While it’s not possible to shield your kids completely from catching a cold and flu especially if they attend school, you can teach them healthy habits to boost their immune systems and decrease their chances of picking up an infection. Follow these tips for how to get your kids into healthy habits to prevent colds and flu (and protect others when they themselves are sick).
Get them into the hand washing habit. Hand washing is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of common schoolchild illnesses such as flu. Since children spend so much time together during the school year, it’s a good idea to make sure hand washing becomes something they do automatically, as a matter of habit. Teach your child to wash his hands often, especially before eating, after blowing his nose, and after using the bathroom.
Teach them how to wash their hands properly. Getting your child to go to the sink won’t matter if she merely splashes her hands in the water for a second and calls it done. She should wash properly for at least 30 seconds with soap and water.
Show them how to cough and sneeze properly. Flu viruses can become airborne on droplets of saliva when someone sneezes or coughs. Teach your child to cover a sneeze or a cough with a tissue or with the inside of her elbow.
Tell them to avoid touching their eyes. If your child touches something that someone with flu has touched and then touches his eyes or mouth, the virus can enter his body through those points.
Encourage them not to share utensils and cups with friends. Kids naturally love to share but it’s not a good idea to share eating utensils with friends, especially during a flu season. But viruses and bacteria are easily transmitted through saliva, so this is one type of sharing that you should teach your child to avoid.