Protecting Your Kids From Winter Illnesses

Although it is impossible to keep your children healthy all year round and being sick is just part of being a kid, you can take some precautions to reduce the risk of illnesses. A healthy diet and plenty of sleep will help strengthen your child’s immune system. Regular hand washing and not sharing drinks with other kids prevent bacterial or viral contamination. The following tips will help you make sure that the risk of getting sick is kept to a minimum:

1. Teach good etiquette

Besides the fact that colds are unpleasant and make your kid feel bad, the treatments can be very aggressive. For example, strep throat treatment involves the use of antibiotics and symptom relievers, but if you leave it untreated it can cause serious complications. Regular hand washing is one of the most basic ways to keep them healthy. Although most kids are slow at some tasks, hand washing is not one of them. Tell them they should scrub their hands for as long as it takes to sing happy Birthday twice.

2. Give them nutritious food

A healthy diet filled with nutrients and vitamins will strengthen the immune system and prevent illnesses from taking over your kid’s bodies. Because the efficacy of vitamins pills has been in question recently, it is important to ensure that your kids are getting them form the foods they eat. Although a balanced diet will not guarantee that your children stay disease-free, combined with other prevention methods it will certainly lower the risk.

3. Teach them not to share

Most parents usually encourage kids to share with their friends and schoolmates. However, sharing has a limit and that limit is drawn when it comes to drinks. While most kids will be tempted to take a swig from their friend’s juice box or thermos, explain to them that when it comes to drinks they should only use their bottles. Give them a reusable water bottle to school and tell them to use it instead of the fountain which may become contaminated during the flu season. Although sharing is caring, sharing germs is not.

4. Avoid germ magnets

During the height of cold season, minimize the exposure to illnesses by avoiding germ magnets such as play areas in the mall and neighborhood playgrounds. However, research shows that kids who contract more viruses tend to have a stronger immune system as adults. If you need to get out of the house and are willing to power through the colds and flu, you can take your chances at the playground.

5. Prevent others from getting sick

Another important aspect is to prevent other people from getting sick if your child catches something. For example, a sick individual undergoing strep throat treatment is still contagious 24 hours until the antibiotics kill the bacteria. Keep the little one at home for a couple of days just to be sure. Most infections spread through coughing of sneezing, and that is why they are so contagious. Teach your children to sneeze and cough in a tissue or their sleeve at the elbow to prevent the spread of germs. If they sneeze onto their hands, the germs will contaminate everything they touch.

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