Pneumococcal Vaccine: Prevention against Pneumococcal bacteria which can cause pneumonia, septesimia, otitis media and meningitis which could be fatal in children.
  • Synflorix Pneumococcal Vaccine: Prevention against Pneumococcal bacteria which can cause pneumonia, septesimia, otitis media and meningitis which could be fatal in children.
  • Rotarix: Prevention against Rota-virus (gastro in babies and children)
  • Rouvax: Measles
  • Varilrix: Chickenpox. It is recommended that this is given with the Measles vaccine. Because they are both live vaccines they have to be given together. If they are given separately, they have to be given a minimum of 4 weeks apart.
  • Avaxim: Hepatitis A vaccine
  • Priorix: Measels, Mumps, Rubella
  • Gardasil: The only Quadrivalent HPV vaccine (HPV= Human Papillomavirus). It protects against HPV 6, 11, 16 + 18 (Cervical, Vulvar and Vaginal Cancers and Genital warts).
  • Cervarix: An HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine for protection against HPV 16 + 18 (Cervical, Vulvar and Vaginal Cancers and Genital warts).


What vaccines are provided at Baby Guardian Vaccination Clinic?

Baby Guardian has both the state supplied vaccines and also the alternative private ones that are completely optional. We also supply flu vaccines that help protect your body against the most current strain of flu (these are not advised for babies less than 6 months). With every baby wellness visit, the consultation takes about 30 minutes. During this time your baby will be weighed, measured and checked according to developmental milestones. Any questions or concerns you may have will also be discussed.

Will my medical aid cover the cost of vaccinations?

Most vaccines are covered by medical aid, but you will have to claim back for it as most clinics only accept immediate cash payments

Today YOU are YOU

24 May

dr. seuss today you are you

It’s our first Thoughtful Thursday and what better way to start it off than this.

Dr. Seuss has a remarkable way of turning profound concepts into something simple and easy to understand. If you’re over-analyzing who you are and who you are meant to be, just take this advice…and PLEASE teach it to you kids! Be happy and accept yourself for who you are.

“Today YOU are YOU, that is truer than true.

There is no one alive who is YOUER than YOU.”

– Dr. Seuss

A Working Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Sick Kids

22 May

sick child stay at homeIf you’re a parent, especially a working one, I bet you’re dreading the seasonal changes and the associated onset of common colds & flu. I’m already sitting with a snotty 2-year old, and before I can even say the word “tissue”, his face looks like five slugs have had a 10cm race across his face! Joy! Luckily for me I’m able to work from home so I can take care of him and make sure he gets the necessary medication and rest he needs. But I remember being in the office full-time. Flu season was disastrous! My kids always seemed to pick an EXTREMELY-important-office-meeting day to come to me with big bleary eyes and tell me they’re not feeling well. “Sniff, sniff”.

I hate to think that work would ever be a priority over a child’s health, but sometimes our impending deadlines seem a lot scarier than a runny nose. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your child is really THAT sick that they need to stay at home. A sore throat always sounds worse in the morning, right? If you’re a working parent and you can’t decide whether to take the day off work or send your child to school, here are some pointers to make your decision a little easier:

  1. Determine whether it is in fact a cold or flu and not just a sore finger or some ploy to avoid a school assignment!
  2. If your child starts showing signs of colds and flu, address it immediately with the proper medication. Find out more about Symptoms of Colds and Flu.
  3. The best option now is to let your child take the day off school and get some proper rest.
  4. Find someone who can watch your child for the day, like a granny, friend, family member or domestic lady. Be sure to let them know what medication your child needs.
  5. If you can’t find someone for the day, try finding someone who can watch him for the morning so you can work a half-day.
  6. If there’s no one to watch your child, then make that call to your boss and take a day off work. You are completely entitled to this and should not feel bad about it (sadly so many of us do), especially when it comes to looking after your children. You have your phone for emergency purposes! And if you have access to the Internet and email at home then use that to get some work done. Your child should be resting so you shouldn’t have to run around after him all day.
  7. If there’s no chance of anyone watching your child, and you simply CANNOT take a day off work then you could take your child to work with you. This depends entirely on what kind of environment you are working in and whether your boss will allow it.
  8. The last option is to send your sickling to school. This isn’t a great option because your child needs proper rest, and they could end up making the other children sick (putting other moms in your unpleasant situation)! But this is a last resort that many of us have to take, and I have to admit that I have done it before. If you send him to school, be sure to keep your phone close by; you might get a call from the school requesting that you take your sick child home.
  9. Make sure you guard yourself against any viruses by taking immune boosting supplements. Read 13 Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu for some more useful tips!

