How to prevent back-to-school sickness
It’s almost inevitable that when school starts, so do the colds and the coughs. Common sicknesses and viruses spread like wildfire in classrooms (and then at home). So here are a couple of tips to prevent your child from getting sick as much as possible. From boosting your child’s immune system to promoting good hygiene practices, these are some steps you can take as a parent.
1. Good hygiene & effective hand-washing
Germs and certain viruses tend to linger on tables, doorknobs, and other surfaces the kids come in contact with both in their classroom and other surrounding areas.
The best way to prevent the spread of germs? Regular hand washing – for a full 20 seconds. Encourage your kids to wash their hands regularly:
- Before & after any meal (lunch, snack time)
- After using the bathroom
- After sneezing and/or blowing their nose
- Anytime they’re exposed to dirt
It’s good to have a hand sanitizer readily accessible because it kills bacteria. However, hand-washing is a more effective method for removing dirt from hands. Best to combine both!
Teach them how to cover their mouths when sneezing
Show them how to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue or elbow when sneezing or coughing – not into their hands. It’s the best way to avoid spreading germs.
2. Promote healthy eating habits & hydration
The more active your kids are, the more hydration and nutrients their bodies need – water intake & nutrients are important for a strong, healthy immune system. Provide a balanced diet with foods from each food group (fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, diary and lean protein in controlled portions). Avoid processed foods and limit sugary foods and drinks – to help them stay healthy.
TIP! Replace processed snacks with hydrating foods: cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries (when in season), oranges etc.
3. Make sure they get enough sleep!
When we sleep, our bodies conserve energy and heal. Encouraging a consistent bedtime or scheduled nap breaks helps boost your child’s immune system to fight off germs.
4. Introduce exercise into their routine
Physical activity, especially during the day, will help boost their immune system and improve the quality of sleep. It also improves cardiovascular health, balance, and improved posture. When the kids exercise, they’re building their endurance and strength.
How to further boost my child’s immune system?
A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of exercise and good quality sleep will help boost your child's immune system. There are a couple of other things to also keep in mind!
There are plenty of multivitamin and mineral supplement options for kids. However, ideally you opt for fruits and foods that are already loaded with vitamins.
Vitamin C: Strawberries, kiwis, oranges
Vitamin A: Carrots, leafy greens, pumpkins, sweet potatoes
Protein, Zinc & Vitamin E: Peanut butter
Calcium: Dairy products like cheese and milk, or dairy alternatives fortified with calcium.
If you're purchasing supplements, always talk to your doctor about what vitamins and supplements are good for your child!
✨ Oral hygiene
Encourage and help your kids to brush their teeth twice daily. If they're still under 6, watch them while they brush or better yet, brush your teeth with them! Packing healthy lunches and after-school snacks will help keep their gums and teeth healthy.
Make it fun by getting them colourful brushes! TePe Kids tootbrush is available here!
✨ Don’t forget about nasal hygiene!
When our nasal passage is clogged or dried out, it cannot be as efficient in its role to keep us healthy. And if your child has a cold and suffering from a blocked nose, a water-based nasal spray will help decongest the nose and liquify thick mucus. We love Sterimar Blocked nose because it’s made of 100% natural sea water and is free from any preservatives, steroids, and drugs. It’s also suitable for children from 3 years and up, pregnant & breast-feeding women.
Not feeling well? Keep them home.
Parents might have heard the “Mum, Dad, I’m not feeling well” excuse in the morning at least a dozen times to try and get out of class! But before making any judgement calls, assess the situation and ask them about their symptoms if they’re telling you they’re feeling under the weather.
Speak to your family doctor, pediatrician or a medical professional, if your child is sick – and have them checked out. Keep them home to avoid spreading potential viruses.
Check out these other recommendations by Botika: