5 Ways to Protect Your Child During Flu Season
If your family already has received their flu shots in preparation for what’s predicted to be another severe flu season, well done: You’re off to a great start. You’ve done your part to keep the virus from unnecessarily spreading. This is so important, as last year’s flu season was the longest we have seen in a decade and 136 children died, many of whom were not vaccinated.
While a flu shot doesn’t account for 100 percent protection, it can reduce risk by 50 percent while also decreasing overall admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) by 75 percent. If your child has received their flu shot but still does get sick, you will notice their symptoms are likely to be less severe.
Want to protect your children even more? Here are five ways to do exactly that.
1: Eat your veggies.
It’s important to exercise prevention against disease and illness all year long, not just at certain times of the year. However, if you want to bolster your family’s immune systems, start by ensuring they have a healthy diet. This means including plenty of vegetables — eating the rainbow, as I like to say — along with a wide variety of fruits. Fill their meals with complex carbohydrates and protein. Do so all year long and their immune systems will be ready when the flu does come.
2: Have another glass of water.
We hear this one a lot, but it doesn’t lessen its importance: Be certain your family drinks plenty of water. By ensuring they stay well-hydrated and get plenty of rest, you’re helping protect your children from all manner of sickness.
3: Don’t skimp on the herbs.
Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked. Less common but still effective ways of staving off illness include plant-based supplements and herbal remedies. Some of the ones I encourage include echinacea, black elderberry, vitamin C, garlic and zinc.
4: Don’t pout — flush it out.
This time of year, we see everything from respiratory infections to stomach viruses and ear infections. If your child is experiencing recurrent illness (like a persistent cough or sore throat), try using saline flushes as a way of flushing pathogens and allergens right out.
5: Always wash up.
Encourage them to wash their hands often (and not just before meals). Children will often cough and sneeze without covering their mouths and noses. They’ll touch their faces or mouths with dirty hands. The more they wash their hands with soap and water, the less likely viruses will have a chance to spread.
Some last recommendations to keep in mind: If your child is sick, be sure to keep them home from school. And, by all means, teach them to cover their mouths and noses when they cough and sneeze. These are excellent ways to help protect your sons and daughters from spreading germs and allowing them to enjoy these next several months.
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