Every parent of a school age child can agree on one thing unanimously, children get sick far more often once they go to school. Sure, there may be some initial excitement when you think of all the free time your going to have in the morning after they climb on the bus. That’s quickly washed away however, by the realization that everyone is going to be sick until next June!
You cannot keep your child home and homeschooling is a very in-depth process, one most mothers don’t have time for. So what can you do – besides buying stock in Puffs?
Well don’t panic just yet guys, because there are some very easy ways to keep your school bound baby from catching the flu’s!
Make Sure Everyone is Getting Enough Sleep
Okay sure lady … we all know that already, duh! Do you know why sleeping is important if you want to avoid a cold or flu …. huh, smarty britches?
There are numerous ways in which sleep, or the lack of it, effects out immune system. The immune system is directly responsible for warding off infections and viruses. Skipping all of the scientific mambo jambo – getting enough sleep allows us to recharge out batteries and our immune system. If we don’t sleep our bodies cannot effectively fight a virus with a fever. If your immune system is strong, you may be able to avoid getting the virus all together!
Also, did you know that not getting enough sleep can reduce the effectiveness of a flu shot? Well … it can!
Everyone is different and requires a different amount of sleep but generally adults should get around eight hours while children need around ten or more!
Wash Your Hands … and Then Wash Them Again!
It would shock you to find out exactly how many people don’t wash their hands after doing something grimy! In fact, according to this study from CBS News even people who do wash their hands, don’t wash them right!
According to the Center of Disease Control, up to 50% of deaths contributed to viruses could have been prevented by proper hand washing!
Another scary fact? 40% of the time when you’ve had diarrhea it could have been avoided by someone washing their hands! Yep!
Teaching your children proper hand washing techniques can dramatically reduce their chance of contracting a virus!
Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face
Your lips are chapped, what do you do? Grab your chap stick of course! You might apply it with your finger or use your finger to rub it in, but did you wash your hands first? No You Did Not … and now your sick!
People touch their faces several times a day without realizing it and without washing their hands before or afterwards. If you have touched something that was contaminated with a virus and then put your hand near your mouth, your more likely to contract that virus.
The next time you find yourself reaching towards your face, try to remember all of the things you have touched since the last time you washed your hands.
Teaching your children to break this habit can be hard since kids love to put everything is their mouth! If they’re not eating it they’re probably licking it! However, it could reduce your family’s chances of becoming sick immensely.
Cover Your Mouth and Watch Out for People who Don’t
If you notice someone cough or sneeze and they didn’t cover their mouth, run! Seriously, run Forest … because it’s coming for you! Charity starts at home people!
Teach your children to cough or sneeze into a tissue or to cover their mouth and then wash their hands. If other kids see them doing it, they might parrot that good behavior. If not well, it is okay to politely ask someone to cover their mouth!
Stay Hydrated … With Water!
Drinking anything that is high in sugar can actually have a reverse effect on your body. For hydration purposes, water is the absolute best thing you could have your child drink. There are countless flavored choices today if your little one doesn’t (or just won’t) drink normal water.
Everyone is different in the amount of water their body needs to remain hydrated and several factors, like sweating, can play a role in this. Dehydration is nothing to mess around with and can make a person feel pretty crappy, even without a cold or flu! It also lowers your immune system and causes your body not to fight of an invasion as successfully!
So … chug chug chug!
Promote Healthy Eating in Your Home
Listen, I get it! Between running errands, working, school activities, homework and housework it can be really hard not to give into the temptation of fast cook frozen or canned meals. It’s a terrible idea if you want to avoid getting sick!
Most of those foods are so high in fat or carbohydrates that they work against your immune system. Your body needs a healthy balance of all kinds of different foods and you won’t get that unless you’re preparing home cooked or healthy meals!
Make sure you pack healthy snacks for your children and lunches if they take their own. There are thousands of fun ways to get your children to not only eat, but like vegetables!
Take Your Vitamins
Everyone in your household should take a multi-vitamin if you even suspect you’re not getting enough nutritious foods. Even if you are, a multi-vitamin is still a good idea, especially around cold and flu season!
There are certain vitamins, like C and D, that you should be especially aware of and make sure you get plenty of them into your diet during flu season. Educated yourself on which of these are best and what foods to eat more of to get those required alphabets!
Steer Clear of Germ Neighborhoods
Teaching your children what areas and things to be more aware of is not a bad idea! They don’t want to get sick either and will listen to you, if you take the time to talk and explain it to them. Some especially germy places could include:
- Playground equipment
- Classroom Toys (although most teachers do take precautions)
- Gym equipment (these are often overlooked)
- Cafeteria trays
- Water fountains
- Trash cans
- School Busses
- Sports equipment
- Door handles
- Tissue Boxes
- Paper towel dispensers
And many other things. This is just a small example of high risk areas that children should be more aware of. If they touch these areas, wash their hands. Sanitizer is not a good substitution for a hand washing, but works in a pinch (as long as it is FDA approved).
I know this is the exact opposite of what you’ve probably pounded into their heads since birth, but if you want to remain flu free you have to make sacrifices! There are some things that your children just shouldn’t share at school. Drinks, food, supplies, clothing and gear are all examples of these things. Sometimes it cannot be helped but otherwise they should get into the habit of not sharing.
This could end up putting your loved one in a tough spot when another kid asks to share something, and they will!
Don’t tell your kid “don’t share or else!” Explain the reason why to them so they can make an informed decision on their own. If they think they’re going to be at more risk of getting sick, they will listen!
Teach them how to politely tell other children why mommy doesn’t want them to share and if it is becoming a giant problem, double up on something! If another child doesn’t have crayons of their own and constantly asks your kid for theirs, buy another “share set”. This way your babe doesn’t have to feel like a jerk just saying no!
Come on, you knew this was coming! Believe it or not this is the miracle cure, the holy grail of preventative ideas if you will. People who exercise regularly are almost 50% less likely to develop a cold or flu!
Getting exercise doesn’t have to be a chore! There are hundreds of ways you can play with your child and have fun, while exercising! So put down the video games and cell phones and go outside and play!
Keep Packed Lunches and Snacks Cold
Most lunches that are brought to school spoil long before lunch time. They don’t get so bad that they are inedible but warm food heightens the chance of food borne illnesses.
Freeze water bottles and use them for ice packs, this works for juice boxes too. They will keep food cold and have melted by lunch time!
There are a ton of lunch packing tips and tricks that you can find easily online!
Well that’s it folks! If you follow all of the advice above you’ll have a much higher chance of either not getting sick or being sick much less than normal! The key is teaching your children all of these healthy behaviors and the best way to teach them is to be a good role model!
I wish all of my fellow Buggy families the best this cold and flu season! Good luck guys!
Ps. If you have another idea or way that your family avoids getting sick PLEASE share on the comment below! All help and advice is needed and appreciated guys! It takes a village!