How to Keep Your Kids from Getting Sick
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Winter time means it’s cold season, which means families with children are on full alert for signs of the sniffles. How to keep your kids from getting sick is a complex issue. While we can’t ensure your kids will never get sick, here are some health tips of children to help keep your risk of colds and flus to a minimum.
Wash Your Hands
Everyone in the house should know how to wash their hands properly, and wash after using the washroom, before eating, or touching anything that might be contaminated with germs.
Some health tips for children recommend using antibacterial soap, but good old soap works just as well. Children should wash their hands under warm water, using soap to lather up. Handwashing should include a good scrub for about twenty seconds—teach your child to hum happy birthday twice while washing to hit this benchmark.
When a child touches his eyes, nose, or mouth after touching a contaminated surface, he can transfer germs to his eyes or respiratory system. This is one of the reasons pinkeye spreads like wildfire among kids.
To minimize the chance of hand-to-face contamination, teach children not to touch their eyes, mouth, or nose with their hands.
Don’t Share Food
Not sharing food is one of the best health tips for children we know of, aside from regular handwashing. It also flies in the face of one of parenting’s biggest objectives—getting children to share. So yeah, after years of telling your little ones to share their toys, you now have to teach them that rule doesn’t apply to food and drink.
Why not? Saliva is an excellent vehicle for transporting germs from one mouth to another. Shared food or drink may have come into contact with another child’s mouth, and if the first child is sick, your child could be next.
Make it a point not to share food and drink in the house. Everyone gets their own plate and glass and only uses those. This way, kids are less likely to share at school.
The annual flu vaccination comes available every year, usually in October. While not a defense against the common cold, it can prevent your child from becoming ill with the flu, a disease that killed 830 U.S children between 2002 and 2012.
Disinfecting Contaminated Surfaces
Countertops, bathroom faucets, toilet handles, door knobs, light switches, and other items often used in your household can be contaminated with cold or flu germs. If someone in the house is sick, you can disinfect high risk surfaces with either a virus-killing disinfectant product or a bleach and water mixture.
How Long Does a Cold Last?
Once exposed to a source of infection, symptoms of a cold generally show up within two or three days. The average cold lasts about a week, sometimes a little longer. If children still have symptoms after a week, a trip to the doctor is needed to ensure the illness is a cold and not allergies or asthma.
Additional Health Tips for Children
No matter how hard you try the real question isn’t how to keep your kids form getting sick—it’s how long before they get sick. No-one makes it through childhood without at least the occasional cold. In addition to handwashing and other cold-preventing tips, you can reduce your child’s risk of infection by:
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Keeping stress levels low
- Avoiding exposure to obviously sick individuals
- Avoiding secondhand smoke (smoke increased the risk of respiratory diseases and makes cold symptom last longer)
- Teaching kids the elbow sneeze.
What’s the elbow sneeze you ask? Sneezing into the elbow prevents germs from landing on a child’s hands, so makes it more difficult for germs to spread to other surfaces. Sneezing into a tissue is still better, of course, but only if kids wash their hands immediately afterwards.