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How To Keep Your Kids Healthy During The Flu Season
There are certain times of the year that leave our children more prone to sickness then others. The changing of the weather before and after winter are the worst times for sickness among both children and adults. It seems like almost everyone comes down with something during this time, from a simple cold to flu or other illness. However there are ways that you can help your children be better prepared and hopefully miss the worst of the flu season. Here are some suggestions:
- Flu shot – The flu vaccine is recommended for young children and older adults, but some people have issues with it. For some, it can make flu like symptoms appear for a short time after getting the injection. For others they fear the side effects of long term use of a flu vaccine. There are also those who get the flu anyway, as the injection only protects against one or two particular strains of the ever mutable flu virus. However, flu vaccines are available in many convenient places and are usually free or very affordable. They can help to protect your child against the most common strains of flu that are present for that year. Remember that your child will need to get a new vaccine every year as they do not last for more than that length of time. Some doctors also offer a shot alternative in the form of a nose spray, but that vaccine has not been tested rigorously for effectiveness and some have even been taken off the market because they do not work. Talk to your doctor about the health risks and advantages to giving your child a flu vaccine.
- Washing hands – Another great and simple way to help your child stay well is to encourage them to wash their hands regularly. They should be trained to wash their hands after sneezing or coughing, after playing with other people’s toys, after leaving a doctor’s office, and other places that they come into contact with unclean surfaces. The grocery store and the toy store are two big places that people often forget to wash their hands after getting home. There are so many people touching, sneezing and coughing in those places that it is a good idea to wash your hands after going there. Mass transportation like buses and trains are also great places to be exposed to germs, so you should encourage your child to wash their hands after they get off the school bus.
- Vitamin C – One of the great vitamins for fighting off illness is vitamin C. Found in citrus, this vitamin is a great boost to your immune system. Best of all, you practically cannot overdose on it. Your body naturally processes it out in your urine after consumption, so you do not have to be afraid of giving your child too much vitamin C. Not only is it great for helping the immune system fight of bacteria and viruses, but it is also tasty. Vitamin C supplements come in chewable orange or blackcurrant flavored tablets for children who have a hard time swallowing pills. Some tablets have fun shapes, so kids do not mind taking them. You can also substitute fruit juices high in vitamin C, like orange juice, for the nutritionally absent soft drinks your children usually consume.
- Multi vitamin – Vitamin C is not the only vitamin that can help to keep your children’s immune systems strong this flu season. It is a good idea to have your children take a multi vitamin every day to keep them going strong. Many children’s multi vitamins come in fun shapes and tasty flavors like grape, cherry, or orange. These vitamins are usually affordable and come indifferent types for different needs. Some have extra iron, some have more calcium and some have extra vitamin c. You can kill two birds with one stone if you give your kids a multi vitamin every day. There have also been studies that have shown that children who have the proper vitamins and minerals in their system do better in school and have an easier time concentrating.
- Healthy eating –Speaking of concentrating, did you know that your child’s diet effects not only their health but their mental abilities as well? A balanced and healthy diet can help your child perform better in school and have fewer sick days. A diet full of fruits and vegetables helps children’s bodies to stay strong and able to fight off infections and viruses like the flu. It is also a good idea to make sure they eat breakfast. It is the first meal of the day and can help your child to start out strong. Try to avoid sugary treats and nutritionally deficient foods in favor of healthy juices and high protein alternatives.
- Sanitizing toys –One thing that you may not have thought of is sanitizing your child’s toys. When your child finishes playing with their toys or is away at school, try to do a quick clean up. You can spray the toys with a child safe cleaning agent or even soak the toys in a diluted bleach mixture. Killing the germs that are already there can help keep your child healthy and prevent reinfection of an illness that they have recently overcome. This is also a practice that teachers and child care providers should employ. Keeping children’s play things clean is the first step to keeping them healthy.
- Proper hygiene –Another important factor to children’s continued health is teaching them proper hygiene. Simple ideas like covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough or even using a tissue to wipe a runny nose instead of your shirt are things that need to be repeated over and over again to young children. These simple steps can help to keep them healthy longer and also help to prevent them from infecting other children. It is also a good idea to provide children with waterless hand sanitizer so that they can clean their hands even when they can’t get to a sink.
- Protecting others – If your child does have symptoms of illness, you should keep them home from school and other activities. Even a slight fever can be a sign of serious infection, and the early stages are when it is most likely to be passed on to others. As a responsible parent it is your responsibility to think of the welfare of other children and keep your child from spreading the virus further. I know it is hard to have your child miss a day of school, but it is sometimes necessary to prevent them from spreading the virus or getting sicker themselves. Rest and recuperation are often the key to getting better faster, and that means fewer missed days in the long run.
These are just a few of the ways that you can keep your children from getting hit by the flu virus this flu season. As you can see, we are all surrounded by sickness every day. All we can do is keep as clean as possible and keep our bodies in the best health to fight off illness. Eating a balanced diet and living hygienically are the first steps to staying healthy. Encourage your children to think of others and help prevent the spread of illness in their schools and busses. You can also help them to understand that sickness is a part of life, something we all go through, and enable them to deal with it in a positive and healthy manner.
Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance. He is a regular contributor of “www.gonannies.com/”. You can get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.