How can I keep my kids healthy this season? Here are 8 Best Tips for Kids Cold and Flu Prevention, from a pediatric nurse. This post is sponsored by KnowYourOTCs, a non-profit organization aiming to educate parents on safe use of over-the-counter medicines. All opinions are my own.
8 Best Tips for Kids Cold and Flu Prevention
It’s all fun and games until your child gets sick. Then it’s all downhill from there.
Cold and flu season seems to have a snowball effect, doesn’t it? It’s not just your child that’s sick. The house gets neglected, your work suffers, sleep is lost – and before you know it, the whole household is infected with germs. Yes, it’s that time again. The time when I stock up on all of the tissue boxes, hand soap, vitamins and sanitizing wipes – cold and flu season is back! And if you’re a mama bear like me, you’re ready to shield your kids from all of the potential germs. YUCK.
As a former pediatric nurse who took care of A LOT of kids in the hospital during cold and flu season, I always get asked about keeping kids healthy during the worst season of the year. “How can I protect my kids from getting cold and flu?” It’s hard, parents. I get it. But to make things a little easier this season, I’ve come up with my 8 Best Tips for Kids Cold and Flu Prevention.
Start with Good Hand Washing
I sound like a broken record every cold and flu season. The #1 tip for kids cold and flu prevention is hand washing – period. Be sure your kids know how to properly wash hands, including how to use hand sanitizer correctly!
Eat a Balanced Diet
Did you know that a majority of your body’s immunity lies in your gut? So much of your health depends on your food and drink! It’s so important to give your child a well-balanced diet with all of the energy, vitamins, and minerals, needed to get your child through the busy cold and flu season.
Drink Water, Water and More Water
Sometimes your body needs to “flush” itself out! Yes, I do use this toilet analogy with my kids. And now more than ever is a good time to enforce lots of fluids for our kids. Constantly hydrating with at least 8 glasses of water and flushing out germs, it’s a natural way keep our kids healthy from the inside.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Rest and recharge – sleep is such an important part to staying healthy during cold and flu season! Do you know how much sleep your child should get? Check out this sleep tips post to see how many hours your child should be sleeping each night, by age.
Want to naturally boost your child’s immunity? Get them to stay active! Indoors and outdoors, be sure they’re getting enough play time and exercise to help boost their natural immunity levels too.
Decrease Stress Levels
Conversely, increased levels of stress can weaken your child’s immunity. Helping your child to cope through stressful times through controlled breathing, positive affirmations, muscle relaxation and other techniques can help cold and flu prevention in kids.
Sharing Isn’t Always Caring
Sharing is a BIG thing for my little kindergartner this fall. But unfortunately, not everything is meant to be shared. Avoid sharing items that come in contact with other kids’ hands, faces and mouths: like straws, food, drinks, scarves, hats, and gloves.
Practice Healthy Habits
Kids cold and flu prevention begins with healthy habits. And this is an area where practice makes perfect. Each stage of childhood has areas where your child can focus on healthy habits such as how to:
- Cough into your elbow
- Avoid touching your face
- Properly blow your nose
- Hand washing, hand washing, hand washing!
Check out this health tips post by grade level for more healthy habits your kids can practice now while they are healthy.
But if They Do Get Sick
First of all, it’s okay. Your child getting sick is NOT a reflection on you as a parent. Kids get sick. It happens. But treating your child’s cold or flu is serious business. SERIOUS. I was shocked to see how many parents don’t realize how important medicine dosing is for their kids, especially over-the-counter medicine. This is NOT okay. Parents, we need to do better.
A new study sponsored by KnowYourOTCs.org examined attitudes and behaviors of parents when administering OTC medicines to young children. The results were surprising. 1 in 4 parents of young kids don’t believe that precise dosing is necessary for over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. 1 in 5 parents of young kids believed that using a household spoon was an okay to use as measurement for OTC medicine.
- Before giving a child medicine, always read and follow the directions provided on the Drug Facts label.
- Use the dosing or measuring device that comes with the medicine. Do not use ANY kitchen spoons to measure as they are not meant for measuring medicines. Be precise with the right device!
- Double check ALL medicines! Be sure to never give two medicines at the same time that contain the same active ingredient (for example, some multi-symptom cold medicines may contain acetaminophen).
- We won’t always have the answers, but we do need to know who to ask. Always speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if you have any questions regarding your child’s health or medication. There are NO dumb questions when it comes to you child’s health!
Looking for more tips to safely administer over-the-counter medicines to your child this cold and flu season? Head to KnowYourOTCs.org for dosing tips, storage tips and more.
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I am a #KnowYourOTCs blogging ambassador, compensated by the CHPA’s Educational Foundation in support of KnowYourOTCs.org. All opinions are my own. No little hands touched the OTC medicines (I’m a pediatric nurse, remember?) and teeth were promptly brushed following these pictures. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more family travel tips, delicious recipes, and kid crafts.