No More Sick Days: 6 Simple Ways To Keep Kids Healthy This Winter

If you have school-age children and are worried about them catching any viruses or other types of illnesses this winter, here are eight ways you can help them reduce the chances of that happening.

1. Wash Hands. See that your children wash their hands after every trip to the bathroom and before each meal. They should also wash their hands after petting any pets, playing outside, or cleaning anything. Washing hands with regular soap will get their hands clean enough to eat with.

Anti-bacterial soap is rumored to actually promote the growth of super-bugs. Although this hasn't been proven, it would be best to err on the side of caution and just use plain soap, which is less expensive and just as effective at cleaning. 

2. Try not to Touch your Face. Although it can be difficult, trying to avoid contact with your hands to your face will go a long way in preventing illness. Germs travel fast through any orifice on the head, so it is best to try to use a tissue or avoid touching the face at all.

3. Practice the Elbow Sneeze. Sneezing and coughing into the elbow rather than into the hand will reduce the spread of germs. People who are sick can send out contagious germs up to  a six foot radius around them. Make sure to urge your children to maintain a large enough distance from other people they interact with, especially the ones who appear to be sick.

4.  Eat Healthy Foods. Everyone knows they should eat healthy, but your children need to be trained on what foods are good for them. Feed them a steady diet of antioxidant, nutrient-rich foods, such as leafy greens, blue berries, strawberries, and nuts. Antioxidants help strengthen the immune system, which in turn, helps ward off illness. Cook with fresh garlic as often as you can; garlic is one of the best known flu and cold fighters.

5. Get Sufficient Sleep. Growing children need at least ten, yes, ten hours of sleep each night. If they can get around this amount of sleep they vastly improve their chances of staying in good health. Getting the right amount of sleep cannot be stressed enough when it comes to wellness and boosting the immune system. It is a good idea to have an electronics curfew for your children as well, as playing video games or watching TV can interfere with circadian rhythms (sleep cycles), by making it harder for children to fall asleep. 

6. Exercise. Children need regular exercise for many reasons, and avoiding illness is a major one. Exercise will help children sleep better at night, strengthen their bones and muscles, and build their immunity. Go on a walk with your kid, or play at a park for a half hour each evening. If the weather is bad, play actively inside by dancing or doing yoga.

It is always a good idea to take your children to the doctor, like those at Willow Oak Pediatrics, to get a flu shot every season. Putting these six ideas into practice and sealing the deal with a flu shot is sure to keep your kids healthy, happy, and avoiding any more sick days.