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions that could also help working parents deal with sick kids, please share them with us. We’d love to hear from you!

Symptoms of Colds & Flu

21 May

symptoms of colds and fluColds and flu are both common winter viruses, but isn’t always easy to distinguish between the two and we often confuse one for the other. The major difference is that flu can be lethal.

Flu is not just a common cold. Flu is caused by the highly contagious influenza virus that is spread though coughing, sneezing and hand-to-hand contact. It affects up to 10% of adults and 30% of children ever year.  And if it is not properly treated, it can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people, especially babies, toddlers, older people and people with other underlying medical conditions.

Influenza viruses can infect the nose, throat, sinuses, upper airways and lungs. Although symptoms vary from person to person, here is a general guide you can use to tell if you have the flu:


  • Fever (39-40°C)
  • Aches and pain (including headaches)
  • Cough (a severe cough that may overlap with bronchitis or pneumonia)
  • Tiredness (extreme fatigue)
  • Sudden onset

New strains of the influenza virus are discovered every year. You can avoid catching the flu virus by having a yearly flu vaccine.

Those of you living in Johannesburg North, Midrand, Centurion, Pretoria and surrounds will be glad to hear that get your flu vaccine at Baby Guardian Vaccination Clinic.

Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 2)

17 May

If you’re reading this and you’ve already read Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 1) then you seriously have what it takes to get through the early phases of parenting. You’re tough, eager to learn and are obviously suffering from “preggie brain”!

As I mentioned in Part 1 this is a look at some of the unexpected realities of having a baby. With the help of some delightfully honest mommies, I would like to help you prepare yourself for some of the more common, yet surprising, emotions and experiences that you may run into as a new parent.

Our list continues…

11. Having a baby changes EVERYTHING!

Your life will never be the same again…but that’s NOT a bad thing! Almost every decision you make will now revolve around your baby. Visiting friends and going to the shops will revolve around your baby’s nap time. Big things like priorities, conversations, interests and relationships change. Small things like restaurants, holiday destinations, shoes and jewellery of choice will change. And your relationship with your partner will develop to a whole new level – make sure to keep your partner a priority!

12. It’s not just the first few months that they don’t sleep through, but sleep routines constantly change, especially in the first year.

I was fortunate enough to have both my children sleep through by 3 & 4 months old; but I know many moms who are still playing musical beds when their children are 7 years old! Sleep patterns are tricky and it takes constant vigilance to keep a good routine going. I would recommend any parent to try a Preparation for Parenting Course. It is a very helpful guide to the kind of sleep patterns your baby needs.

13. What surprised me was how hard breastfeeding was, but I’m glad I stuck it out because it’s definitely much easier than bottles, once you get over the first month. I can really understand now why so many women take the formula route.

I completely agree that breastfeeding is the best option, but it is not easy. Some mothers and babies struggle while others get it right the first time. Even when your baby latches properly, it’s a painful thing to go through for the first few weeks. I know what it’s like to sit there for an hour in tears because your baby is hungry and won’t latch on properly. Eventually they do get it. Stick it out moms! It will be worth it in the end. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, Baby Guardian will happily offer you the support you need.

14. “Me time” is a rare concept.

When your baby starts crawling, you’ll be lucky to be allowed to go to the toilet alone! So enjoy that special time you have when your baby is immobile. There’s no going back after that.

15. Although I try not to, I compare my baby to every other child and try to see if mine is “better”, “faster” or…(heaven forbid) “slower” than they are.

It’s only natural to compare your baby with other babies. Motherhood is a great challenge that none of us want to fail at. None of us want our baby to be “the last one” to walk or talk or be potty trained. But the reality is that all babies are different. There is no exact science, only general norms. So if your baby is marginally slower, that’s ok. They won’t be the slowest with everything! If your baby is a LOT slower, then feel free to consult an expert and ease your concerns. And if your baby is better or faster in some areas, then well done to baby! Enjoy feeling like the proud mommy you are. Just don’t unnecessarily offend other moms with too much boasting; their babies are just as precious to them as yours is to you!

16. That I would compare myself with other moms.

In our efforts to have the title of “Best Mom EVER”, we naturally tend to compare ourselves with the other moms around us. One thing I’ve learned is that “the perfect mother” you see with her child isn’t perfect. Mothers I admire the most will often be the first to tell me how many times they think they’ve failed by saying or doing something “horrible”. The reality is that you NEVER see the full story of that mom and her relationship with her children. All moms have their moods and their moments. We are all learning! It’s natural to compare, but be careful not to judge!

