The first Monday in October is National Child Health Day. As the New England air is getting chillier, and cold and flu season is upon us, here are five tips to help keep your child healthy this season.
1. Get the flu shot
Needles might make your child nervous—and maybe you, too—but getting the flu shot may help prevent serious illness for the whole family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by up to 60 percent. Find out where you can get a flu vaccine by asking your primary care provider, going to a local pharmacy, or visiting HealthMap Vaccine Finder at VaccineFinder.org
2. Teach your good child hand hygiene
It’s never too early to teach your child to wash their hands after they cough or sneeze, before they eat, when using the bathroom, and when they come in from outside. Regular hand washing throughout the day helps remove potentially harmful germs from their hands that can make them (and other family members) sick. One tip to make sure they cleanse their hands for a the 20-seconds is to have them sing “Happy Birthday” or the “ABC” song while washing their hands.
3. Keep your child active
Does your child like sports? Not only are sports fun and a good way to learn teamwork, but physical activity also contributes to good health and helps keep their immune systems healthy. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise may contribute to good circulation, allowing cells in the body to move around freely and do their job more effectively.
If your child doesn’t like, no problem. Taking them out to a playground, a bike ride, skipping rope, or a walk around the neighborhood are great activities with the same healthy benefits.
4. Keep Your child home an extra day
Despite your best effort to prevent colds and flu, they may still happen. You can make sure your child gets better faster—and prevent them from sharing illness with other children—by keeping them home from school or day care an extra day.
Even if your child seems back to normal, an extra day’s rest may help prevent catching a new illness when they return to their normal routine.
5. Keep your child healthy by keeping yourself healthy
The tips above are not just for children:
- Make getting the flu shot a family activity.
- Be a good example and wash your hands regularly.
- Stay active.
- Make sure you take enough time to recover if you get sick.
- Bonus: If you get sick, use tissues when you sneeze or cough to prevent spreading illness.