There are myriad benefits accompanying healthy hygiene habits, but during winter's cold and flu season, good hygiene is even more important. Teaching your child good hygiene at an early age is a great way to keep them healthier and avoid bad habits as they get older.
Here are some important healthy habits for combatting illness this cold and flu season:
- Have your child cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. They should use a tissue to catch sneezes and cough into the crook of their armthis prevents spreading the illness to others. When someone coughs or sneezes into their hands, everything they touch next is going to get covered in germs.
- Have them wash their hands often. Before eating, after using the bathroom, when they get home from school, after a play date, after they've been outsidethis is one of the best ways to prevent spreading germs. Use warm water and soap and lather both sides of the handsand don't forget the area around the nails. Hand washing should last 15-20 seconds or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
- If you don't have access to soap and warm water, have kids use an alcohol based hand sanitizer and rub their hands together until its all evaporatedusually about 20 seconds.
- Help them remember to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Cold and flu germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth, so best to keep fingers out of these areas and wash hands often.
- Don't let them share straws, cups or toothbrushes.
- Get them to drink plenty of fluids and eat a balanced and healthy diet. Foods rich in Vitamin C and D are especially importantfruits, veggies, beans and lentils are great flu fighters.
- Make sure they get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can nearly double your risk of getting a cold or the flu.
Stay healthy and happy this season!
Central Maine Pediatrics at Lewiston is committed to educating families and offers a variety of special services in addition to routine physicals, preventive care and more. For more information, call 207-795-5730 or visit www.cmmc.org.