It's that time of year where germs are just getting passed around at schools and public places. Mom Alison Price, who is also a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner at Olathe Health Family Medicine – Ridgeview, has some tips to keep the germs away.
#1 - Get a Flu Shot!
As all moms know, there is nothing worse than having a sick child! Little ones are especially vulnerable to cold and flu viruses that can lead to serious illness. I recommend everyone getting a flu shot so the whole family is protected. Even if your child does catch the flu, having the vaccination significantly reduces the severity of symptoms and the need for hospitalization.All of our Olathe Health primary care locations provide flu shots. Learn more by checking out olathehealth.org/flu.
#2 - Teach Proper Hand-Washing
If you’ve ever been in an elementary school classroom, you know they are breeding grounds for germs. Kids put pencils, erasers and just about everything in their mouths and share them with friends. By modeling good hand-washing techniques, you can teach kids to help prevent illness. First, make sure they are scrubbing for 20 – 30 seconds; a fun way to count the time is to sing the ABC’s or Happy Birthday while washing. Then, spark interest in hand hygiene with some fruity smelling, brightly colored or character-themed soaps.
#3 - Cover that cough!
When we were kids, the rule was to cough or sneeze into our hands. Now, we know germs are much less likely to spread if we aim them into the crook of our arm. Show your children how to shield their coughs and sneezes with their arm or a tissue and always follow with hand-washing or hand sanitizer. Another point of entry for viruses is the eyes. Teach children to avoid touching their eyes and faces to help prevent highly contagious viruses like conjunctivitis.
#4 - Healthy Foods = Healthy Kids
With picky eaters it may seem like a daunting challenge to get them to eat healthy foods, but there are sneaky ways to get it done. By incorporating some key foods into your kid’s diet, you will strengthen their immune system to help prevent and fight illness. Two foods with strong antibacterial and antiviral properties are garlic and mushrooms; try camouflaging these immune boosters in soups and pastas. Another super food pairing is berries and Greek yogurt. Berries are full of vitamin C and antioxidants, and Greek yogurt is packed with protein and lactobacillus. A kid-friendly way to combine the two is make a smoothie. Last but not least, brightly colored vegetables that are bursting with carotenoids and antioxidants can be added to pizzas or shaped into funny faces and then dipped in ranch dressing.
#5 - Balance Activities with Bedtime
As a parent these days, we seem to spend most of our free time shuttling our kids from one activity to another. While it’s important for their health and immune systems, physical activities need to be followed with rest. Young children between the ages of 6-12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep each night and 13-18 year olds need 8-10 hours of shut eye. Not only does sleep help ward off illness, it also helps with children’s emotional health, focus and cognitive function.
If the germs do get you and your family, you can stop by one of our many Olathe Health Family Medicine offices. We offer same-day priority scheduling and walk-in services. For more information, call 913-782-2224.