How to Protect Your Child From Colds and Flu During the Holidays

Two Methods:Avoiding Colds and Flu During the HolidaysMinimizing Colds and Flu During the Holidays

Children are susceptible to colds and the flu due to their daily interaction with other children at school, daycare or at other activities. Around the holidays, they are even more likely to get sick thanks to being exposed to new viruses that are passed between the family and friends that they see and play with around holiday time. In addition to increased contact with other people around the holidays, the weather might keep kids indoors at that time of year, and the confinement gives them a higher chance of picking up viruses. Protect your child from colds and flu during the holidays by promoting healthy habits, getting some fresh air and keeping them clean and free of germs.

Method 1
Avoiding Colds and Flu During the Holidays

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    Promote hand washing at holiday time. Make sure your kids wash their hands with soap and water every time they use the bathroom and before and after they prepare food and eat.
    • Use holiday presents and treats as an incentive. For example, don't let kids have that candy cane or open that stocking until they wash their hands.
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    Teach children to use tissues instead of hands and sleeves to wipe runny noses. You can buy holiday-themed tissue boxes to make the option more fun and appealing to kids.
    • Wash hands after a nose has been wiped or snot and mucus has been cleaned up. Be sure to throw away the tissue immediately.
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    Keep kids from sharing cups, spoons, forks, bottles and food or drink. Passing the same cup and food back and forth can spread germs and viruses.
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    Stay away from smokers. Being exposed to secondhand smoke can increase your child's risk of getting colds.
    • Make your holiday gathering smoke-free. Direct smokers to an outdoor space when they need to light up.
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    Consider a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that children 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine every year.
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    Try to keep children from touching their eyes, nose and mouth. This is a common way for kids to spread germ and put themselves at risk for viruses.
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    Have some outdoor time. Even when it is cold outside, spending 30 minutes outdoors will provide fresh air and get your child out of indoor spaces where viruses circulate.
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    Keep your house as clean as you can to prevent germs and viruses, especially if you have holiday guests coming and going.
    • Sanitize and clean surfaces with a lot of traffic such as television remotes, toys, countertops and appliances.
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    Feed your child vitamins. Holiday foods can often be unhealthy, so make sure they are getting enough protein, fruits and vegetables with their Christmas cookies and apple pies.
    • Give your child a multivitamin every day if your pediatrician recommends it.

Method 2
Minimizing Colds and Flu During the Holidays

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    Stay hydrated. If your child starts to sniffle or run a fever, give him plenty of water, juice, popsicles and soup.
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    Call the doctor if a fever spikes or your child has flu symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
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    Go to an urgent care or after hours facility if you cannot reach your regular doctor. Your pediatrician probably gets busy during holiday time and might take some time off.
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    Stick to a reasonable bedtime. The holidays can get hectic and might include late nights. Try to get your child into bed at her normal time.
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    Keep your child at home if he or she is not well.

Tips

  • Ask guests if their children have been sick before you invite them over, or accept an invitation to their home. Mom blogs such as Mamapedia and BabySpot are full of parents participating in the debate of whether this is bad manners. Most people agree that everyone wants to keep their kids healthy, especially during the holidays. Few people would believe it is bad etiquette if you ask about family health before accepting an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at your sister's.
  • Give your children plenty of downtime during the holidays. There will be parties, events and social activities that they want to attend, but keep the schedule manageable. This will help everyone stay healthy and less susceptible to getting sick.

Article Info

Categories: Childhood Health