Cheap Ways to Protect Your Kids from Germs this Winter

This winter hasn't been the easiest one for our family. First one kid and then another has been sick, and so have I been. Just today Ike got diagnosed with Strep throat when I took him in for an ear infection and puking. I need to listen to this advice from a reader on how to not keep on getting sick!!!

Winter is a special time, especially for kids who like building snowmen, learning how to skate, or going on ski resort vacations. But winter is also a popular time for germs and diseases.

As parents, we want to keep our children safe and happy. To avoid illness as well as exorbitant healthcare costs, here are some frugal ways to protect your kids this winter, from lowering your heating bill to exploring cheaper treatment options from an international or Canadian pharmacy referral service like Rx Connected.

First Things First: Cold Temperatures Do Not Cause the Cold

Cold viruses do. There are hundreds of different cold viruses and adults get 2-3 colds per year on average while healthy kids can get 8-12 colds per year. Chances are, you’re exposed to these viruses every day.

…But Do Stay Warm

While cold weather doesn’t cause the cold, there’s still a grain of truth to bundling up. This is because our immune systems are stronger when we do not have to cope with other stresses like staying warm, sleep deprivation, and emotional distress. This also means that parents should enforce bedtimes, even during the holidays when there is no school.

Dress your kids up in layers so they can easily take layers off as they warm up running around. Heavy-duty winter jackets can be very expensive, so consider buying second-hand jackets at thrift stores. Your kids will grow out of them in a year or two anyway.

Household heating is expensive, but sunlight is free! Take advantage of solar gain by opening your windows wide during the day to let the sun’s heat in. Contrary to a popular myth, cranking the heat up high when you walk into a freezing room does not heat the room up faster or save you money. Just set the heat at the temperature level you want.

Another myth is that you should always leave your heat at a constant temperature. Instead, save money by lowering it when you’re out or when you’re asleep. Humans do better in cooler sleeping environments anyway. Just lowering the temperature and throwing on a comfy sweater can offer significant energy savings.

Avoid Crowds and Indoor Spaces

People think cold temperature causes the cold because more of us get sick during the winter. This is true, but scientists believe a major reason is because people like to stay indoors more during winter. When we’re all packed inside malls, subway stations, and houses, germs have an easier time spreading.

Completely avoiding places with lots of people is not always possible, especially when you have a long shopping list of holiday gifts to purchase! Instead, encourage your kids to play outdoors or take up a winter sport. This is a win-win because many kids love playing in snow with their friends, physical activity is healthy, and supervising your kids while they’re outside helps YOU avoid over-spending on winter sales too!


Make sure your kids understand hand hygiene. Teach them to use warm water and soap. Scrub thoroughly between fingers and underneath nails. Wash for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Then, make sure to dry your hands after.

Thinking about shelling out a few extra bucks for antibacterial soap? Think again. The FDA currently does not recognize antibacterial soap as being any more effective than regular soap when it comes to preventing infections. In fact, since many illnesses like the cold and flu are spread by viruses, antibacterial soap isn’t designed to protect against them at all.

Find Cheaper Medications

At some point, someone in your family will get sick. This can be particularly stressful for parents who need to shoulder the financial burden of medications.

American parents can save money by buying prescription medications online from reputable, Canadian and international pharmaceutical companies. Canadian pharmacy referral services like Rx Connected offer drugs that have undergone rigorous review by regulatory bodies. These services can provide safe, low-cost drugs for American families across the border who otherwise cannot afford care. Get medications like antivirals shipped straight to your doorstep to treat serious illnesses like pneumonia.

Understand the Common Cold and Seasonal Influenza

The cold and the flu may look similar, but while the common cold is generally short-lived and harmless, the flu can be serious and infected people are at risk of developing pneumonia.

Signs that you may have the flu (and not just the common cold) include an abrupt onset of symptoms, chills, and aches. Flu season is generally between November and March, and the CDC recommends everyone above the age of 6 months get the flu vaccine every year to prevent it.

One possible complication of the flu is pneumonia. Pneumonia is a serious illness and is a leading cause of death for children under 5.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides comprehensive, free guides on diseases such as the flu and the cold to the public. However, never attempt to self-diagnose. Consult a physician in a timely manner because respiratory illnesses can look very similar.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy winter! Cozy things like snuggling up with a story together, drinking hot chocolate, and building snow fortresses cost little to no money, so feel free to indulge as a family!

See my disclaimer.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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