17. That it hurts and I take it personally when someone says “No Kids Allowed” on the wedding or party invite.

Us moms need to stop reading this as “YOUR Kids Are NOT Allowed” and start reading this as “Mom’s Night Off”, because that’s closer to reality. I haven’t been to a wedding without at least one of my kids in the last 6 years because my daughter keeps being asked to be a flower girl. The next time someone asks, I’m saying “NO”! I WANT to have a party and not worry about leaving early to get my kids to bed a decent hour. Enjoy the night off mom!

18. You forget how to talk about anything other than your baby; and you take it personally when friends without kids actually DON’T want to know what your baby’s poo smells like or that she said “teddy” again or that she can now walk 5 steps without falling.

Your baby takes up a lot of your attention, you know your baby more intimately than anyone, you LOVE your baby; naturally you’re going to want to talk about her. But your friends without babies won’t understand you until they experience it for themselves. Then it will be your turn to listen to how cute it is when their babies try to crawl, what their poo looks like and how precious it was when they farted with a smile! Until then, turn on a radio or read a magazine and catch up on some news and celebrity gab.

19. Nobody told me that nappies don’t actually work half the time. And when small babies poo, it squishes out their nappies and up their backs. And that this will happen when you’re on a plane.

I laughed when I read this, because the EXACT same thing happened to me on a plane (see, you’re probably not alone even in the most arbitrary experience!). Breathe easy moms-to-be, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen. Babies who are only drinking breast milk have very soft poo that may sometimes squish out the nappy. Be armed with at least 2 babygrows when going on an outing!

20. What about that moment (most likely between week 3 and 6) when you’re completely overwhelmed and are in tears out of complete frustration and exhaustion. You actually feel like throwing your baby out the window/against the wall/burying them in a very deep pit. You wonder if there’s a return policy on this thing and regret ever deciding to have a baby. And then you feel SOOO guilty about feeling that way.

It sounds horrendous but almost every mom I know has confessed to feeling like this at least once & feeling EXTREMELY guilty & shameful, even though – thank goodness – none of us actually DO it! Moms are secretly famous for experiencing extreme feelings of frustration, anxiety, shame, guilt, hurt and confusion; but we bury these feelings behind a smile because we don’t want other people to judge us and think of us as bad mothers. One bad moment does not make you a bad parent! You are not a bad mother for feeling overwhelmed. You’ll make it through and prove that you’re tougher than you ever thought you could be! If you think you could be suffering Post-Natal Depression then please speak to a professional and get the proper attention you need.

If you’re already a parent, I’m sure you’re identifying with what has been shared; and probably ecstatic to know that you’re not alone! If you’re a parent-to-be, I hope you feel a little more ready for the reality of what your precious bundle will bring! If you’re planning on having a baby, I dare you not to back down now. Parenting is something that changes your life and I promise you that your children will bring you more joy than you can imagine! So here’s some advice to be taken with a pinch of salt…you will be fine! If not, put some brandy on the gums and have a sip for you!

Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 1)

17 May

babies are cute

Babies are cute, that’s how they trick you!

This was some advice I received from a dear friend of mine about having babies. It came 6 years, 2 months and 1 day too late! I was the first of my friends to become a mom so I didn’t get this kind of advice sooner. And people of my parent’s age seem to forget some of the headaches of having a baby…or they just want to watch us young moms suffer by playing the silent game! Either way, through my 6 years of being a mom, and my friends eventually starting to join the “Mommy Club”, I have realized that there is a LOT they don’t tell you about having a baby.

New moms, BEWARE!

What you are about to read is potentially life changing. This is an unveiling of the raw, uncutesy, “what was I thinking?” side of having a baby. This is not meant to scare you, but rather help you to embrace motherhood with everything it has to offer. I asked a group of women about things they were never told or didn’t expect about having a baby. Listening to other moms is so helpful, because we often experience “abnormal” situations, emotions and reactions that are actually VERY normal. Here is Part 1 of some of the beautifully honest responses I received.

1. Childbirth is completely unattractive and undignified. There are no personal boundaries. But you don’t seem to care.

You will be poked, groped and prodded throughout the birthing process. Your cervix will be measured, you will receive an enema, your waters may need to be broken, you might receive an epidural, your knees will end up past your ears and your most private lady parts will be on display for all to see. The good thing is that you will be so eager to “GET THAT THING OUT” of you that you will eagerly go along with it all.

