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6 Ways to protect your child from winter cold and flu

While your little one may excitedly await the opportunity to build snowmen, the colder weather also brings a more unpleasant event — the cold and flu season! Although coughs and sneezes are practically unavoidable during the winter months, there are ways that you can boost your child’s immune system and help keep those bugs at bay.

sick little girl

1Keep hands clean

The easiest and most effective way to protect your children from infection is to remind them to wash their hands on a regular basis. Ensure that they clean their hands thoroughly with soap or hand wash after every toilet trip and before eating. Additionally, try to teach them not to touch or rub their eyes or nose as this can lead to bacteria being deposited directly into the bloodstream through the mucus membrane.

2Teach kids how to catch a sneeze

Because sneezing is one of the fastest ways to spread germs, it is important to make sure your little one uses a tissue when either sneezing or coughing. If they don’t have time to grab a tissue, tell them to sneeze into the crook of their arm rather than their hands, as this will help prevent germs from being transferred to the next item your child touches.

3Discourage food and drink sharing

To reduce the chances of your child coming into contact with germs, you should teach them to avoid sharing food and drink with others. Sharing a snack with a child who is already suffering from a winter bug is a sure-fire way to pick up an illness.

4Support healthy eating

A healthy, balanced diet is a fantastic way to help fight infections. Foods rich in Vitamin C can strengthen the immune system and speed recovery. Blackcurrants, oranges and kiwi fruits can be used in smoothies or desserts, and sweet peppers can be added to many savory meals or eaten raw. Garlic is also a super-food that is known to fights bugs, bacteria and viruses, promote healing and even act as a decongestant.

5Exercise daily

Daily exercise will boost your child’s immune system and improve their sense of wellbeing. Making sure your exercises regularly is vitally important, as overweight children are more likely to pick up bugs. Excess weight can also make it harder for your child to breathe, especially when they’re bunged up.

6Let them rest

If your child does become ill, despite your best efforts, make sure you allow them plenty of time to rest. Sleep is one of the body’s ways of fighting infections, so letting your child stay in bed will aid their recovery, as well as reduce the spread their illness to other people. However, if your child thinks that they are well enough to go to school or nursery, don’t feel that it is essential to keep them at home regardless. It is practically guaranteed that during the winter months every classroom will contain at least one contagious child. However unpopular the side-effects, exposure to bugs at an early age can help children to develop a strong immune system.

Read more about kids, colds and flu

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