Let’s face it: Kids are walking germ magnets. They touch things they shouldn’t, put things in their mouths, and sneeze on each other with reckless abandon. Keeping kids away from germs is an impossible task, but you can take comfort in knowing there are steps you can take to reduce their exposure to germs and boost their immune systems, which will make them (and in turn, you) less susceptible to illness. Here are 12 ways to help keep your kids healthy this cold and flu season.
Feed Them Well
Whole-body wellness requires whole, healthy foods. Make sure your kids are eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains. If your kids are picky eaters, look for recipes that “hide” veggies inside, such as chocolate chip zucchini bread or meatloaf with shredded carrots.
Give Them Vitamins
Even if they are eating well, kids can still use a little extra boost in the vitamin department. Kids’ bodies are not only trying to maintain health, they are trying to grow. Multivitamins are a great way to make sure your child is getting the entire spectrum of support their body needs. Check out our alternaVites Giveaway to get you started.
Use Essential Oils
Certain essential oils, when diffused or applied topically, can boost the immune system and kill germs. One such essential blend, called Thieves, is made by Young Living. Thieves is a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus oils and has been shown to have antibacterial properties that can clear the air of germs.
Just Say No to Orifices
Noses and eyes and mouths, oh my! If your kid can stick a finger in it, they are going to stick a finger in it. Remind them — continuously — not to stick their fingers in their orifices. Germs enter the body through mucous membranes, which are found abundantly in mouths, eyes and noses.
Dress Them Appropriately
If I had a nickel for every time my grandma said, “You’ll catch your death of cold!” when I left the house without a coat on, I’d be a millionaire. Experts go back and forth on whether dressing warmly will keep you healthier but since it’s a pretty easy thing to do, just do it.
Reinforce Hand Washing
Something as simple as proper hand washing can go a long way to reduce your child’s exposure to germs. Not only should your children be washing their hands, but everyone they come in contact with should be as well. This includes you, health care providers, teachers, and food service workers.
Disinfect Their Environment
During cold and flu season, make it a point to clean their toys more often. This will help keep illness from recurring — you never know what virus is hiding at the bottom of the toy box!
Teach Them Sick Manners
It’s important to teach your kids proper manners when they are sick, such as coughing into their elbow or covering their mouths when they sneeze. Hopefully your kids’ good manners will provide a good example for other children to follow, and this will help reduce the overall amount of airborne germs floating around.
Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep
No body systems function properly without enough sleep, and this goes for the immune system as well. Getting your kids to bed on time can help keep them be happier and healthier.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar actually reduces the body’s immune system response to illness. Keeping sugar to a minimum is always a good idea, but it’s important to cut back even further during cold and flu season.
Increase Water Intake
Keeping your child properly hydrated will help their systems flush away toxins. Moving the bad stuff out quickly will give your child’s body a chance to fight off illness or recover more quickly.
Get Fresh Air and Exercise
Even when it’s cold outside, fresh air and exercise are still important. It’s okay to skip the rainy days or stay inside when there’s a blizzard blowing, but if you’ve got some clear, sunny days, get out there and go sleigh riding or build a snowman. It will be good for you and them.
Keeping your kids healthy isn’t complicated — it’s common sense. The steps you take year-round to be healthy are the same ones you take during cold and flu season, just with more emphasis and dedication. Have a happy, healthy winter!
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