It’s been a difficult winter, with fears of out of control superbugs whipping through our communities and ravaging already-weak immune systems. Add to that the usual slew of bugs that bombard our kids and you may be feeling a tad despondent about your family’s health going forward.
Yes it is overwhelming, and yes it seems like the scourge of this vicious and unremitting flu is unbeatable, but there is a bit of warmth on the horizon, and something you actually can do to help keep your loved ones healthy. A to-do list to set your mind at ease.
The suggestions are ones we’ve heard a million times, ones we’ve always already known, yet somehow we let some of these things slide. So let’s get serious about the simple stuff and, doctors agree, we’ll have a better chance of staving off the sicks, and putting up our best fight for a smooth and flu-free ride through spring into a dazzling summer ahead.
Hit the sack, hard. Time to prune that night-time routine and really prioritise the shut-eye. Too little sleep not only threatens to turn our cheery cherubs into tantrumming trolls, it also affects all of our immune systems and our ability to withstand exposure to cold viruses. Us adults need a full 8 hours, and the littlies even more.
Get some serious exercise. We know it’s the strongest influence on our health and wellbeing as adults, but are we prioritising it with our kids? Make sure their opportunities for physical activity are myriad and diverse, and better yet, start an activity you can do together every day or a few times a week, like walking the dog or kicking a ball around at the park.
Eat a varied diet rich in phytonutrients, found in deeply coloured foods like blueberries, tomatoes, orange sweet potato and spinach. Fill half of your plates at each meal with veggies, and be generous with brown rice, barley and quinoa for longer lasting energy. When the urge to snack hits, have fruits, nuts and raw vegetables ready at hand.
Scrub them hand, and make it something you nag your kids about as much as you plead with them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. After all, this is a far more important social contribution than manners, no? Clean hands are everything! If you have to, become that parent who periodically stalks the house with a soapy facecloth and bowl of warm water to keep those little hands germ-free.
Put that elbow to good use – it’s the most effective and responsible destination for the germs lurking within each cough and sneeze! Within a few short months of nagging, you’ll have your family’s sneeze game up to scratch. As for other people – well, that’s what those carry-packs of hand sanitizer are for after all.
Ditch the pressure to share. Kids don’t understand sharing until after they’re 5 anyway, so, parents, you’re off the hook. One of the more effective means of preventing transmission of germs is to avoid sharing your food with anyone else. It shouldn’t take too much reminding for that lesson to sink in!
Regular adjustments to our lifestyles can bring us closer to our best natural defence against illness: a well-rested, well-fed and fit individual with some smart hygiene habits to boot.
Date Published: 25 July 2016