2. No one told me how the afterbirth works! You think when the baby is out it’s all over, but that’s not true. And it looks so awful too.

When you have a natural delivery, you will have to push the afterbirth out as well. And it’s not pretty. You should be informed about this and other birthing processes if you attend an ante-natal course.

3. A Caesarian is quite traumatic, especially when you’re expecting natural.

Many moms choose natural delivery. They want to have their baby the way God intended, when the baby is ready, and they want to enjoy a quicker and less painful recovery. But gynecologists/obstetricians are often concerned about the baby and insist on a scheduled Caesarian. Other times there is an emergency during the birth when the baby needs to be delivered by Caesarian. This can be very traumatic for moms, the body and baby too.

4. What I learnt by default is that not all advice is good advice, especially from pediatricians and obgyns!

The lady who made this statement followed it up with “The best advice I got that I cherish to this day – follow your gut!” – which I can only agree with. When I moved to Johannesburg I was 6 months pregnant and needed to find a new gyne. I went to a highly recommended one but didn’t feel comfortable with him. My internal alarms went off when I told him I wanted a natural birth. His immediate response was to list reasons why women may need Caesarian. Trusting my gut, I didn’t go back. I later found out from an intern at the hospital that he had not performed a natural birth in over 300 deliveries! I’m convinced he would have found some excuse to conveniently schedule me into his diary (between golf and a weekend away) and add me to that list. New moms are constantly bombarded with well-meaning “good advice” from their mom, grannies, aunties, friends, doctors, pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, parenting books, magazines, TV shows, and (most frustratingly) the expert stranger who doesn’t know a thing about you, your child or your parenting capabilities apart from the last 2 minutes they’ve witnessed you trying to scrape your crying toddler off the shopping mall floor! In the end, go with your gut! I also recommend taking a parenting course. It will help you discover a method of parenting and solutions that you and your partner can agree on.

5. Your whole body changes and buying new clothes is a nightmare.

Don’t bother shopping for a new wardrobe soon after baby has arrived. Your boobs, hips and weight will be changing quite substantially in the first few months. I went shopping when my second baby was 6 months old, thinking my body was pretty much doomed to keep this extra weight (I lost my weight immediately with my firstborn). In the next 6 months I managed to lose 10kg and my new jeans didn’t fit as well anymore. Everyone is different when it comes to gaining and losing weight, but you can be guaranteed your body will change; so try not to splurge too much in the first few months!

6. Preggie/porridge brain is a permanent condition.


moms never rest

7. No one told me that you never get a rest, NEVER, not even when you’re sick.

Being a mom is a full-time job! Every situation is different, whether you are single, married or dating, have 1 child or 5, are working, working from home or a stay-at-home mom (which is a full-time work anyway). Moms never stop. Even when we’re sick, we’re still cooking (or picking up the phone to order pizza), cleaning (and trying VERY hard to get our older kids or partners to pitch in) and doing every other thing that doesn’t even exist in a man or child’s world.

8. You have to schedule in a shower!

As you have just read, parenting is a full-time job. When your baby takes a nap you need to prioritise which chores need to be done first. Washing? Dirty dishes? Sterilise bottles? Make fresh baby food? Feed the pets? Shower? Get that desperately needed nap of your own? If you’re lucky you will have a domestic lady or a partner to help you with chores. If not, get scheduling!

9. No one told me about baby reflux.

Urgh! Be warned…you WILL need burping towels with you wherever you go for the first few months. A smelly, unattractive accessory for every mom; and a huge reason for the necessity of scheduled shower time! Make sure you have spares and a plastic bag so you can hide the wet, smelly ones away.

10. That I would feel guilty every time I go out without my baby.

I felt completely naked the first time I went out without my baby and it’s only been marginally better since. To go from carrying a baby, nappy bag, blanket, burp towel, snuggly toy and perhaps even a camping cot to just a handbag is incredibly distressing! You have that constant feeling that you’ve forgotten something. And you have…your precious little munchkin that you’ve carried in your belly for 9 months who is probably lying awake fretting about how you’ve just abandoned her! This is not really the case (your baby will be FINE for a few hours without you), but it is certainly how it feels.

Keep a look out for Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 2)

Foods that Fight Flu

17 May

In our article 13 Ways to Avoid Colds & Flu we mentioned some foods that are great flu fighters. Get your science caps on, because here are the reasons why!


