Flu season is in full swing, and parents all over the country are breaking out the antiseptic wipes in hopes of keeping kids (and parents!) healthy through the winter. It can feel tempting to simply try to keep kids away from public places altogether.
Of course, that’s not a realistic solution. Kids still need to go to school, and keeping them at home will limit the amount of exercise they get, which can compromise their immune systems and backfire. What parents can do is to keep kids better protected from germs, both at school and on the playground, by helping to manage their behavior and immune systems.
Limit Exposure to Germs
While you can’t very well keep your kids cooped up, you can reduce the number of germs they’re exposed to when they’re at play. Public swing sets are absolutely covered in bacteria and viruses. Wiping down the ropes on a swing, and the hand grips on a jungle gym with an antiseptic wipe when you arrive at a playground, for example, can make a big difference.
This is also an excellent time to ingrain healthy habits in your kids. Teaching them to wash or disinfect their hands before every meal, for example, will help them to keep germs on their hands away from vulnerable ears like their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Strengthen Immune Systems
No matter what you do, flu season means you and your kids will be exposed to more viruses than at any other time of year. To make it through without getting sick, you’ll need to make sure your immune systems are as strong as they can be.
Though it might feel tempting to stay inside, it’s important for you and your kids to go out, move around, and exercise. Keep that backyard swing set in use, and continue to make trips to the playground with your kids. Exercise boosts the immune system, and that doesn’t require a gym. Swinging on a swing, playing tag, or going sledding are all perfectly valid ways to give your body the boost it needs
Flu viruses don’t pop into existence in the winter time. The reason we get sick is because cold weather (and lack of exercise and sunlight) stresses our bodies, and temporarily weakens our immune systems. This makes it easier for illnesses to get a foothold instead of being held of by our bodies’ natural defenses. An easy way to deal with this is to simply dress appropriately for the weather. Always make sure you and your kids are bundled up when you leave the house.
Eat Your Vitamins
A lot of our favorite fruits and vegetables are out of season during the winter, and shorter days mean less vitamin D-generating sunlight. Adding a simple general multivitamin to your daily routine will counteract these deficiencies, which will also help your kids feel more focused and energetic.