This is not intended to be medical advice. As always, check with your child’s pediatrician for all medical concerns.
It’s that time of the year again. Cold and flu season is upon us so I thought I’d share how to germ proof your kid.
You’ll never be able to stop every sickness but with these tips, you’ll be able to prevent some and lessen the severity of others. And that is reason enough to implement these tips!
How To Prevent Your Kids From Getting Sick
So you hear the neighborhood kid has the stomach flu and you’ve developed a case of the sick anxieties, am I right? ?No fear fellow parent, I got you covered!
Here are some practical tips to help you keep your kids healthy!
Diet is important for keeping kids healthy. Making sure your kids get their recommended amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients(vitamins, minerals, trace metals, etc) will help their immune system.
There is a lot of emerging research that suggests that having good gut health is important for immunity. Having a balanced diet full of a wide variety of plant-based foods is the start of good gut health.
So what does that look like for your children? Well, I personally try to offer veggies and fruits with every meal. I also serve a variety of grains to help feed their good gut bacteria.
Does this mean my kids always eat it? No. Ha! But the key is to always offer it. That way they get used to eating healthy foods.
Another thing that is important to keep kids healthy is sleep. There are studies that show that not getting enough sleep can affect your immune system. Then if you’re exposed to a virus or bacteria, you’re more likely to get sick.
How much sleep do your kids need? Well, it depends on the kid but here are some guidelines.
- Infants 4 months to 12 months should get 12-16 hours
- Children 1 to 2 years should get 11-14 hours
- Kids 3 to 5 years should get 10-13 hours
- Kids 6-12 years should get 9-12
- Teenagers 13 to 18 years should get 8 to 10 hours
I have one child that never sleeps the “recommended” amounts. I used to worry about her not getting enough sleep but she is growing fine and is overall a pretty healthy kid.
You know your child! If you think there are issues or that they’re truly not getting enough sleep, talk to their doctor.
For more information check out the American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines here.
Regular, moderate exercise contributes to good health, which means a healthy immune system. Aim to get your kids an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.
Feeding your kids a diet rich in Vitamin C may help prevent or reduce the severity of a cold. Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods will help your kids stay healthy.
Here are a few examples:
- Orange Juice
- Red, Green or Yellow Pepper
- Sweet Potato
- Winter Squash
Many studies have shown that washing your hands is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of infections. Kids come in contact with germs from other people, animals, and objects and then touch their eyes, nose, and mouths.
Teaching kids to not touch their faces before washing their hands will help to reduce spreading germs but that is a tough thing for kids to remember so making sure that they wash their hands frequently is a more realistic plan.
When to wash hands:
- After playing or being in contact with someone who is sick
- After going to the bathroom
- Before eating
- After blowing your nose or coughing into your hands
- After playing with animals or visiting a petting zoo
- When you get home from school or daycare
- Following a trip to the doctor’s office
Use simple soap and wash hands vigorously for 20 seconds. You can teach kids to sing along to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or the ABC’s as they wash. Those songs take about 20 seconds to sing and are a good way to teach how long to wash your hands. Kids love learning things with songs!
Good Cleaning Practices
You gotta clean your house to get rid of those pesky germs. Some germs like the stomach bug can live on surfaces for weeks. Eeeewwww.
Cleaning your home regularly can help to reduce the germs in your house. Pick a schedule that you’ll actually stick to and focus on germ areas and clean those areas regularly.
- Sinks, faucets, fridge door handle, countertops, cutting boards.
- Toilet seats, flush handle, bathtub, shower floor, toothbrush holder.
- Floors, doorknobs, remotes, phones, pet bowls.
- Any room where someone who has been sick is.
- Dishrags or sponges. Only use for one day and then wash.
The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age gets their flu shot. The flu shot helps prevent the flu, reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalization and can be life-saving. The flu shot can also protect people around you from getting sick.
Protect Them Without Stressing
While It’s not possible to fully germ proof your kids, you may be able to reduce the number of infections they get each year.
As tempting as it may be, you don’t need to slather everything with antiseptic. You just need some practical, everyday techniques to help reduce your family’s number of colds/flu each year.
I know from personal experience that stress about sickness can actually increase your likelihood of getting sick. Being sick as a parent is no fun. So try to relax and use these tips on yourself as well!
Posts you might like:
- 50 Healthy Snacks For Kids
- Stop Constipation Quickly With These Awesome Tips
- How To Create The Best Invitations To Play
Do you have any tips that help reduce the number of germs in your home?