Yoghurt is well-known for its pro-biotic qualities. The key ingredient in preventing flu is Lactobacillus reutri, a pro-biotic that stimulates the white blood cells to fight infection. In a Swedish study, workers who took Lactobacillus reutri were 33% less likely to get sick! So when you buy your next tub of yoghurt, be sure to look for one that has Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and L. rhamnosus.


Garlic has several infection-fighting compounds, including allicin, which fights bacteria and acts as a decongestant. Garlic is also believed to act as an antioxidant and destroy free-radicals – the active oxygen molecules that damage cells. Studies have shown that people who take a daily garlic capsule or 12 weeks are two-thirds less likely to catch a cold or flu. And if they did catch a cold, they had it for 3 ½ days less. You don’t need to take this as a supplement. It’s more effective, and a lot tastier, in its food form. It is recommended that you have 1 – 3 cloves of cooked garlic in your food every day.

garlic_food that fights flu


Mushrooms contain 300 compounds (including beta-glucan) that increase immunity and the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are the best immune boosters, but regular mushrooms will do the trick too.

Fatty Fish

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids. The two main forms of omega-3, DHA and EPA, benefit the immune system by absorbing nutrients and removing toxins. The acids also increase activity of phagocytes — cells that “eat up” bacteria.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits increase your vitamin C intake. It is recommended that fresh fruit should be eaten on an empty stomach (preferably about 30 minutes before breakfast) to receive the full benefits. The fruit acts as a cleanser and helps rid the body of unnecessary toxins. Grapefruits, tangerines, oranges, lemons, limes and naartjies are examples of great citrus fruits that you can to add to a meal.

citrus fruit_food that fights flu

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato are one of the most nutritional vegetables. They boast potassium, vitamins A and C, and calcium – all helpful in staying healthy and fighting off cold and flu symptoms.

Brazil Nuts and Almonds

Nuts in general are healthy, but brazil nuts and almonds are great immune boosters! Brazil nuts contain an antioxidant called selenium, and almonds are rich in vitamin E.

Black tea

A Harvard study shows that drinking 5 cups of black tea a day for 2 weeks will turn your immune system T cells into “Hulk Cells” producing 10 times more interferon – a protein that fights colds and flu. You may be glad to know that Green tea works just as well; and you can still enjoy the benefits without drinking as many as 5 cups a day!

Already have a cold or flu?

We don’t have a natural miracle cure, but we can suggest some more healing foods that will boost your immune system and ease some of your symptoms!

chicken soup_food that fights flu

  1. Chicken Soup helps clear clogged airways and will give you vital energy. Add plenty of veggies and garlic for extra nourishment!
  2. Hot and spicy food like horseradish, chilli and spicy sauces can help ease congestion.
  3. Fresh ginger root can soothe coughs, sore throats and fever. Try making ginger tea by adding boiling water to 2 tablespoons of grated ginger and let it brew for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Honey can help suppress your cough and has been known to stop the growth of bacteria. Add some to hot water or a lightly brewed tea.
  5. Vitamin C isn’t only found in citrus fruit. Other foods that are high in vitamin C include green peppers, potatoes, strawberries and pineapple.
  6. Fluids. Stay hydrated with plenty of liquids, especially water and pure fruit juices. Hot beverages like chamomile or peppermint herbal tea, or hot water with a slice of lemon work well too.


A daily routine of skipped meals, lots of caffeine, high-fat and high-sugar junk foods can make you more susceptible colds and flu. So make your diet a priority and eat plenty of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and low-fat protein to strengthen your immune system.

13 Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu

17 May

Capt. Edward A. Murphy and his ridiculously accurate law have struck again. I’m scheduled to write an article on how to avoid colds and flu and I’m now doing so with a box of tissues close at hand! After the last 2 days of dosing myself up with immune boosts & paracetamol, I assure you the best way to deal with a cold or flu is to AVOID, AVOID, AVOID!!

The number 13 is often considered an unlucky number. Let’s hope the following 13 steps will help you avoid colds and flu!

