Navigating colds, flu and sickness as a parent can feel like an everlasting challenge. Your little one’s immune system is still developing, which makes them more susceptible to germs and illness.
Here are 10 tips to support your kid’s growing body during cold and flu season.
1. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
Food provides the nutrients that help your body work the way it should, and when it does, it’s more effective at fighting off germs and sickness. It also gives them the energy to play and be active, which also helps strengthen their immune system.
2. Teach good handwashing habits
Make sure they’re washing their hands often and use hand sanitizer on the go so that you’re limiting their exposure to sickness-causing germs.
3. Keep their vaccinations up to date
You can’t control the spread of illness, but you can manage the severity of it. Vaccinations prime your child’s body to recognise and fight dangerous bacteria and viruses. Also ensure that the rest of the family’s vaccinations are up to date to reduce their risk of getting sick.
4. Give sick people their personal space
It helps to make your child aware that when someone is coughing or sneezing, they should give that person a bit of space and avoid body contact as far as they can. No hugging a sick friend and don’t share their toys.
5. Stay fit as a family
Exercise keeps your body strong but also helps your immune system fight off germs. Movement increases blood flow and circulation, which means the cells helping with immunity can circulate more rapidly to deal with germs more effectively. Remember that exercise is just another word for active play and that riding a bike, kicking and catching balls, bouncing and running also count.
6. Leave school (and sickness) at the door
Where possible, keep backpacks and shoes by the door so that you don’t bring it in the house. Also wash hands immediately when you get home from school.
7. Get plenty of sleep
Resting gives our bodies time to recover and to heal. When your little one sleeps, their body can fight off germs, bacteria and viruses that make them feel ill.
8. Guard against germ-spread
Encourage your children to use their own school supplies and toys as far as possible, and don’t drink out of the same cups or bottles as others or share eating utensils.
9. Keep them hydrated
Water helps flush out toxins from the body and keeps mucus membranes moist. It’s also important to check that your little one keeps on drinking fluids when they are sick to prevent them from getting dehydrated, which could cause other complications.
10. Catch it early
While prevention is better than a cure, colds and flu aren’t always unavoidable. At the first sign of a sniffle, deal with it immediately so they can get up and running sooner. Whether that involves rest, staying hydrated and giving something to soothe them, or getting medication.