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Keeping the Kids Healthy this Winter

Winter really can be a lovely season, but it can also be the season of coughs, colds, and even worse…the flu. Sometimes there is just no avoiding it. Runny noses will run rife as kids continue to spread germs. We can’t just wrap our kids up in a protective bubble, but there are a few things you can do to keep the family as healthy and happy as possible this winter.

Do Not Underestimate the Power of Handwashing

This seems like such a simple thing that we already know we shouldn’t avoid but get your kids into the habit of washing their hands not just after using the bathroom. It’s regular handwashing that has the potential of being the most effective form of defense against colds this winter.

Although many of us know already the importance of washing hands, we don’t always do it properly. We should work up a lather and wash for at least 30 seconds, paying additional attention to under the fingernails too as this is a haven for germs to get into. Get into the habit yourself of washing for 30 seconds and get your kids to do the same.

Get Plenty of Sleep

There has been enough research to show that there is a link between the immune system and sleep. Sleep deprivation can make us more susceptible to catching colds. When we sleep, our bodies produce disease-fighting proteins and hormones that will fight off colds and viruses. Kids and teens alike should be getting from 9-11 hours of sleep, so we suggest getting into a good routine, if you haven’t already, with your kids around bedtime to ensure that kids are able to get those hours of rest in.

Change that Toothbrush!

You should be changing your toothbrushes every three months, but after someone starts getting a cold, change them sooner! It is easy for germs to harbor in toothbrushes, so if someone has been suffering with a cold, they can become infected again thanks to their toothbrush. Always keep some spares handy.

Use Tissues, or Even a Clean Sleeve if You Must

During this runny nose season, it is a good idea to make sure your child has a pack of tissues with them. Be sure to teach them to use tissues instead of their hands to wipe their noses. Even if they must, a clean sleeve on the upper arm is better than the hands. Also, teach them that they should cough into their elbow instead of their hands (or just into the air!)

Of course, this may mean they already have a bug of some sort, but it will help against the spread of it in the household!

Have a Colorful Plate of Fruits and Veggies

Diet plays a major role in building immune systems. Aim for foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as lots of leafy greens for iron. Oranges and other fruits are a great source of vitamin c, a real immune system booster, and you may even find the orange juice that’s fortified with vitamin d, something we get from the sun which may be lacking this time of year.

Kids should be able to get their daily intake of vitamins and minerals through diet alone. However, during cold season and especially for picky eaters, there’s nothing wrong with a multivitamin for kids.

Keep Kids Hydrated

We don’t drink as much in the winter as we do in the summer, but even being dehydrated a little bit leaves children further at risk of catching a cold. Make sure plenty of water and juice is had throughout the day!

Look After Yourself, too!

This is no doubt a very busy time of year, and we can focus n our children’s health so much that we lose sight of your own. It is so important that you take time to look after yourself too! Get plenty of rest and remind yourself to stay hydrated and to have plenty of immune-boosting foods.

We can’t always prevent colds and viruses spreading, especially with kids, but it’s these things we can do to help build defenses to do our best to stop any cold turning from bad to worse. What precautions does your family take this time of year to help stay happy and healthy? Talk to us in the comments or on our Facebook page!

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