What can parents do to lessen the chances of their kids getting a cold or the flu?
Here are six easy steps for parents to help keep their kids healthy and less apt to spread colds or flu due to their close contact with kids in school or daycare.
How to keep your kids healthy during flu season
Have kids wash their hands frequently at home and school.
Since kids often touch their mouths and faces, parents should make sure their kids’ hands are washed with soap and water to remove germs before eating, after using the bathroom, and when they come inside from playing. Hand sanitizer can be used for times it’s not possible to wash.
Indoors or outdoors, get active.
Kids should get regular, moderate exercise to boost their immune systems. Studies have shown that being active can help reduce cold and flu episodes.
Get plenty of sleep.
Children need between 9 and 14 hours of sleep a day depending on their age. Sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of getting sick.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Provide meals with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables to help boost children’s immune systems. Look for foods rich in vitamin C and vitamin D, and avoid foods high in additives, preservatives, and sugars.
Elevated stress hormones can lead to decreased immunity. Give kids plenty of down time for rest and creative play to help lower their stress levels and keep them from getting sick.
Avoid germy sharing.
Sharing is good for kids, but many commonly shared items can be breeding grounds for germs. Teach children to never share straws and cups, caps and scarves, or anything that comes in contact with their mouths and faces.
When kids do get sick, it’s important for parents to keep them home and take steps to prevent germs from spreading to others. If a doctor’s visit is necessary, a service like UI QuickCare makes it easy to see a physician without an appointment.
If you’re unsure whether an illness requires a doctor’s visit, it’s best to err on the side of caution.