Submitted by Deacon Carolyn Houser
My Child Is Sick Again: Tips for Keeping Children Healthy
It’s normal for young kids to catch a cold bug or a virus 8 to 12 times per year. Since kids’ immune systems have not encountered these viruses before, they are more susceptible to getting each new virus they are exposed to. You may worry that your child has a weak immune system. Parents should talk with their childrens’ doctor about this when children show these patterns:
- They seem to catch a cold or virus infection more often than
8 to 12 times per year.
- Their infections do not go away or are especially severe.
- Their bodies are not physically growing at a normal rate.
- You have a family history of immune disorders.
Many illnesses are spread through germs shared by touch. Children, and adults should wash their hands after sneezing, blowing their nose, touching doornobs, desks, and handrails, after using the bathroom, and before and after eating. Vaccines and vaccinations help children develop immunity to a number of serious diseases and infections. During the winter months, the flu vaccine is especially important. It is the best way to prevent the flu. Influenza, or the flu, can be easily transmitted at school. Vaccines can help prevent it.
It is important to teach children good hygiene. Show them how to properly cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, especially since respiratory infections can easily be spread through airborn droplets.
While scientists are looking closely at whether taking probiotics, vitamin C and D, zinc, garlic, and ginseng will help children get sick less often, there is not yet enough clear evidence or research to prove or disprove their benefits. What is clear is that a diverse and health diet will provide many of the ingredients being studied. Feed children fruits, veggies, yogurt (containing active cultures), and fortified dairy products and they are likely to get these substances naturally. Eating a healthy , well-balanced diet is important for everyone, but especially for growing kid and busy students. Offering options from all food groups provides the right mix of vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed to stay healthy.
Another common sense approach to keeping children healthy is to ensure they get enough sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10 to 13 hours each day for preschoolers and 9 to 12 hours daily for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Teens should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day. Children who nap can count that sleep toward their daily sleep total. The benefits of good sleep are endless; as mentioned in Helping Nerves, sleep efficiency (not sleep duration) contributes to improved grades in math and language. Sleep allows our bodies to repair and rejuvenate through repairing tissue, boosting muscle mass, synthesizing proteins, releasing growth hormones and maintaining a strong immune system. Studies show that children who get less than 10 hours sleep a night are 3 times more likely to be obese than those getting 12 or more.
Children who are less active get sick more often. When kids increase their activity level they are less likely to get respiratory infections. So, keep children moving and exercising in the cold weather does not give one a cold.
Teach children to give personal space to kids who are sick. This doesn’t mean to ignore them, but to avoid body contact and minize handling items the sick child has been using, such as toys, books or markers. Sharing food with friends is a generous act that should be reinforced, however, drinking from the same bottle or eating a snack from the same baggie spreads germs fast. Use individual containers to divide up the snack before eating or into cups before drinking. Have children use their own school supplies when possible. Sharing markers, pencils and glue stick with someone who is sick can quickly allow those germs to spread. Provide children with their own supplies so they do not need to borrow. Having a small personal pencil sharpener is a good idea.
Finally, when children arrive home, have them leave shoes and backpacks by the door. Shoes and bags pick up many germs from the floor of classrooms, school buses and bathrooms. Leaving these items by the door helps keep germs from spreading around the house. It is also a good idea to spray, wash or wipe down backpacks every couple of weeks.
Edited Source: https://mendakotapediatrics.wordpress.com