Two children bite into orange halves to prevent flu

Flu Season 101: Here’s How to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Published January 1, 2023

We’re back into flu season. And while a lot of people accept the flu as inevitable, maybe they shouldn’t. Because the flu can develop into much more serious conditions, like pneumonia and bronchitis. It can worsen existing medical conditions, like asthma. And it can even result in hospitalization. But it doesn’t have to come to that. So, here are a few great ways to keep yourself and your kids healthy during flu season.

Three Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy

1. Get Them a Flu Shot

As the CDC explains, the flu shot reduces the risk that your kids will get the flu. It also reduces the severity of the flu if they do get it. And here’s even more good news; flu shots are usually very affordable or free, even if you don’t have insurance. So, ask your doctor, pharmacy, or school about the best way to get your kids their shot. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the possible side effects, especially if your child has had a reaction to a vaccine in the past.

2. Strengthen Their Immune System

Another great way to protect your child against the flu is to bolster their natural defenses. You can do that by feeding them a healthy diet containing fruit, vegetables, and vitamin C. You can also boost their immune system by taking a closer look at their lifestyle. Are they getting enough sleep? Are they minimizing stress? Are they drinking plenty of water? These are all great habits to get into year round. But they’re especially important during flu season.

3. Encourage Them to Keep Their Hands Clean

Your kids can spread a lot of germs through dirty hands. That’s because their hands interact with a ton of dirty surfaces, like door knobs, faucets, and other children. From there, they tend to take those dirty hands and touch their eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s how they end up getting sick. So, educate your kids about the spread of germs. Teach them about the importance of washing their hands. And teach them to wash their hands thoroughly and often.

Three Ways to Keep Others Healthy

Flu prevention is a team sport. So, when we talk about keeping kids healthy, we’re not just talking about your kids. We’re talking about the other kids, too. So, here are just a few things your kids can do to keep their friends and classmates from getting sick:

1. Cover Their Mouth

Kids—and adults, for that matter—can spread germs by coughing and sneezing, both of which send lots of tiny droplets into the air. And those droplets might carry the flu and other viruses. So, teach your kids about the importance of covering their mouths, as well as the right way to cover them. Healthline recommends covering your mouth by sneezing into a tissue. And if you can’t get to a tissue in time, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow. This contains the spread of germs. But you really want to avoid coughing into your bare hands and then touching everything.

2. Stay Home if You’re Sick

A lot of people end up going to work and school while they’re sick. Some of them are afraid of falling behind. Others want to suck it up and make sure they’re being a trooper. But be sure to tell your kids that it’s okay to stay home when they’re sick. In fact, it’s the right thing to do. They’ll get healthy faster, protect other kids, and help manage the spread of the flu. They can always make up for their school work. But they can’t always make up their health.

3. Learn from Covid Protocol

The pandemic introduced us all to a new protocol. But that protocol doesn’t just manage the spread of Covid, tIt manages the spread of any virus, including the flu. So, if your kids are feeling under the weather, think about doing a little social distancing. Think about helping them quarantine in their room. And consider having your family wear masks. That might sound like overkill because it’s “just” the flu. But remember, the flu can turn into something very serious for some people.

At some point, your kids will definitely get the flu. That’s simply bound to happen. But there’s plenty you can do to reduce the odds of them getting it this year. So, think about getting them a flu shot, feeding them an extra-healthy diet, and encouraging them to wash their hands. Because after what we’ve all been through the past few years, everyone’s sick of getting sick.

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