Winter is coming and that usually means the beginning of the cold and flu season. With runny noses, coughing, and sneezing, children are more susceptible to germs and bacteria that cause seasonal sicknesses. Although there is no sure fire way to completely prevent and deter illnesses, there are ways to try and keep kids (and adults!) healthy this winter by taking a few extra measures to fight off tough germs!
5 Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter
1. Clean Hands
Washing hands on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to keep those winter germs at bay. Lathering up with soap and hot water can help to limit the spread of viruses and bacteria. A proper hand washing should clean the palms, between the fingers, and under the nails. Washing thoroughly should take at least 20 seconds (or as long as the Happy Birthday song – sung twice). Be sure to rinse really well and pat dry.
2. Eat Well
Fueling the body with fruits and vegetables will help to fight off some of the most common winter infections. Keep the immune system strong by eating foods loaded with Vitamin C, such as broccoli, oranges, and carrots. Lean meats, whole grains, and legumes are also important to maintaining a healthy diet not only during the cold season, but year round as well.
3. Regular Rest
Sleep is necessary for a healthy immune system. Allowing time for the proper amount of sleep over the winter months can assist in keeping cold and flu viruses away. Sleep allows the body to repair and recuperate while resting through the night. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps to fight off illnesses, as well as, ensures plenty of much needed rest for the body and brain.
4. Keep Moving
Staying active boosts the immune system and helps the body to eliminate much unwanted toxins. Ice-skating, sledding, or refreshing walks in the park are good time outdoor winter activities for both children and adults to enjoy. Having a dance party or practicing light stretching and yoga are wonderful ways to keep moving indoors. Exercise will benefit not only the body, but the mind, as well.
5. No Eyes, No Nose
Restricting touching of the eyes and nose can help keep everyone healthy. These areas contain mucous membranes, which are highways to the bloodstream for bacteria and germs. Helping kids to keep their hands off and out of these areas could be beneficial to fighting cold and flu microbes. Deter hand to eye and nose contact by offering tissues as a barrier if they must touch. Tissues are also important for catching germs when coughing or sneezing, so having them on hand during the winter months is essential.
Ensuring that preschoolers learn healthy habits that are important year round should be done both at home and in the classroom. Play games, put together puzzles, and use charts. Most importantly, lead by example. If children see adults doing what they are teaching, children are more likely to follow suit.