It seems that once a cold or virus hits the classroom it runs the gamut from kid to kid and might even make the circuit more than once. So, what can we do to help ensure that our kid won’t catch it and bring it home?
One of the best ways to prevent illness from spreading is to wash hands frequently. Hand washing has long been touted as one of the best ways to fight infection. Your children should wash often, but especially after meals and using the restroom. Kids should also wash up or use hand sanitizer after preschool and play dates. Be sure she washes for 15 to 20 seconds (singing the Happy Birthday song helps time it right) and uses soap.
Experts agree kids who get a moderate amount of exercise every day can reduce their chances of catching something by 25 to 50 percent over a year’s time. Doctors hypothesize that exercise may boost the circulation of immune cells, making them more effective where they are needed. Exercise has long been the recommendation for many health problems and prevention of others. Learning to be active and stay active will serve your kids well in the long run.
Sleep deprivation for adults and children alike can lower the ability to fight off infections. Make sure your child gets adequate rest each night. Stick with a regular early bedtime even on weekends to keep the ball rolling. Babies need 14 hours of sleep a day and preschoolers need 11-13 hours every day. Children 3 to 6 need 10 to 12 hours and from 7 to 12 kids should log 10 to 11 hours per night. From 12 to 18 children need 8 to 9 hours but rarely get that many due to social and school obligations.
Keep kids from touching their face to decrease the likelihood of getting a cold or virus. Germs enter through the eyes, nose and throat and, in addition to frequent hand washing, council kids to never drink after someone else or share food to cut the risk.
A healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables help stave off illnesses also. Broccoli, strawberries and oranges have a dose of vitamin C; tuna and cereal boost vitamin D. Many yogurts contain active biotic cultures called probiotics, and can help strengthen the immune system also.
Getting a yearly flu shot is the best way, doctors say, to fight off the flu, which causes multiple missed days each school year. Many pharmacies offer flu vaccination and many health insurance plans will pay for this in full so your co-pay is $0.
The CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months to be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available. Ideally this will be done by October, the projected start of the flu season. However, it is never too late to get vaccinated as long as the virus is circulating in your community.
We can’t prevent our children from ever getting sick, but there are steps we can take to ensure the whole family has the best chance to prevent colds and flu from taking hold.