Fort Worth, Texas,
10:39 AM

Want Your Kids To Not Get Sick This Winter? Teach Them Not To Be (As) Gross.

Germs are gross.

Kids are gross.

Germs and kids are doubly gross.

As parents, we know this is true, especially during this time of year. The illness visits are piling up in my office and throughout the Cook Children's system. The days off school are starting. Missed workdays are causing stress.

We all hate this part of winter.

In my office, we're seeing lots of barky coughs from croup. We've also seen a ton of kids with sore throats from strep and viruses. Lots of fever from ear infections and flu season is just around the corner.

So what do you do? How do you survive the winter and keep your child healthy?

There's no magic vitamin. There's no magical food. There's no magical anything.

But here's something you can do: teach them not to be (as) gross.

  1. Kids, stop licking and chewing stuff: Not the table, not your clothes, not your friends. There is nothing you can lick except your food, and really, you should chew it.
  2. Kids, wash your hands. Several times a day. Wash them after you eat. Wash them after you go to the bathroom. Wash them just because you need to wash your hands. Get those germs off.
  3. Kids, cough into the crook of your elbow. Don't cough on your classmates or your teacher (this isn't going to get you out of a test). Don't cough into your hands because then you will be spreading germs around the next time you touch someone or hand something to a classmate or sibling. 
  4. Kids quit sucking your snot back up into your nose. You're driving us all crazy and making us all nauseous. It's disgusting. Really. And it's also bad for you. Get that crud out of your nose and out of your body.
  5. Kids, stay home from school if you're sick. If you have a fever, it's not allergies, and no, you can't take Motrin on your way into school to make it through the day. (Ok, kids. This one was more for your parents.)

I'm sure there's more. What other lessons should we teach our kids so they won't be as gross this winter?

Stay well,

Doc Smitty

Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click here to make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.


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