Flu season has been particularly devastating this year. Officials and experts all agree that this has been the worst flu season in nearly a decade. Two different strains of influenza were making the rounds. And to make matters worse, it is possible to catch both in the space of a single flu season.
To add to all that, a primary reason for the severity this year has to do with the vaccine. This year’s vaccine has been shown to be only 25 percent effective in inoculating against the flu strain.
People who are very susceptible during flu season are the young and the elderly. Kindergartens and nurseries should have plans in place for combating the flu. As should senior living centers and communities. For senior communities, sites like Elderwise (Visit now) allow you to see reviews of how these centers are handling various issues.
News outlets are stating that flu season has peaked and should be winding down. Even so, use this time to teach your children the following valuable lessons.
Hand washing can save lives.
The CDC puts it this way, “Clean hands save lives.” And the sooner children learn this habit, the more protected your family will be from garden-variety colds and sicknesses.
One of the most common and prevalent ways that germs and bacteria spread is through hand contact with infected items. Unwashed fingers are then put in the mouth, eyes, or nose, and sickness spreads. Studies show that people touch their face 25 times in a single hour!
Teach your children to wash their hands before every meal and before touching their face. After using the bathroom, hands should also be washed. Additionally, children should wash their hands when coming home from school or from being outside. A quick wetting of the hands won’t do the trick and will only waste water. Give your child a lesson on how to thoroughly wash their hands. The CDC recommends the following approach. Wet. Lather. Scrub. Rinse. And dry.
Create a handwashing chart with a reward for a week of remembering to wash their hands. Having waterproof toys in the sink can help make hand washing an attractive opportunity. Fun soap dispensers will also make hand washing more of an “event.” Lastly, set a good example of handwashing. If you aren’t washing your hands, your child has less of a chance of establishing this as a habit.
Sleep keeps the immune system powered up
During flu season, as well as throughout the year, quality sleep time will keep your immune system in peak condition.
Discuss the benefits of sleep with your children in helping them stay healthy. Not only will quality sleep help your kids be less likely to catch whatever is floating around. But they will be in a better mood, do better at school, and be less prone to accidents.
Coughing and flu etiquette keep the flu from spreading
If your kid should get sick, this is an opportunity for parents to teach general guidelines of how to behave when sick. The first of which involves reducing the risk of spreading the flu to others. This means that if your child has a cough, he or she learns to cover his or her mouth with a tissue or a mask when coughing. And then to disinfect his or her hands directly after.
Additionally, children can learn that when they are sick, they become carriers for the germ, which can spread to others. To curb the spread of the sickness and to keep their friends from getting sick, those with the flu should stay close to home and limit contact with others.
If your child is the healthy one, and he or she notices that one of their friends looks sick, he or she should tell their parent or the supervising grown up.
Sugar lowers your defenses against sickness
Bolstering your child’s diet during flu season can be a challenge. Particularly when that child wants a soda, juice, or another snack that they used to indulge in before. So if you are replacing foods with more nutritious alternatives, make sure to explain your reasons. Each time we consume sugar, our body’s ability to fight off bacteria is lowered for a couple of hours afterward.
Get your child on your side by reading books and watching documentaries that explain how the immune system works. And the role sugar plays in weakening one’s defenses. And then make changes to your own diet to show that you are doing your part, too.