We all know the pattern, our little one gets sick and the whole family is down for the count. And what comes next ? Missed school days, work sick days, and a whole lot of chicken soup. That’s why it’s important to keep our little one’s immune system in tip-top shape!
Here are 5 flu prevention tips for kids to boost immune support this season.
Proper hygiene is our kiddo’s first line of defense against the icky flu virus. When we wash our hands thoroughly, cough and sneeze into our elbows, and sanitize our hands, we halt the virus’ ability to invade our immune systems.
So as we enter this year’s flu season, review the following tips for proper hygiene with your little ones:
- Hand Hygiene: Frequent handwashing with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom.
- Social Distancing: Avoid close contact and don’t share food when others are sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes: Use a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- Sanitize: Keep sanitizer handy when soap and water aren't available.
- Clean and disinfect: Especially high-touch surfaces.
- Keep hands away from our face: No touching our face, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands.
The flu virus is a tricky one. It changes from season to season to avoid recognition by the immune system. That’s why the World Health Organization meets twice a year to discuss which strains are most likely to spread and cause illness. Based on this data, we get a seasonal flu vaccine to target those strains.
And that’s why a yearly flu vaccine is our second prevention step. By preparing our immune system to take on the toughest flu strains of the year, we create a strong defense against the virus.
However, as effective as they are, our kiddos aren’t raving fans of vaccines. In fact, they’d probably prefer the flu over a shot (as would some parents!) So to better prepare them to get vaccinated, here are a few things you can do.
- Explain: What a vaccine is and how it protects them.
- Be the Example: Explain every step along the way while you get vaccinated.
- Distract: Games, stories, or favorite cartoons.
- Reward: Vaccines are no fun! Reward your little one for their bravery.
Kids fight sleep and parents can’t get enough of it. But there’s more to getting a great night’s sleep than avoiding cranky toddlers… and grumpy parents! While we sleep, our immune system produces proteins and T-cells that help fight infection and strengthen the immune response. This is why adequate sleep is a crucial step in flu prevention.
However, getting our kid’s sleep habits on track is just another battle, and one we don’t always win. But with a consistent routine of early bedtimes, you’ll create good sleep habits for little ones while protecting your family from the flu.
Next on our list of flu prevention tips is a healthy diet. Power your kiddo’s immune system with colorful fruits and veggies, lean meats, nuts, and beans.
But also keep in mind what to limit, namely processed foods and sugar. These culprits have been known to disturb the gut and suppress immunity as a result. Instead, include foods with probiotics our tummies love such as yogurt and sauerkraut.
If you have a picky eater, getting vitamins and minerals into their diet can be tricky. Consider immune-boosting vitamins this flu season such as a multivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, or a kid-friendly probiotic.
Last, but not least, is exercise. Physical activity, especially outdoors in the Vitamin-D-producing sunshine, is an important part of flu prevention. It helps overall health, promotes sleep, and boosts kid’s immune support. You can keep your kids active this fall by signing up for extracurricular activities, going on evening walks or bike rides, or playing outdoors together.
Hip, Hip, Hooray for a Healthy Flu Season
Do you have any tried-and-true cold and flu season tips to protect your family during flu season? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram @RenzosVitamins with your healthy hacks!