25 January 2017

4 Tips for Keeping Your Kids Flu-Free This Winter

One of the most common viruses to appear during fall and winter is influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are four different types of flu viruses that are more likely to spread during the fall and winter and all but one can pose a moderate to serious health risk to the very young, the very old, and to those who have compromised immune systems. While keeping the flu at bay can be a challenge, there are several strategies you can use to help keep your kids flu-free this winter.

1. Impose a Consistent Bedtime

While it might seem like your kids have a great deal of energy, a lack of sleep can negatively affect their immune systems and may increase their chances of catching the flu. Remain aware of any ill students in your children’s classes and if the risk of infection is higher for your child, then you should consider moving their bedtime back anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. This can be especially beneficial to elementary school children whose immune systems are still developing.

2. Increase Offerings of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

If you have teenagers in your home, they might be more apt to snack on chips and candy than on fresh fruits and vegetables, but giving them the option more often may help ward off the flu. Many fruits contain antioxidants and vitamins that support the immune system. To encourage your older kids to eat more of these fruits, keep a fruit bowl by the front door and hand them apples, zipper bags full of cranberries, and bananas, which is one of the most portable fruits available.
You may believe that giving your children a daily supplement will protect them from catching the flu. However, while a one-a-day vitamin designed for their age may give their health a boost, eating fresh fruits delivers flavonoids and antioxidants to the body directly instead.

3. Establish a Hand-Washing Routine

If your kids are lax about how they wash their hands or if they have a habit of simply rinsing them after they use the toilet, it may be time to establish a more consistent routine. According to this infographic, your children should not only wash their hands after using the restroom but also after handling an object someone else has used, such as a book or a toy. Remind them to wash their hands often while they are at school, to use soap, and to wash for at least fifteen to twenty seconds.

4. Use Disinfectant

Household disinfectant is probably one of your go-to defenses when there is already a sick kid in the house, but it can be useful for killing germs that have yet to infect anyone as well. Many sprays today are designed to specifically kill flu germs, which can travel to your home on backpacks, jackets, and cell phones. In fact, when you think about how often your older kids pass their phones around to their friends, wiping them down with a disinfectant cloth several times a day should reduce your children’s risk of exposure to flu germs.
Keeping your kids flu-free over the winter can be daunting. However, you can protect their health in a number of small ways that can add up to good health all season long.