With flu season in full swing, school absences are soaring, and there is hardly a place you can go where you don’t hear coughing and sneezing. Here are 7 things you can do as a parent to help your child avoid the flu like the plaque.
Get Them Vaccinated-This is trickier than it sounds. With the vaccine supply available sporadically in many localities, and with so many more people wanting the shot or mist this year, finding a place that has them available and can give the shot to young children will take persistence. Call your pediatrician, the health department, and local school weekly for an update on clinic sites and availability.
Keep Their Hands Clean-Make this a priority for everyone when returning home. Washing hands first cuts down on the number of germs that can be transferred from the outside world to inside your home on door handles, the refrigerator, and many other common services that are used by everyone. Clean hands help keep all in your family healthy by getting rid of the germs before they can be ingested or enter the body when unclean hands rub eyes and nose.
Serve Healthy Meals-Foods high in Vitamin C boost the body’s immune system and help the body fight off germs naturally. Such foods include oranges, cranberries, kiwi, and pineapple, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. Fortunately, there are many more Vitamin C foods than the ones listed here, and you are likely to have a pretty easy time finding a variety of foods that your child will enjoy.
Let Them Sleep-8 hours of sleep each night will give your child’s immune system adequate time to rest, and rejuvenate. This is a particularly important part of helping a child stay healthy.
Control Exposure-Avoid crowds made up of John Q Public where there are likely to be a large number of people, many of whom may be contagious without realizing it.
Kill the Germs-Use disinfecting wipes to sanitize the frequently used surfaces in your home. Door knobs, computer keyboards, draw pulls, light switches, book bags, car steering wheels, and car door handles are places where germs can lie in wait and hop a ride on the unsuspecting hands of potential hosts.
Reduce Airborne Viruses-Help your child develop the habit of coughing and sneezing on their arm rather than in their hands. This keeps hands cleaner and reduces germs on frequently used surfaces.
Good hygiene habits greatly reduce the number of viruses and germs that are sent and airborne. And the fewer germs there are in the air, the less chance that the flu virus will invade your child’s body.