No one wants to muddle through the long winter months feeling tired, run-down, and sick all the time. But for many families with school-aged children, that’s exactly how the average cold and flu season plays out.
When it comes to keeping your family as healthy as possible, an ounce of prevention is most definitely worth a pound of cure — especially if you’re trying to make it to spring without catching every virus you or someone in your family comes in contact with.
Fortunately, you don’t need an extra stroke of luck to avoid getting sick when everyone else is under the weather; you just need to take the right preventative approach. Follow these simple common-sense strategies from Dr. Soos Pediatrics to keep everyone in your household healthier (and happier) as the New Year unfolds.
While cold and flu germs can float through the air on the invisible droplets of an uncovered sneeze or cough, you’re more likely to pick them up from an infected surface. To get rid of unwanted cold and flu germs before they can find a way into your body, wash your hands well before you eat, after you use the bathroom, and whenever you arrive home from elsewhere.
Viruses are smart — they know the best way to get into your body is to hitch a ride on your fingers, and then simply wait for you to rub your eyes, chew your fingernails, or itch your nose. Anytime you’ve been to the park, grocery store, or any other germy place, avoid touching your face before you’ve had a chance to wash (or at least sanitize) your hands.
Getting a seasonal flu shot is the single best way to protect yourself from influenza, and the same goes for everyone in your family who’s over six months of age. While receiving your flu shot by November helps ensure you’re protected throughout the season, it’s never too late to get a flu shot — Dr. Soos Pediatrics keeps the current flu vaccine in stock and available all season long.
Everyone in your family picks up germs throughout the day, and some of those germs find their way into your house. Even if no one is sick, you’ll want to clean more often during cold and flu season to wipe out lingering germ hotspots in your home. In addition to disinfecting door knobs, faucet handles, and countertops regularly, you should launder communal hand towels often.
Getting enough sleep each night is an easy way to boost immune system function and reinforce your natural defenses against infection — a well-rested body is in a better position to resist illness than one that’s tired, drained, or otherwise run down. While most adults need seven or eight hours of sleep each night, kids need 10 to 14 hours of rest (including naps), depending on their age.
You already know that healthy dietary habits can keep your child’s growth and development on track and help you avoid chronic disease as you age. But did you know that eating wholesome, well-balanced meals can also help fortify your immune system against viral invaders? To boost your intake of infection-fighting antioxidants, aim to fill at least half your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that active people tend to develop fewer infections during cold and flu season? Getting regular exercise doesn’t just keep you fit and trim, it suppresses inflammatory stress hormones and stimulates the release of infection-fighting white blood cells. Take advantage of Georgia’s milder winter weather and get your family moving outdoors as often as you can.
On top of making you feel frazzled and burnt out all the time, living in a state of constant stress can sabotage your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to illness. To shore up your natural defenses and protect yourself from seasonal viruses, do away with senseless stressors, manage inescapable pressures, and make daily downtime a family priority.
At Dr. Soos Pediatrics, we’re dedicated to helping all our young patients — and their families — stay healthy throughout the year. Call our Dublin, Georgia office or click online to schedule your child’s next visit today.