From slay riding and building snowmen to snuggling up with cocoa, there are plenty of reasons we love the winter! That fun can end abruptly, though, when winter’s chill turns into body chills. Seasonal illness is no laughing matter. However, the good news is that there are simple precautions your family can take to help avoid illness!
1. Practice proper handwashing.
We have all heard of the importance of washing your hands, but do you know why? This simple hygiene practice is vital in stopping the spread of disease, especially during colder months when we spend most hours packed indoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proper hand washing helps keep communities healthy by reducing respiratory illnesses by up to 21%.
Teach your child how to properly wash their hands by following these easy steps:
- First, wet hands with clean and running water.
- Next, apply hand soap and lather the entire hand.
- Then, scrub for a minimum of 20 seconds. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice to help you keep time.
- After that, rinse again under clear, running water.
- Finally, dry gently and completely with a clean towel.
2. Stay active in the outdoors.
Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not necessarily lead to cold symptoms. In fact, outdoor activities like winter walks, building snowmen and even brief trips to the playground can provide health benefits by keeping your family active and allowing you to receive all important vitamin D from the sun. Exercise during the day will also help tire out your little ones to help maintain their sleep schedule.
3. Maintain healthy sleeping habits.
Speaking of sleep…maintaining a healthy sleeping schedule is important at any age and can help to build a thriving immune system. Sleep can help to improve your mood, reduce your stress levels, lower the risk of serious health conditions like diabetes, and has even been shown to increase students’ academic performance.
Ensure your family members are sleeping soundly with the following Mayo Clinic guidelines:
- 4-12 months – 12-16 hours/day
- 1-2 years – 11-14 hours/day
- 3-5 years – 10-13 hours/day
- 6-12 years – 9-12 hours/day
- 13-18 years – 8-10 hours/day
- Adults (18+) – 7+ hours/night
4. Stay up to date on your flu shots.
Did you receive your flu shot? The U.S. flu season can last from October to May, and, with cases peaking right around Christmas Time, this simple and safe precaution is key to a happy, healthy holiday. This vaccine can help your family avoid illness and reduce symptoms if diagnosed. Flu shots are available for children as young as six months and can be life-saving for young children.
5. Make sure to take your vitamins.
Vitamins come in many forms, but not every one needs to be a supplement! These small but essential pieces to our body’s healthy functions can be found in many tasty dishes on your family’s dinner plates. Try adding the foods listed below to boost your child’s immune system.
- Zinc: Pump up your levels and immune system with Zinc-rich foods like baked beans, beef and chicken.
- Vitamin C: This trusty vitamin not only boosts your immune system but can help aid your child’s growth and development when paired with Zinc. Find vitamin C in dairy, orange juice and salmon.
- Vitamin D: Most commonly known for building strong bones, vitamin D is also an essential ally in fighting illness. This vitamin is in foods like egg yolks, mushrooms and vitamin D-fortified cereals.
Your child’s safety is our top priority!
For more than 40 years, Children’s Discovery Center has watched over and helped guide the children of Toledo. Our compassionate early childhood educators are honored to support Toledo’s families. Contact us today to learn more about our Reggio Emilia philosophy and childcare programs, and schedule a visit to our state-of-the-art discovery centers.