During the winter months, if you’re a parent, especially a new one, you might start to wonder how to keep your child from getting the flu. The younger your child may be the more of a concern flu season might become. None of us want our kids to get sick, but getting sick with something might just be inevitable. Still, though, with the right tools anyone can help increase their chances of staying well during the worst of the flu season.
While the flu season might not always be so bad, even when the flu behaves more mildly, you still want to be sure to have all your defenses ready. In this article, we want to help answer that question of how to keep your child from getting the flu. These five simple strategies might be relatively easy to implement, but they can make a significant difference in your chances of not getting sick. Read on for more on how to put these tips into place starting now.
#1 Always Wash Your Hands
Talk to any pediatrician and you will get the same first answer for how to keep your child from getting the flu: make sure they wash their hands. More than almost any other approach, simple hand washing can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick.
Without thinking about it, our hands control so much about what gets into our bodies. They touch our food and they touch our face and our mouth, all areas in which bacteria and germs want access to. Not only do your hands touch yourself, they also touch a lot of surfaces where you can easily pick up germs.
For your best first line of defense, you should always remind your child to wash their hands. They should wash their hands as frequently as they can especially before snacks or meals. After they have played outside or with other children or touched communal things like at a grocery store, they need to wash as well.
When they wash, make sure they use plenty of soap and water and that they wash for at least 20 seconds. You can remember this with singing the birthday song through twice. Though simple, hand washing can make a significant impact in your defenses against getting sick in the first place.
#2 Get Your Flu Shot
If you really want to know how to keep your child from getting the flu, look no further than making sure to get your flu shot. Researches design the flu vaccine to prepare your immune system to fight off the flu virus. For kids with less developed immune systems, they need all the help they can get to prepare for fighting off a new virus. This just means that you need to get your kids vaccinated every year.
Children from birth to 4 years fall within a high risk group for the flu. Unfortunately, children under six months can’t get the shot. For children older than six months, though, you definitely should see about getting them vaccinated. Additionally, with the flu shot, the earlier you can get it the better.
Each year, manufacturers produce an updated version of the flu vaccine. As soon as this updated version becomes available you should try to get it. The best time to have it by would be October. With that being said, though, even if you missed getting the shot early, still getting it later in the flu season provides you more benefit than not having it at all. In short then, you should always, always, get the flu shot.
This goes for everyone in the household as well. Yes, vaccinate your kids, but you also need to make sure you and your partner get one as well. After all, your defense can only be as strong as your weakest link. If you don’t get vaccinated and end up with the flu, you significantly increase the chances of your child also becoming sick.
#3 Stay Away from Crowds
Disease spreads quickly through lots of people. For an easy tip on how to keep your child from getting the flu, simply do your best to avoid crowded spaces. The flu is one of the most contagious viruses we face regularly each year. In a large crowd of people if one person has the flu and is coughing they could spread the disease pretty quickly.
While we understand that avoiding crowds sometimes just isn’t an option, you still want to limit your exposure as much as possible. During peak flu season, you might opt out of taking your child to go to a crowded ballpark or movie theater. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sports or a movie. Instead watch from home or go at off-peak times or to lower attended games.
If you have to go around crowds for a long period of time, try to pay attention to who might sneeze or cough. Try to avoid standing in the same area as people showing symptoms of the flu. Also pay close attention to what your child touches. After they touch a communal item, have them wash or disinfect their hands.
You also want to be more alert and vigilant when visiting places that more sick people might be at like waiting at the pediatrician’s office. This doesn’t mean you can’t go to some of these places, rather you just need to prepare yourself more. The more little things you can do when in crowds, the better you can guard yourself and your child against coming down with the flu.
#4 Cover Your Nose and Mouth
Another simple strategy on how to keep your child from getting the flu simply involves having everyone cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough. Kids especially need to learn this early and practice it often. So many times during the day, we might sneeze or cough and not think twice about what germs we might spread. While we may not spread disease every time we sneeze or cough, we nonetheless need to practice a good defense and act like we could.
Teach your child from a young age to always cover their mouth or nose when they sneeze or cough. If your child or someone else doesn’t, be sure to disinfect whatever the person may have sneezed or coughed on. If you and your child go to an event with other kids, gently remind other parents to have their kids cover their mouth or nose if sneezing or coughing. Simple reminders can go a long way to help protect everyone from spreading the flu any further.
#5 Eat Well and Exercise Regularly
For a last tip for how to keep your child from getting the flu, remember to eat well and exercise regularly. A healthy immune system depends on having the right nutrients and having energy to fight off diseases. This means that we need to exercise our bodies to keep our organ systems active and eat well to provide positive nutrients to help fight off diseases when we encounter them.
Many times the flu spreads so well during the winter months because we stay indoors, exercise less, and eat very poorly during this season. It just makes sense that having less chance to get outside would mean that most people don’t walk or exercise as much. This in turn just means that for you as the parent you need to think of more creative ways to get your child active. For instance, encourage indoor games that get them up and moving as opposed to just sitting all the time.
For the diet portion, you just need to make sure you keep a positive balance between the good and the bad food. During the winter and holiday months, our diets usually go out the window. Unfortunately, this could act disastrously for your immune defenses.
No matter the time of year, make sure your child has servings of fruits and vegetables at most every meal. Make sure they get a daily supply of milk and limit sugars and sweets. With keeping on top of eating well and exercising during the winter months, you can help provide your immune system a chance to keep disease away.
Know How to Keep Your Child from Getting the Flu
Regardless of what we may want, there exists no 100% fail proof way to avoid the flu. That is except for completely isolating yourself from the rest of civilization for most of the year. In place of that extreme approach, though, you nevertheless can do some things if you want to know how to keep your child from getting the flu.
In this article, we hope that we have provided you with a few simple steps for flu prevention. To really make some of these strategies work best, though, you need to keep reinforcing them throughout the year. You should always encourage good hand washing and cleanliness for your children. Additionally, no matter the time of year or season, you need to always stick to a healthy diet and encourage exercise as much as possible.
With these simple tools at your side, you give yourself and your family a significant advantage in fighting the flu. Keep these things in mind both this year and for seasons to come. If you start seeing signs of the flu, always be sure to consult your pediatrician on the best treatment. Knowing how to keep your child from getting the flu in the first place, though, might just keep you from having to visit the doctor at all.