How to Avoid Getting Sick
For many families, this is the scariest time of the year. No, not Halloween. It’s the beginning of cold and flu season. *shiver* There’s nothing quite as frightening as watching a debilitating virus spread through a family from child to child and then, inevitably, parent to parent. There’s missed school, missed work, missed sleep – oh my! The good news is that there are some tricks parents can use to prevent the spread before it begins.
To stop germs in their tracks, help kids practice sneezing into their elbows and not their hands. In my family this took quite a bit of practice because we found that the kids actually sneezed into the air near their elbow rather than into the crook of their elbow. It’s also a good time of year to remind kids not to rub their eyes and noses unnecessarily, and this may be the perfect time to convince the resident thumb-sucker in your home that it’s better to keep hands and fingers out of mouths.
Who’s ready for some soapy singing? My husband and I got into the habit of frequent hand-washing when our first child was born two months premature during flu season, and we’ve taught our kids the importance of proper hand washing, especially before eating. Forcing kids to use hot water will discourage washing, so be sure that they know warm is just as helpful as hot if you’re using soap and washing properly. Ask kids to sing “Happy Birthday” so they know how long to wash, and be sure to include tops of hands and tips of fingers. Germs love kids’ hands from top to bottom!
Beyond the usual hygiene and germ avoidance, there are also steps families can take to help little bodies fight off big bugs. While late nights at birthday parties and football games are fun, don’t forget to help your kids settle down and catch enough Z’s during this time of year. Proper sleep actually helps us fight viruses before they make us sick, and this scary, spooky, flu season, wouldn’t it be nice to stop those frightening bugs in their tracks?