Winter is the season where many commons viruses circulate the schools like a tornado. Taking down child by child, parents being dragged down along the way.
It’s the time of year we dread. Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee your child won’t get sick.
Children spend a lot of time at school, in the playground and with friends. Whether they go to a public nursery or board at a private junior school, they can catch the snotty viruses anywhere.
Colds, flus, tummy bugs, the lot. They are all common, airborne viruses. All it takes is standing close to someone and breathing in the same air as someone who is carrying the virus, (approx. 4 to 6 feet) and your child is more than likely to become ill.
It’s inevitable that your child will get some form of virus in the winter, therefore you probably will too. There are many things that you can do to reduce the risks.
There are also many common misconceptions that will not specifically increase or reduce the risks. By identifying these first, we can then move onto practical, preventative measures that may actually have some affect.
It’s important to take as many steps as possible. Colds and flus can be frustrating, but you also want to stop them getting any worse than a simple virus, like bronchitis and pneumonia.
Common misconceptions you need to know:
The contagious aspect of a virus can sometimes develop before any symptoms are evident, which means being cautious and keeping your distance around other sick people will not always work as a preventative measure.
Keeping your child out of the cold or wet weather isn’t going to decrease the chances of them catching a cold.
That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t take preventative steps. There are just some that may work and others that will not.
Preventative steps that have a higher chance of working:
Thoroughly wash hands
Sounds like a really simple thing, right? That’s because it is.
Regular hand washing is one of the most effective ways to get rid of bugs. Make sure you, your child and any one that may come into contact with your child (friends, family members, teachers, baby sitters, etc.) wash their hands too.
It needs to be with warm water and soap and preferably after the toilet, before meals and snacks and after any contact with anyone (at school, the park, a friends house, etc.)
Prevent eye and nose rubbing!
Try to reduce how much your child touches their face, especially eyes and nose.
If your child has come into contact with germs, the more they rub their eyes or noses, they are transferring those germs directly onto other parts of their body where they will be absorbed much quicker, therefore further increasing the risk of a virus.
Handy tip: Make sure you and your child always has some tissues on them. If they need to rub their eyes or nose, you can be prepared! We all know children LOVE the opposite game. Your tissues will come in VERY handy.
Your schools sick policy
Standard school policies state that children who are sick and meet a certain level of requirements (temperature, throat/chest infections, sickness, diarrhea) they are to stay at home until the symptoms disappear.
It would be wise to check the schools policy, and if there is not one in place, don’t be afraid to speak up. I’m sure all the mums and dads will thank you!
Jabs are offered on a annual basis for children and adults to help protect you all against the flu.
- Lots of fruit and vegetables to ensure you and your child are getting the nutrients you need and keep your immune system strong.
- Get lots of fresh air, movement and activity during the day.
- Balance activity with rest – ensure you are all getting enough sleep at night. If your child does become ill, more rest will be necessary.
- Teach your children how to blow their nose. It may sound silly, but being able to get rid of all the extra, unwanted mucus will help a lot if they start to develop the sniffles.
- If you have one, use a humidifier. This will help your child breathe better, especially during the night and potentially improve congestion.
- Drink lots of water.
Cold and flus are inevitable, especially in Winter. Although there is not much that you can do without taking your child out of school and stopping contact with anyone, it’s just not realistic. But thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take to be extra vigilant.
Do you have any top tips to help prevent viruses?