By Rosemarie C. Lister, MPH
- Wash away the germs: Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20-30 seconds.
- Get plenty of rest: New schedules, sports, school work can all catch up with kids – they need to let their bodies catch up on rest.
- Watch for signs of stress: Stress can wear down the immune system. Discuss and find ways together to reduce stress. A walk and talk in the fresh air can help us all breather a little deeper.
- Soup it up/Wrap it up: Build their immune system with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Now that the weather is becoming cooler – throw together a pot of soup or some wraps with lots of veggies and top with some grated cheese. Check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Fruits & Veggies Matter website for recipe ideas.
- Add some fresh garlic: Garlic has been known throughout the ages to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal qualities. Enjoy fresh foods with garlic, such as pesto pasta and hummus. Add fresh garlic to entrees such as soups and salads. To learn more about garlic, and its effectiveness, visit the National Institutes of Health website. This website offers a comprehensive look at everything you need to know about garlic including how it works and any interactions it can have with certain medications. Always consult with your physician if you are on any medications to avoid complications.
- If they do feel sick, remember not to request antibiotics for cold and viruses. They are effective for bacterial infections only. Keep them hydrated with water and/or tea with honey. Again, always discuss any medical concerns with your doctor.
- Remember the old rule of thumb, if they are sick, keep them home. If they have a fever, they need to remain home for 24 hours after the fever ends.
- Flu Vaccinations: Discuss the flu vaccine, and where and when it is offered, with your doctor. There are many locations in Lehigh Valley that administer the vaccine. Google flu vaccinations in the Lehigh Valley for a complete list. (Or see this list.)
- Get the kids involved: Talk to your kids about how they can do their part to stay healthy by washing their hands, getting plenty of sleep and eating their veggies. Ask them to tell you when they feel run down or sick.
- Get out and have fun! Laughter, exercise and having good times can help their body to relieve stress and keep their immune system strong.
A Community Health Promotion and Education Handout by Rosemarie C. Lister, MPH
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