e recently wrote a post about questions you should ask your daycare to decrease your child’s chance of catching a bug this season. We got a lot of positive feedback from parents so we decided to come up with a list of things you can do at home to protect yourself and your family. After all, kids don’t just get sick at daycare, they can also catch a bug at home! Also, the 5 steps listed below not only apply to your children, but to parents as well, so make sure you implement these too
1. Get the flu vaccine
According to the CDC, the single best way to protect against the flu is for children and parents to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. Vaccination is recommended for all children 6 months and older. For babies that can’t be vaccinated, it is critical that people who live with or care for them get a flu shot. Inquire about the vaccine even if you’re pregnant since research shows that this gives some protection to the baby both while mom is pregnant and for a few months after baby is born.
2. Cover your nose and mouth
This is something kids and parents should be doing all the time, but especially during the cold and flu season. Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze will help avoid spreading germs. Be consistent and teach your kids to do the same. Throw the tissue away after use and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, the best is to cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve, rather than your hand.
3. Establish good hygiene rules
Just like your child does at daycare (or at least should!), make sure you establish a good hand hygiene at home. For instance, teach your children to wash their hands with soap and water throughout the day, especially after going to the bathroom and before/after meals. Of course, the best way to teach is to lead by example. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs also spread this way.
4. Clean and disinfect your home
Another way germs spread is when people sneeze and bacteria deposit onto surfaces that are then touched by other people. Therefore, it’s recommended to clean and disinfect all the frequently touched surfaces at home, especially when someone at home is ill. Pay special attention to surfaces that your children can reach and touch often, like bathroom cabinets and sink, tables, and any low furniture in their room or around the house.
5. Fruits, veggies, and lots of sleep!
This piece of advice is good year-round and works to protect against just about any bug. There’s a reason you’ve heard over and over as a child “Eat your fruits and veggies.” Research shows that they provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers that are critical for good health. A healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies will boost your child’s immunity. The same goes for sleep: when people, especially young children, don’t sleep enough, their immune system gets weak, leaving it less able to fight off colds, flu, and other infections.
Do you have any other tips? What do YOU do at home to protect your children from getting the flu?