  1. Get a flu vaccine from your local pharmacy, clinic, hospital or GP.
  2. Eat flu-fighting foods like yoghurt, garlic, mushrooms, fatty fish, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, brazil nuts and almonds, and drink black tea. Learn more about how these foods can fight flu.
  3. Wash your hands often, and don’t touch your nose, eyes or mouth unnecessarily.wash hand to avoid flu
  4. Use your elbows instead of your hands to hit elevator buttons and open public bathroom doors. Try not to touch objects around you when you’re in public places, like the rail of a staircase or escalator.
  5. Disinfect surfaces and items in your household and office, especially counter tops, telephones, computer keyboards, light switches, door handles and remote controls. Make this at least a weekly routine, because germs can stay on surfaces for 3 days!
  6. Use a paper towel at home. Wiping your hands on dish towels will create germ hotspots.
  7. Get the right supplements. Vitamin D, vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids, Ginseng and Zinc are all fantastic in fighting flu.
  8. Quit smoking and avoid people who are smoking. Smoke makes you more vulnerable to complications of respiratory infections.
  9. Moderate exercise for 20 – 30 minutes every day (or every other day) will help to increase blood flow, send nutrients to your cells, and decrease the stress hormones. Stress uses up that Vitamin B that is needed by your immune system to fight viruses.
  10. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation puts your immune system at risk.sleep to avoid flu
  11. Get social. Research shows that people who are sociable tend to be more positive; causing them to have a strengthened immune system. BUT make sure you are socializing with healthy people!
  12. Minimise exposure to viruses by avoiding close or prolonged contact with people with a cold or flu. Flu has an incubation period of 1 – 4 days and a contagious period of 7 days or longer, so it’s best to avoid any person with flu for at least a week.
  13. “Contain” sneezes and coughs with disposable tissues (and make sure to dispose of them asap!) and wash your hands afterwards. My daughter was taught at school to sneeze and cough into her elbow and not her hand. Not a bad idea!

Avoid the Flu this Winter – Get Vaccinated!

17 May

flu vaccinationIt’s that time of year when we salvage our heaters from storage and abandon our flip-flops for toe socks. Winter is fast approaching and along with it those ghastly snot bugs, ferocious fevers and headaches from hell; all thanks to common colds and flu!

Although often confused with the common cold, flu is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, and it can be deadly! Every year up to 10% of adults and 30% of children catch the flu. It’s highly contagious and spreads through coughing, sneezing, and hand-to-hand contact; infecting the nose, throat, sinuses, upper airways and lungs. Although some cases of the flu can be very mild, it can prove to be fatal for babies, toddlers, the elderly and people with underlying health issues. Not something to be ignored!

Children are especially prone to picking up viruses because their little bodies have not developed the kind of immunities that adults have. Children in crèche and school under the age of 12 are the most likely to get flu. And when they catch it, they bring it straight back home to their families…every mom’s nightmare! Closed communities, such as homes for the elderly, university campuses and military bases, are also prone to outbreaks that run their course over a few weeks.

You’ve heard it before: Prevention Is Better Than Cure.

So how can you protect your family against flu and the common cold this winter? The easiest and most effective way is for your entire family to receive a flu vaccine (yes moms and dads, you too!). Making a quick visit to your local pharmacy, hospital, clinic or GP could be the smartest thing you do this year. And every year for that matter! Even for the healthiest person. Why? Because the flu virus strains are constantly changing. Each year, before flu season, the most recent circulating viruses are identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are included in a new vaccine formula that offers the best protection. And with the onset of the Swine Flu in the last few years, you’ll be glad to know that the flu vaccine will protect you against that ghastly H1N1 virus!

If you’re worried about scary side effects, don’t be! Flu vaccines are safe and generally well tolerated. The vaccine will not give you the flu. The vaccine is made up of small inactive, non-infectious particles of the season’s flu virus, which merely alert the body to the threat of the virus. In that way, your body makes antibodies and builds up its own immunity against the circulating flu viruses. The most common reaction to the vaccine is just a mild soreness at the site of the injection.

Did you know that people considered to be in high-risk groups can get their flu vaccinations for free from government clinics or hospitals? Now you do!

The high-risk groups include:

  • Pregnant women (past their first trimester)
  • People over 65 years of age;
  • People with chronic heart disease, diabetes or chronic lung disease, especially asthmatics
  • People living with HIV/Aids or other reduced immune system related conditions

PLEASE NOTE there are people who should NOT have the flu vaccine, which includes:

  • Babies under the age of 6 months
  • Women in their first trimester of pregnancy
  • People who are allergic to eggs, because the vaccine is grown in hens’ eggs.

So what are you waiting for? Avoid the headache of having headaches, bins full of snotty tissues and fuzzy days out of action. Do the smart thing and visit your local pharmacy, hospital, clinic or GP today! Prevention really is better than cure!!

You can get your flu vaccine at Baby Guardian Vaccination Clinic.

Contact Sr. Andrea to book an appointment.

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