Keep the Flu Away From Your Child
By Donna Stark
We keep our children safe from the scary creature that sleeps under their bed and the troll that lives in their closet, but there is one type of monster that we can't completely protect them from ... the flu bug. And even though the word "bug" gives a cute ring to this monster's name, make no mistake about it, there is nothing cute about the flu. Its symptoms can seriously lay out a person, and although most children recover within a week or so, some are hit especially hard and may even need to be hospitalized.
Reducing the Risk
While it's not possible to keep every little germ away from your children (hello daycare, school, and friends), it is possible to teach them healthy habits and behaviors that can boost their immune system and decrease the chances of picking up an infection. Here are some basic tips.
- Washing hands - Repeated hand washing throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs, so it's important to teach your children how to wash their hands well, especially before they sit down to eat, after they blow their nose, and after they finish using the bathroom. They should wash their hands for at least 30 seconds or as long as it takes for them to recite the alphabet ... slowly!
- Coughing and sneezing - Stop the airborne transfer of germs by teaching your children how to safely cover their coughs and sneezes. Covering them with their hands may be instinctual, but it can easily spread germs through contact with others. Show your children the importance of sneezing and coughing into their elbows or into a tissue.
- Touching the face - Encourage your children to avoid touching their face during the flu season as the virus can easily enter the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes. Again, the importance of handwashing should be stressed here as well.
- Sharing - We always teach our children to share, but with the flu, you can teach them the exact opposite. Sharing is actually something you do not want to support! Tell your children to avoid sharing their drinks or utensils and to keep a safe distance from those who are showing symptoms of being sick.
Protecting Your Children
In addition to the tips above, make sure that you are providing plenty of nutrition for your children and that they are getting adequate sleep every night. When combined, all of these will help ward off that nasty flu monster and your children have a better chance of surviving the flu season totally unscathed!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lakewood, Colo.