Back-to-School Season is always an exciting time for kids and parents, but it also means the start of cold and flu season. Here are a few tips to keep your family healthy.
Keep your hands clean!
This is possibly the most important and simplest step in keeping your kids and household cold and flu-free. The viruses that cause colds and the flu are very easy to spread from surface to surface and are typically transferred from hand to nose or mouth, where they multiply and make you sick. Teach your kids to cover their coughs and sneezes with their armpit or the crook of their elbow and to perform basic hygiene practices, such as washing their hands often. The most important times to wash hands are before eating, after using the bathroom, after sneezing or coughing, and when they come home from school or a play date.
Clean up germ hotspots.
Even if a surface looks clean, there may be cold and flu germs lurking on it. This is bad news, especially if they’re in highly-frequented areas of the house. Scrub down countertops, phones, and doorknobs regularly. You can also wipe down the cart handle at the grocery store and bring your own toys when you take your kids to the doctor.
Boost your child’s immune system.
In addition to going on the offensive externally, you can boost your child’s defenses internally with a healthy diet. Foods high in phytonutrients can help boost the immune system. What foods are these, exactly? Look for deep-colored fruits and veggies, like blueberries, spinach, and sweet potatoes. The more color in the food, the more phytos – and immune-boosting power – it has. Canned and frozen varieties are also acceptable, as they can retain their Phyto power. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruits and veggies, a multivitamin can also help.
Getting exercise boosts energy and keeps stress levels down, which can help in the prevention of catching a cold or flu. Playing outside also exposes kids to sunlight, which is important for vitamin D production.
Get your seasonal flu vaccine.
One last step you can take to combat cold and flu season is to get the flu vaccine. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu, but you should talk to your doctor before deciding on getting your child vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the flu vaccine for healthy children aged six months to 18 years and children six months or older with serious health problems, such as lung disease, heart disease, or cancer. The vaccine is administered via injection or nasal spray. Both methods have their own possible side effects, but they are minimal and last, at most, one to two days.