It’s that time of the year again, and we’re soon going to be subject to an onslaught of the cold and flu season. This phenomenon of runny nose and sneezing come under the term ‘common cold’. And when you add kids to the equation, it’s commoner than you think! That is why cold and flu prevention is so important, particularly in this season.
We’re all a little vulnerable during this time of the year, but kids are 25% more likely than adults to catch a cold or the flu. The irony is that kids themselves are highly responsible for spreading the germs of cold and flu within the family!
So why exactly are kids such a vital link in the spread of infection? Kids often bring home germs from school and the playground, exposing other members of the family. They are naturally curious, and touch everything within sight, picking up and spreading germs wherever they go. Did you know that kids touch household surfaces up to 300 times in just half an hour? Yes, that much! And the viruses they spread can last on those surfaces for up to two days, so anyone touching them in that period are at risk.
Besides being carriers of germs, kids aren’t exactly great sticklers for cleanliness. They may forget to cover their mouths when sneezing or may not wash their hands properly. While this puts the kids themselves in a vulnerable position, the risk is much greater for babies or newborns. But this is a problem that can easily be solved, with a few simple yet crucial practices. Here are 7 easy ways for cold and flu prevention – for the whole family.
7 Easy Ways for Cold and Flu Prevention this Season
1. Boost the Immune System
A strong immune system is your best line of defense against all kinds of micro organisms. Ensure the entire family gets enough physical activity and good rest through the day. Include immunity-boosting foods in your diet and make sure the kids get enough hydration too.
2. Get the Flu vaccine
If you or anyone in your family seems to catch the flu this time every year, it might be a good idea to get a flu shot. While it’s not recommended for babies, older kids might benefit, although it needs to be taken in advance. Talk to your doctor and get timely shots if necessary.
3. Keep Newborns away
Newborns are particularly at risk, so cold and flu prevention is doubly important for them. Keep them away from sick siblings and public places. Avoid crowds and be very particular about hand washing and cleanliness around them.
4. Sneeze into sleeves
Teach kids right from a young age to sneeze into their elbows or sleeves and not their hands. Sneezing into their hands transfers germs directly onto their palms and fingers and onto everything else they touch. Make up a rhyme or song to remind them of this every time they sneeze.
5. Wash hands properly
Hand washing is more than simply rinsing your hands. Use enough soap and water to work up a lather and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Get in between the fingers and under the nails before rinsing off completely. Kids can try to sing Happy Birthday twice, to get an idea of how long to wash.
6. Disinfect common surfaces
The dirtiest place in your home isn’t your toilet, it’s probably your remote! The most commonly touched surfaces in your home are also the most germy, like door handles, TV remotes, fridge handles, light switches and taps. Regularly disinfect these objects so that the germs don’t have a place to thrive.
7. Use a Hand Sanitizer
Keep a hand sanitizer handy at all times. You can even send one with your child in his school bag. A sanitizer can help kill several germs and keep your hands particularly clean. This is especially helpful when dealing with young babies who are vulnerable.
The Global Hygiene Council is promoting awareness about cold and flu prevention and they have a cute video that describes things in a simple manner:
Do share this video with your kids too so they can understand exactly how they can stay safe this cold and flu season!