The fall season brings about cooler weather and the start of a new school year, which is usually accompanied by the onset of runny noses, coughs, and sore throats, often brought on by the many germs present in school. And, those illnesses are often passed on to other family members, and before you know it, your entire household is down for the count.
Our partners at Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers, along with Dr. Stephanie Whitmer, a board-certified family medicine physician, offer some excellent advice to help keep your family healthy this fall season.
Keep Hands Clean
The traditional advice of lathering up with soap and warm water and washing your hands to the length of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice is still a great way to wash the germs away. According to Dr. Whitmer, having children sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice while washing their hands is the easiest way for them to understand how long they should wash.
Be sure to have your child use warm water and lather all the way up to their wrists. And, remind them to not touch their face. Harmful viruses and bacteria gain access to your body through the eyes, nose and mouth.
Boost Their Immune System
In order to fight off germs, your child’s immune system needs to be in tip-top shape. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with fruit, vegetables and protein, plus a good pediatric multi-vitamin is key. And, a good night’s sleep is also crucial for a strong immune system.
Flu season lasts nearly the entire school year, from October through May, so it’s important to get your family’s flu shots as early as possible. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older.
Take Time to Recover
Keeping your child home from school when he/she is ill not only prevents a virus or bacteria from spreading to others, but it also allows your child to recuperate quicker.
“I highly recommend keeping children home when they’re sick or feeling unwell,” Dr. Whitmer advised.
For additional tips to help keep your family healthy this fall, check out this great article, courtesy of Mayo Clinic.