Ah, the dreaded season is coming back again. No, not winter (although many of us in Northeast Ohio definitely dread that). It’s actually flu season (everyone dreads that)! Nobody wants to see their child get sick – especially not with something that can be as nasty as the flu can be! So, how can you help your child avoid the flu in these coming months? There are many ways:
1. Get a Flu Shot or Nasal Spray.
You probably knew that this would be on the list, but it’s true that the flu shot and nasal spray is one way that you can help your child avoid the flu this winter. However, keep in mind that the flu shot and nasal spray is not 100% effective and that there are other means that can help prevent the flu too. The flu shot only protects against the 3-4 flu strains that scientists predict to be most common and is up to 60% effective against those strains which is why it is important to consider other preventative measures, too.
2. Take in More Vitamin D.
It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that the time when Vitamin D levels drop due to the season corresponds with the time that the flu starts coming around. Researchers have shown that improving Vitamin D levels in people who are deficient can help people to avoid getting the flu. One of the best ways to improve Vitamin D levels is through exposure to the sun. However, this must be done sensibly as too much sun exposure can pose other risks. This may also involve taking supplements, but you should do this at the discretion of a healthcare professional.
3. Teach the Importance of Good Hygiene.
In the flu season, it is especially important to teach your children about good hygiene. Teach your children about washing their hands frequently with warm water and soap and about not sharing food with others. You can also teach them about not spreading germs by showing them how to cough into their elbow and to wash their hands after blowing their nose.
4. Avoid High-Sugar Diets.
This can be a hard one because most kids really love sugar. Sugar weakens the immune system which makes your child more susceptible to the flu. Thus, it is best to try to reduce the amount of sugar and sugar-containing food in your child’s diet to keep as healthy as possible during flu season.
5. Maintain a Balance of Sleep and Exercise.
Make sure that your child receives enough sleep every night. Your body is able to repair itself when you sleep, and not sleeping enough can compromise the immune system. To make sure that your child’s immune system is performing well, make sure that he or she is getting the proper amount of sleep for someone his or her age. This may mean getting to bed earlier or sleeping later.
Interested in learning more about how Vitamin D helps to prevent the flu? Check out these great resources for more information:
- Study Confirms Vitamin D Protects Against Colds and Flu from Harvard
- Vitamin D Is More Effective Than Flu Vaccine, Study Says by Dr. Mercola
- Vitamin D for Influenza by Gary Schwalfenberg, M.D.
- Does Vitamin D Prevent Colds and Flu? by Dr. Weil
No matter which methods you employ to help prevent the flu, we wish you and your child good health in the upcoming flu season. If you have any questions, please reach out. We are always willing to talk!