How to protect your child from colds and flu

As the seasons start to change and the air gets a little cooler, so the everlasting cold and flu bugs start to rear their ugly little heads.

As moms we call them change of season illnesses but how do we prepare our children to have stronger immune systems and hopefully swat those cold and flu bugs away?

Understanding our children’s immune systems

Young children are still developing their immune systems and thus are susceptible to every germ, cold, flu and illness in the air.

When I worked at the preschool, I joked that I caught every plague the kids had and when Hamish was a baby attending day care he often spent more time at home with yet another illness than at the daycare centre.

Knowing this, we as moms can however do a few things to help our little ones develop those immune systems and protect against illness.

Here are a few ways in which you can help your children be more healthy during flu season.

Handwashing

Covid taught us the importance of not only learning to wash our hands correctly and often but of using hand sanitisers on the go to minimize our children’s exposure to germs.

Instill in your child early good habits of washing their hands after going to the bathroom, before eating good and after playing outside.

We like to keep soap and water at child height to encourage them to learn to independently wash their hands and develop healthy habits.

Fruit and vegetables 

We need the nutrients,vitamins and minerals in the fruit and vegetables that we eat to help our bodies grow. Eating correctly will assist your child’s body at being more effective at fighting off sickness.

Fresh food also gives your child the energy to play outside and stay active, which will strengthen your child’s immune system.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are a controversial subject among many parents but it has been proved that vaccines can help children fight off serious diseases and bacteria.

Stay away from sick people

In the 90’s as a young mom I was always happy for my children to play with the family who had chicken pox and measels. The thought behind that was that all 6 of my children could then get their childhood illnesses at the same time.

Hamish however was born with severe allergies and a less resistant immune system and I whole-heartedly avoided anyone who was sick. In fact we still do.

Avoiding sick people may be a bit of an extreme but teaching our children to stand away from a friend coughing and sneezing won’t harm. We should also teach our children to cough into their arms or a tissue and sneeze facing away from their friends.

As children love to hug each other, it also helps to point out that when friends are ill hugging can share germs. Also try to discourage sharing of water bottles and food when kids are sick.

Keep fit

The best way to fight germs is to stay healthy and to do this we exercise.  Exercise not only helps to build your immune system but also keeps your body strong.

As you move you increase blood flow and circulation, assisting the cells to fight off germs fater and more efficiently.

For children, exercise is any game or play that gets them moving. You could ride bikes, take a walk, play ball, or have a dance party in the lounge.

Sleep

It’s important to get enough sleep at night as rest gives our bodies enough time to heal and recover from any germs, bacteria or illness.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important. Water will help to flush out any toxins from the body, as well as keep the musus membranes moist.

Drinking enough fluids will prevent your child from getting dehydrated and agricating their illness further.

As moms we know that prevention is better than a cure, however, colds and flu are often unavoidable and so it’s always best to treat an illness as soon as you see the first sniffle or cough.¬†

 

 

 

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