Keeping Your Kids Happy And Healthy Over Christmas
Christmas should be about great food, even better wine, snuggling with your family in front of a roaring fire and watching your kids skip gleefully down the stairs in the morning and watching them unwrap their presents with unfettered joy. It should not be about mopping brows, wiping snotty noses and wading through a sea of crumpled tissues to get to the sprouts. It’s bad enough if you or your partner falls ill over Christmas but when your kids get ill, it can rob the occasion of their infectious joy. Before you know it, all of your weeks of careful planning and judicious present selection have dissolved into a cloud of coughs and sneezes.
As much as we all try to keep our homes safe and sanity, we all know that our kids’ schools are petri dishes of infection as your kids learn and play with their peers and come into contact with untold legions of pathogens. While you can’t follow them around all day, squirting hand sanitizer in their general direction (without scarring them for life psychologically) there are steps you can take to make sure that their Christmas isn’t kyboshed by cold and flu viruses.
- Make sure their jabs are up to date
Catching colds are an unfortunate but necessary part of growing up. Cold viruses are virulent and exposure to them is important in building a robust immune system so that they’ll be more resistant when the next strain comes along. Flu, on the other hand, can be seriously damaging to a child’s health. Most schools are pretty good at ensuring their charges get regular immunizations but it’s always worth checking in with your GP or using an app like GPs powered by babylon to check that your child is up to date with their jabs. For young children, a flu vaccine is administered annually as a nasal spray.
As in most things, knowing is half the battle. If your child is struck by a cold, being cognizant of the symptoms will prevent it from spreading to the rest of your family and enable you to treat it before it threatens to ruin your son or daughter’s Christmas. Colds typically last for 6-14 days and they are at their most contagious within the first 3 days. A comprehensive list of symptoms can be found here. You can further prevent the spreading of the virus by washing your hands after coming into contact with your child and by ensuring that they cover their noses and mouths when sneezing or coughing.
- Feed them immune boosting foods
A healthy and balanced diet is hugely important for your child’s development at any time but particularly when cold and flu bugs are rampant. Make sure that their diet is loaded in foods that are rich in zinc such as nuts, seeds, pulses and dark chocolate. They should also get lots of berries and green leafy veg for vitamin C and antioxidants and lots of protein in beans, nuts and pulses.
Finally, as excited as they may be for the big day, ensure that your kids get plenty of sleep so that their bodies can marshall their natural defenses while they rest.