You Can Keep Your Family Healthy Throughout Cold and Flu Season

6-keep-kids-healthy-cold-fluThe onset of cold and flu season strikes a chill in the hearts of parents everywhere. The thought one sick child, let alone an entire family struck down at once, is full of the prospect of domestic disruption and misery. Especially since it generally happens that everyone gets sick in succession and at the worst possible moment. You don’t have to live in fear however, there are basic steps that you can take to keep your family happy and healthy. When it comes to cold and flu season, take a page from the boy scouts’ book and Be Prepared!

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Before the season truly gets underway, take stock of your situation. Make sure that your family has had its annual check ups and that you have addressed any health concerns you might have for them with their regular physician. Arrange to get your eligible family members vaccinated against the flu and generally work to ensure that your family is in their best health before September begins. This means making sure that they get plenty of rest and are relaxed and happy. Going back to school in good health is a great way to start the year. You and your children will no doubt become run down as the year goes on, but the longer you can prevent that from happening, the better shape you will be in when it comes to fighting off disease.

Fortify the Troops

A healthy immune system is the surest route to a healthy child and in order to get there, you must provide your child’s growing immune system with appropriate fuel and resources. Make sure that your children are eating right during flu season. Vegetables especially, carry the vitamins and minerals that your child needs to protect themselves against infection. Proper daily doses of immune enhancing materials found in foods like dark green, yellow, and red fruits and vegetables as the bacteria in yogurt can help to build up your immune system before illness has a chance to strike. Similarly, make sure that your child is properly hydrated—water flushes the system and helps to remove poisons from the body.

Practice Good Hygiene

Before your children go back to school remind them, and yourself to practice good hygiene habits. A few simple habits and behaviors are all it takes to drastically reduce your chances of infection when colds and flus are going around. Make sure that they:

• Wash hands regularly-especially before and after eating or when around sick people.
• Refrain from touching their face—bacteria and viruses most commonly enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth so keep germy hands away from these areas.
• Cover mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze—do this with your elbow and not your hand to reduce the transmission of germs to your face and other people’s airspace. A tissue, if handy, is even better.

These simple practices will help you to protect your family from the ravages of cold and flu season.

Quick Tips for Handling Flu Season

Facing the onset of cold and flu season every year is like girding for battle. You know that someone is going to get sick and you are just hoping you can prevent it from causing a complete and utter meltdown in your family’s lives. You hope that it only happens once or twice, that it isn’t anything serious, and above all, that it doesn’t happen to everyone all at once. It can be completely overwhelming, to say the least, no matter how many times you have been through it.

You can get through it though. You just need to take time to marshal your forces and we have a few good tips to help you do just that.

Preventing the Illness in the First Place

Begin your attack by working to prevent illness from entering your home in the first place. Chances are you already know how to do this, so practice a little common sense in combating germs. You can start by making sure your family has been vaccinated against the flu. This won’t ensure that you will stay healthy, but it will make you immune to the major strains going around each year and is one of the best and easiest ways to protect your health. Stop illness at the door by making your home a healthy place.

A clean home is less likely to harbor the germs that can cause colds, so clean commonly used surfaces regularly with germ fighting agents like alcohol or bleach. Finally, send your family out into the world protected from disease. They should be eating a healthy diet, drinking all their fluids, and getting a solid amount of rest. All of these things will contribute to a strong and healthy immune system—one that is ready to fight off disease.

Coping with Cold and Flu

In spite of all your hard work, it seems almost inevitable that at least one member of your family will come down with an illness before the season has ended. Don’t despair. Instead, work to make sure that they recover comfortably and quickly. This will help to minimize the impact of the disease on your household. Start by isolating the sick child from other children wherever you can. Complete isolation is usually neither an option nor desirable, but you can limit contact and enforce hygiene rules.

Make sure the sick child gets plenty of rest and fluids. In most cases, this will get them back on their feet in no time, but pay attention as childhood illnesses can become serious with little warning. If you are at all concerned, take your child to the doctor immediately. Once the child is on the mend, you can relax your vigilance a little and allow them more contact with other family members.

Don’t allow a sick family member to return to school, work, and other social activities before they have fully recovered. Not only will that continue the spread of disease, but it may open their weakened immune system up to whatever else might be ‘going around’.

You might also find the following helpful:

Children's BMI Chart

School Lunch Ideas

Fitness for Kids

Child Fever Basics

Picky Eaters 101




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