During a child’s infant years and all throughout preschool, the typical child would get about six to eight colds every year. This number becomes lower in the school-age years, about five colds every year. When kids reach the teen years, they’d probably get around three to four colds every year. However, a few unlucky children, regardless of age, would get up to 12 colds every single year, not including the occasional diarrheal illnesses or stomach flu.
To reduce your little one’s risk of being one of the unlucky few, teach them to practice these healthy habits early on:
- Keep Hands Squeaky Clean – Studies have shown that frequent hand washing could drastically reduce the passing of various gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses. Teach your kid to wash his or her hands before leaving daycare or school, after playing, and before eating. Have them sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice before rinsing since 15 to 20 seconds of proper scrubbing is crucial. A hand sanitizer would do if there’s no water and soap around.
- Eat a Healthy and Well Balanced Diet – Provide your kids with lots of colorful vegetables and fruits to help strengthen their immune system. Go for foods rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals including broccoli, oranges, strawberries, whole grains, fish, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole milk.
- Live an Active Lifestyle – Plenty of studies have shown that moderate, frequent physical activity could decrease flu and cold episodes per year by up to 50%, by promoting circulation of cells that fight off infections, explains a top physician from a renowned family practice in Orem. Revere Health also reminds, “Getting healthy is great, but staying healthy is even more important.”
- Avoid Face Touching – Flu and cold viruses access your body via your mouth, eyes, and nose, so teach your kids to avoid touching these areas especially during flu and cold season. Likewise, tell your kid to never share toothbrushes, cups, straws, or utensils.
- Get Ample Rest and Sleep – Not getting enough sleep doubles your kid’s risk of developing the flu or colds. The majority of toddlers require about 14 hours daily; preschoolers require at least 12, while older kids need at least 10 hours of sleep every single day.
- Get Vaccinated – According to the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most effective way to avoid getting the flu is the flu vaccine.
Once your family develops these healthy habits that are effective for preventing the spread of viruses and germs, you all reduce your chances of getting sick. So keep these habits in mind to keep your family healthy not only during the flu and cold season but also all year round.