If you are like most parents, you might cringe at back-to-school night when you spot an entire family that looks a little under-the-weather. Viral and bacterial infections can run rampant in schools, where close quarters and a focus on group learning paves the way for the spread of illness. Fortunately, you might be able to keep your child from becoming sick by taking a few extra steps. Here are two easy ways to keep your kids from getting sick.
1. Arm Your Child With Supplies
You can't do much to keep other people's children from heading to school with a cold, but you can arm your little one with the supplies they need to stay clean. In addition to packing a small package of tissues that your child can use to wipe down desks or cover their own mouth if they start to feel sick, consider letting your child pick out a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in their backpack.
While washing hands with soap and water has been shown to be the most effective way to remove germs, using hand sanitizer can render microbes like Clostridium difficile, Cryptosporidium, and even norovirus inactive. To help your child to keep their hands as clean as possible, teach your child the right way to use the product.
Instruct your child to apply a dime-sized dollop of hand sanitizer on one of their palms, then rub the product all over their hands, including the backs of their hands and between their fingers. Teach your child to let it dry naturally instead of wiping it off because physically drying the hands with a paper towel could remove the product before it has the chance to do its job.
Because keeping your own child home when they are sick can help to prevent the spread of illness, consider investing in a cell phone or a one-way calling device for your little one. By reaching out to you, your kid can tell you if they feel sick.
2. Make Dinner
Your child's immune system is only as healthy as their diet, so make a point to fill their daily meals with nutritious ingredients. Instead of going out and grabbing a burger or pizza, cook meals in the comfort of your own home, and using plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.
Studies have shown that home-cooked meals tend to be lower in saturated fats, sodium, and calories, helping your kids to maintain a healthier weight while protecting their natural immune responses.
Home-cooked meals can also help your child get the vitamins they need to be healthy. For instance, Vitamin A, found in sweet potatoes, carrots, and eggs, helps to prevent infection by protecting the cells lining the respiratory system and gut, while Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to remove damaging substances from your body.
Zinc found in milk, beans, and nuts is known for helping wounds to heal and shortening colds, while probiotics and prebiotics found in certain cheeses and yogurts can help the body to ward off infections. You can add these foods to your meals to ensure your kids get the nutrients they need.
To make meal prep a little easier, you can chop vegetables ahead of time, keep your refrigerator organized, and set aside time in your schedule for cooking. You never know, the time you spend preparing a meal could help you avoid changing your plans so you can care for sick children.
In addition to making a few changes at home, touch base with your child's pediatrician for help. Here at Valley Pediatric Clinic, our entire team is committed to better health through patient education and safe, effective medical practices. Whether you have recently had a baby or your kids have graduated from high school, we can help. Stop by and visit us today to help your kids to stay comfortable in class.