As kids prepare to go back to school, or are gearing up to start pre-school for the first time, one of the things their caretakers dread and have to prepare for is the onslaught of sniffles and colds. Children are going into new rooms, exposed to new friends, and a new group of teachers. Unfortunately, that also means sometimes they’re coming into contact with new germs too. While there is no way to perfectly insulate kids from exposure to all germs, in fact no exposure can prevent them from building a strong immune system, there are things to help ward away seasonal coughs and sneezes. Focusing on overall wellness through proper nutrition and exercise is a good start, but there are more specific and supplemental things that can help.
Here are 4 of things to help prevent or minimize back to school sniffles:
- Stay hydrated! While it is hard to control how much water a tyke is drinking when they’re out of your site, make sure you send water with them, and find out what their school and teacher’s policy is about having water with them during the day. Hydrated bodies have blood that flows easier, which allows white blood cells to move about easier and fight off free radicals and germs.
- Wash your hands! Making sure that when our little ones know when and how to best wash their hands before they go to school is important. It builds their self-esteem and helps them be self-reliant. It also lets them wash away germs so they don’t get near their mouths or eyes. They should wet their hands, lather some soap, and rinse under the running water while humming Happy Birthday twice.
- Sleep! Getting good sleep is important for preventing illness on two fronts. First, regularly getting appropriate sleep for their age keeps their immune system strong. Second, if they begin to show symptoms, keeping them home and letting them get more rest can help them fight the sickness, and prevent it from being worse.
- Exercise! Keeping your little ones moving and active can help their bodies fight off infections, strengthen their immune system, and reduce anxiety and stress. If your child is prone to anxiety – especially around new experiences – exercise can also help them work through those feelings. Taking daily walks as a family, enrolling in a sport, or signing them up for Stretch-n-Grow during the school day are all great ways to get active during the school year.
Supplementing their Vitamin C intake with an extra orange every day during this period can also give their body an extra boost of germ-fighting power! While kids will always be a bit of a germ factory, focusing on the basic tenets of health can help fight off the worst of the cold season at the start of the school year.
By: Bethany Verrett