Winter is just around the corner. And with it comes a host of pesky (and sometimes dangerous) ailments that can cause your kids to experience any number of different effects, from lounging on the couch asking for a ginger ale and a bowl of chicken noodle soup to being rushed to the ER for a nebulizer treatment and steroids. While there’s no way to guarantee that your child won’t be exposed to a troublesome virus or bacteria this winter, there are ways to minimize their risk. Here are five tips the most vigilant moms use to help protect their children from infectious diseases during the winter months:
Make Rest a Priority
The immune system uses sleep as a time to repair the body. Thus, it’s essential that kids get enough rest when germs are at a peak. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following sleep guidelines for any 24 hour period:
Infants (4 to 12 months): 12 to 16 hours
Children ages 1-2: 11 to 14 hours
Children ages 3-5: 10 to 13 hours
Children ages 6-12: 9 to 12 hours
Teenagers (13 to 18 years): 8 to 10 hours
Keep Kids Hydrated
Water helps carry nutrients to our cells, as well as flush toxins out of our bodies. When they are hydrated, kids’ bodies have one of the most important tools needed to maintain bodily functions and fight infection.
Encourage Healthy Meals
Eating well gives our bodies fuel to operate. Along with water, good food also powers our immune systems. There are six essential nutrients (fats, carbohydrates, protein, water, vitamins and minerals). During the winter months, when many infectious diseases peak, a balanced diet will protect children by fortifying their bodies’ normal biological processes and boosting their immune responses.
Maintain Good Hygiene
Of course, good hygiene remains good sense, especially when we want to stave off illness. Remind kids to wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water, to avoid touching communal objects when possible (such as light switches, railings, remotes, door knobs, etc.) and to regularly replace or clean items of daily use (such as toothbrushes, cups, pens, towels, bedding, etc.)
Seek Advice When Necessary
Unfortunately, despite all our efforts, our kids will get sick. Thus, it’s paramount that as parents we understand the limits of our own expertise. We wouldn’t attempt to advise a young undocumented immigrant if we didn’t fully understand daca history, nor would we try to replace a transmission if we weren’t trained in automobile mechanics. In much the same way, we shouldn’t assume that we always know how to heal our children. After all, most of us aren’t doctors. Make sure you know what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your child’s health and call a physician when you need additional help. Extremely high fevers, lethargy, labored breathing and signs of dehydration are just a few of the conditions for which you should seek professional medical advice. Hopefully, with a little extra precaution and some assistance when needed, we can keep our kids healthier and happier this winter season!