Flu season is upon us once again. It begins around October and can extend through the winter into early spring. And we all need reminding of how to minimize the chances of our kids (and ourselves) getting sick. It's down to a few basics, such as sanitizing, hand hygiene, eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding, as much as possible, contact with sick people. Not to forget that flu shot.
It's easier to manage kids before they begin school and enter a world over which a parent has little or no control. Still, it would be a good idea to check your child's school sickness policy. Here are 10 tips, hacks that will help keep you and your kids healthy all winter long.
10 Flu Vaccination A Must
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone six-month-old or older get vaccinated against the flu each year. But which is best, the shot or the nasal spray? The American Academy of Pediatricians has said that as far as 2019 is concerned that the nasal spray form of the vaccine is acceptable.
However, before deciding you should talk it over with your child's doctor, as there are some cases when the spray is not recommended. Sure, no kid loves getting a flu shot. But if it helps your child beat the flu, it's worth it.
9 Balanced Diet
A great way to boost your child's immunity is by making certain they eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats. Rich in antioxidants this balanced diet will naturally boost their immune system, making it easier for them to resist coming down with the flu.
Getting a kid to eat right is not an easy thing to do much of the time. So, it's probably a question of doing the very best you can. Sit your child down and explain how antioxidants can help stop their getting sick.
8 Cover Your Mouth And Nose If You Sneeze
A great way of teaching your kids to keep the risk of infection low is to make certain they cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze. The easiest thing is to sneeze into your elbow.
That's the handiest, easiest way of dealing with the issue if you don't have a tissue or handkerchief to hand. If they do use a tissue, then they should throw it away themselves to avoid spreading any germs. We'll come to handwashing shortly. It's important.
7 Plenty Of Sleep Is Key
A balanced diet and plenty of sleep are the foundations for making your child healthy and strong. Sleep allows the body to recover from the stresses and exertions of the day and gives your child's body a chance to repair and rebuild. A rested body is a more productive and capable body and a body with a stronger immune system to fight off disease.
How much sleep is enough? Well, a pre-schooler probably needs around 10 -13 hours of sleep a night and a school-age child around 9 - 12. As we age, our requirements for sleep diminish, with adults needing around 7- 8 hours of sleep a night.
6 Absolutely Positively No Indoor Playgrounds
So, the weather is cold, snowy, rainy, very wintery. Let's head out to a burger joint and turn the kids loose in the playground. Don't do it. It is like sending your children into a germ zone. Every shiny, slick surface is probably full of the germs left behind by other children.
In fact, we might go a bit further and say that doing public, communal things during flu season should be limited. No, you can't wrap them up and keep them at home, but if, for example, you take them shopping, use sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces they touch and their hands.
5 Hands Away From The Face
Let's say your kid picks up a water bottle that has been held by a child with the flu. Or he or she uses the hairbrush of a friend who is coming down with the flu. Guess what? The germs the sick child deposited on the bottle or the brush are now on your child's hands.
So, your kid then scratches his nose, thereby transferring the germs straight into his or her little body. So, it is very important to teach your kids to keep their hands away from their face and to wash or clean their hands often. Don't touch the "T" zone: Eyes, nose, and mouth.
4 Wash Those Little Hands Often And Well
Use an anti-bacterial soap or wash and show your kids how to lather up and rinse thoroughly. Using paper towels to dry is a good idea, as hand towels that get passed around from child to child can harbor germs.
Also, it is a good idea to send kids to school with a pack of anti-bacterial wipes and to teach them to use them regularly during the day. Reinforce the idea that they should keep their hands away from their face to avoid spreading germs and you have gone a long way towards keeping them healthy over the flu season.
3 Skip The Water Fountain
Send your child to school with a bottle of water and impress upon them that drinking from a water fountain at school is like soaking all the germs left behind by the kids who used the fountain before them.
The surfaces of the fountain have been touched by countless children, leaving behind a bonanza of germs. And the spray itself has been touched and licked by germy little mouths. And for gosh sake impress upon them the importance of not sharing things like bottled water or food. And reinforce the lessons you try to teach them at home.
2 Steer Clear Of Sickies
You would think a child would know this. But the younger they are, the less they understand about how germs are spread and why people get sick. If your child is in school then check on the sickness policy and how it is enforced. But, no matter how diligent a school is, it only takes one or two sick kids coming to school, only to be sent home again, for germs to spread rapidly.
Your child should understand that he or she should avoid contact with children who are sick. And reinforce the lesson of not sharing things with other kids, sick or well. All of this is a lot for a kid to take in. So, reinforce the lessons by what you do at home.
1 Sanitize With The Kids
The family that sanitizes together is a family that stands the best chance of avoiding the flu. Again, it is important that you walk your talk by sanitizing communal surfaces at home like tables and sinks on a regular basis.
Go online and find and print out kid-friendly posters that reinforce the messages you are trying to get across and put them up on the fridge or the wall of the bathroom. Get the kids involved in the cleaning. It will make the whole thing more real to them.