Everywhere is bursting with germs and children are very prone to these germs because their immune system is still developing. Your child’s immune system is not as strong as yours, which is why they are the first to catch these illnesses.
Different seasons of the year come with different airborne diseases and right now it’s flu season. Cold and flu are definitely in the air and you can reduce the chances of your little one falling ill and catching the flu, stomach bug or common cold.
It’s normal as a parent to worry about the health of your children but worrying won’t do much if you don’t prepare them for it.
1. Keep Their Hands Clean
Get your children to keep washing their hands. Hand sanitizers are great, but they are not enough. Nothing beats the efficient effect of the good old soap and water.
Encourage your children to wash their hands every time. When they get in from school, before they eat a meal, before they have their snacks, and even after playtime.
You can make a game out of it or teach them a song about hand washing. It’ll make it easier for them to keep doing this task. Children either always put their hands in their mouths along with eating snacks with their hands.
When your children regularly wash their hands, it reduces the risk of germs being transferred from one kid to another or, worst case, from their hands into their mouths. Try to curb any nail-biting habits as well.
Drying their hands is just as important as washing it because studies have shown that wet hands are more likely to spread germs and bacteria than a well-dried hand. You can make sure they pick out their hand towel in the shape, color or design they would like so as to encourage them to keep washing their hands.
Keeping their hands clean also involves short fingernails that can not harbor dirt and hitherto germs and bacteria. If you’re out of the house, you can supplement the handwashing process with antibacterial wipes.
2. Boost Their Immune System
While growing up, a child’s immune system is not yet strong enough.
A child’s immune system does not fully develop until they are almost two years old but there are a few ways to boost their immunity and make it stronger. Find some options below.
Fruits and vegetables; Your child may not want to eat their greens but you have to devise methods and ways for them to eat these nutrient-filled vegetables. Carrots, oranges, and broccoli all contain vitamin C which increased the production of white blood cells in your baby’s body. White blood cells are the cells in the body that fights infections, viruses, and germs. Children should have at least a cup of fruit and veggies daily. Yogurts and walnuts are also great snacks for immune system development.
You can sneak some vegetable servings into their meals by making their favorite meal but with an extra dash of vegetables or you can blend it up as a smoothie. Some other ideas to make it more palatable for your little ones is to cut it into fun, little shapes and make an interactive game with them. They’ll clear their plates before they know the trick. Feeding them with fruits and vegetables is one of the fastest and most effective ways to boost their immunity and make it stronger.
Multivitamins and dietary supplements: If you have a picky eater on your hands, it makes it more difficult to feed them veggies, but you can try to supplement their diet with natural and organic means. Children older than three months of age can take these supplements. Daily multivitamins such as Haliborange and Zarbees Natural increase your baby’s chances of fighting off unwanted bacteria in their bloodstream. Just be sure to check in with your pediatrician before you begin the medication.
Food rich in probiotics: Banana, peas, asparagus, and cottage cheese are some examples of food rich in probiotics that you can incorporate in your baby’s diet. This class of food contains good bacteria that help your baby’s immune system by building up their digestive tract. Experts argue that it is just as effective as antibiotics.
There are also some gummies that your child would love to chew one which will help the probiotic bacteria in his gut and help his immunity.
If your child is still an infant, breastfeeding them also boosts their immune system. The breast milk is filled with antibodies that protect your child from all sorts of infections and diseases. It contains human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which strengthen and support your baby’s immune system all through their growth process. Breast milk is not called “liquid gold” for nothing! You can choose to breastfeed your child for how long you like, but doctors recommend to nurse infants till they are about one year old.
3. Keep Them Active
Take away the iPad and buy some developmental toys for your little ones. It might be some more work for you, but encourage them to run around and engaging in semi-strenuous activities keeps their blood pumping and wards off any infections that may want to get into their bloodstream. Continuous exercise keeps them active and increases the circulation of the white blood cells and antibodies that protect the body from disease.
If the weather is favorable, let them play outdoors. Vitamin D in the sun is good for their bones and their immune system. Even during the holidays or during winter, make sure that your child gets at least thirty minutes of fresh air.
4. Get a Good Night’s Rest
Someone once said everything feels better once it’s turned off for a while. Children who get enough sleep as less likely to catch an infection than children who don’t sleep enough. Sleep deprivation doubles the risk of getting infected because your body system is working overtime to keep you awake.
Getting enough sleep keeps your immunity in fighting shape
The number of hours recommended for children differs from their age. From newborn to 12 months of age, children should have about 15-17 hours of sleep. Children age 1-3 are expected to sleep for 12-14 hours per day while children 4 years and above usually sleep for 10-12 hours. Create a comfortable nap schedule for your child to keep him/her healthy.
5. Keep the Home Clean
A dirty and dusty home is the easiest way for your little one to fall ill. Keep the house clean and tidy. Different surfaces are easy carriers for bacteria. Imagine if your kid already got the flu virus from daycare and handles the remote controller and his sibling collects that controller and it eventually ends up in mom’s hands. That way, everyone has come in contact with the flu virus and is at risk of falling ill.
This is why you should always wipe every surface they get in contact with. The keyboards, doorknobs, and the tables in the house. You should also wipe their toys after play to get rid of any germs. Trains, dolls, and even stuffed animals are homes to different viruses and bacteria.
Also, make sure to wash the cleaning supplies with disinfectant. You can also soak them in hot, soapy water with the purpose of preparing them for the next time you need to use them to clean.
6. Get Vaccinated
There are so many controversies and concerns regarding vaccinating little children, but if you’re all for the needle, your kids can get the flu shot and this will protect them from all the different germs and viruses in the air. It’s advised that everyone in the family gets the flu shot, including you and your spouse. One sick person can easily infect the whole household.
If you are not convinced about the effects and importance of vaccinating your kids, try to research as much as you can before making a final decision not to get that flu shot.
7. Keep Them Hydrated
Water is one of the earth’s natural resources that is endless in its benefits. Make sure your little one drinks a lot of water regardless of the season. Water helps to flush out toxins and it also keeps your oxygen-rich blood pumping all through the body. If your child drinks enough water, they will not be prone to different diseases.
If your child does not like drinking water, you can try to make water more fun for them by infusing some flavors, fruits or bubbles. You can also try to get them a water bottle they like. It could be a character from their favorite cartoon or a funnily-shaped bottle. Water is one of the most important and essential liquids for every child’s development.
As a parent, make a conscious effort to avoid your children getting sick. Apart from the fact that them being in pain will break your heart, chances are you would also end up sick from proximity and taking care of them. But if the odds are not in your favor and your little one ends up bedridden from flu or the common cold, be sure to call the pediatrician for advice and consultation.