The new school year is in full swing! Help your kids stay healthy all year long with these practical tips.
- Ensure that your child receives the flu shot. Getting the vaccine is the single best way to avoid the flu. Everyone over six months old should be vaccinated. Children under five are at a higher risk for complications from the flu, so the vaccine is especially recommended for them. Flu shots are available at Integrity Urgent Care for only $25 (or free with many insurance plans).
- Teach your child how to wash his or her hands properly. Remind your child that hand washing is particularly important before eating, after using the restroom, and after blowing his or her nose. Singing “Happy Birthday” twice while soaping up is a great way to make sure he or she washes long enough. One study found that kids who wash their hands regularly were 38% less likely to catch a cold than those who did not.
- Send him or her to school with a small bottle of hand sanitizer for their backpack. Hand sanitizer can be as effective as hand washing if used effectively. Make sure that they use at least a dime-sized amount; hands should still feel wet ten seconds after application. Choose a formula with at least 60 percent alcohol- anything less isn’t effective and may actually encourage bacterial growth.
- Remind your child that some things should not be shared. Anything that goes into or around the mouth should not be shared – food, drinks, Chapstick, etc.
- Stress the importance of keeping hands away from eyes and mouth. The hands are often covered in germs. Germs most readily enter the body through your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Ensure that your child eats breakfast. Not only is breakfast important for both brain function and the physical demands of school, good nutrition is essential for a high-functioning immune system. A breakfast that contains protein will keep your child full longer.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Frequently wipe down cell phones, lunch boxes, and other items your child brings to school daily. If a family member has been sick, wipe down frequently touched surfaces in your home. Remote controls, light switches, door knobs, and faucets are a good starting point. Any cleaning agent that contains alcohol will kill germs- even alcohol-based hand wipes will do the trick. Flu viruses can live on surfaces up to eight hours.
- Make sure he or she gets enough sleep. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, kids between the ages of six and twelve need 9-12 hours of sleep a night. Teenagers need 8-10. One study found that “adults who sleep only 5 to 6 hours a night have a 30% chance of catching a cold when exposed to the virus; those who get more than 7 hours reduce their risk to 17%”. The same trend is also true for children.
- Keep your child active. Pull our child away from the phone, computer, and tv screen and send them to play outside. Fresh air is good for your child’s mental health and his or her physical well-being. Regular exercise increases immunity!
- Keep sick children at home. Don’t send your child to school with a cold or a fever! It exposes other children, parents, and teachers to your child’s germs. In addition, it will delay your his or her recovery time. Let your child stay at home for a day or two to recover properly – it’s more than worth the makeup work that may result.
If your child does get sick, we can help! We’re open from 8 am – 8 pm every day and no appointment is necessary! Click here to find a location near you.
Sources: http://y98.cbslocal.com/2017/09/15/tips-to-keep-your-kids-healthy-at-school/, http://www.phillyvoice.com/05999-10-ways-keep-your-kids-healthy-school/, https://integrityuc.com/Blog/ArticleID/27