Of course, it’s not possible to completely shield your child from ever catching a cold or flu, but there are healthy habits you can teach them to protect themselves and other children this flu season.
- Get Them Into the Hand Washing Habit
Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of common child illnesses such as cold, flu, conjunctivitis, and more. It’s important to make hand washing a habit, especially if your child spends time in Early Learning where other children may be unwell. Teach your child to wash their hands before eating, after blowing their nose, and after using the bathroom.
- Teach Them How to Wash Their Hands Properly
Is your child washing their hands properly? For hand washing to be effective, children need to know how to do it right. Teach your child to wash their hands for at least 15 seconds using soap and water. You can sing a song, recite the alphabet or count to 15 to make hand washing time fun and effective. Download our How to Wash Your Hands guide and stick it up in the bathroom.
- Show Them How to Cough and Sneeze Properly
Cold and 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 their elbow (not with their hands! This can spread illness through touch.)
- Teach Them to Avoid Touching Their Eyes
If your child touches something that someone with a cold has touched and then touches their eyes or mouth, a virus can enter the body through those points. Infections such as conjunctivitis can also be transmitted through touching eyes after touching an object that has been handled by someone with that infection.
- Encourage Them Not to Share Utensils and Cups With Friends
Children naturally love to share but it’s not a good idea to share eating utensils with friends, especially during cold and flu season. Viruses and bacteria are easily transmitted through saliva, so this is one type of sharing that you should teach your child to avoid.
- Keep Them Home When They’re Sick
It can be tempting to send your child to care when they’re not well, especially when there’s pressure from work or other important commitments. A sick child needs lots of rest and plenty of comforting warm hugs. Placing them in care not only places unnecessary stress on their healing bodies, but can spread the illness to other children in the Service. You child is safe to return to care when they feel completely better, don’t have a fever, and their symptoms have reduced.