With school back in session, it can be difficult to know the right way to keep your child safe and healthy. Sniffs and sneezes are all part and parcel of that back-to-school experience, but, now, in the times of COVID-19, they can be extra worrying. So, what can you, as a parent do to help your child keep their health in tip-top shape and stay healthy?
What’s the best way to keep my child healthy in the virus season?
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases, that’s why we’ve gathered the best ways to avoid getting a dreaded virus and keeping healthy during the back to school season.
Wash those hands! Went to the bathroom? Wash your hands. Sneezed? Wash your hands. Not washed your hands in the last hour? Guess what? It’s time to wash your hands. Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of a virus.
When you cough or sneeze, germs get onto those fingertips and palms. These can be passed to others, either by direct contact, touching objects, or even by food. Hand washing, and it must be with soap, helps remove viruses from your hands before they get into the respiratory system. Studies show that washing your hands could reduce the risk of passing on a respiratory infection, such as a cold, by between 6% - 44%!
So, before your little one heads off into the big world, make sure they know that handwashing is an essential, not an if-I-feel-like-it. At the very least, make sure they have some hand gel handy.
Get that PPE on!
Personal protective equipment. In recent months, there’s been a lot of debate on whether masks help. To date, evidence and recommendations suggest that they do and especially alongside social distancing, clean hands, and avoiding crowds. So, while wearing a mask, might not be a stop-it-all measure, it can help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.
Wearing a mask may take some getting used to, especially for your little one. But, it not only helps keep them safe but others too. How? Well, when it comes to respiratory illnesses, even before the symptoms start, you or your little one could be contagious and not even know it.
We all know takeaways and fast food are bad for us and are only ok for a rare once-in-a-while occasion. So, what should you be feeding your little one to keep them healthy? A varied diet.
Having a wide variety of healthy foods is the best support you can provide your little one for their immune system. Be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, some lean meats and fish for Omega-3, and wholegrain carbohydrates, such as pastas or breads.
Make sure to include anti-inflammatory foods, such as tomatoes, olive oil, leafy green veg, which can help keep the immune system healthy and reduce the duration of illness.
If your little one follows a healthy balanced diet and gets lots of exercise and fresh air, they may not need a vitamin supplement. Studies suggest that many children are adequately nourished from their diet. However, to help support their immune system, get them through the tough winter months, or if your child has underlying issues, such as:
- Developmental delays
- Underlying health conditions
- Chronic diseases
- Food allergy
- Restrictive diet
You should consult with your doctor and decide whether or not to give them vitamins. Having enough vitamins and minerals in their system is especially important for littles. These help them grow and recover, meaning they provide immune system support.
While no single vitamin or mineral will cure a virus, having a healthy balance can support your little one in staying healthy. But, remember, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing and mega-doses can be equally as bad as having too few.
Got sick? Stay home
Prevention is always better than a cure. So, if you think your child has a virus or illness coming on, the best thing you can do for them and for others is to organize a duvet day. Get the homework out of the way, then relax and recover with some movies and healthy snacks. It’s also a great opportunity to bond and enjoy time with your littles, after all, they’re only small once.