They say that the only 2 certainties in life are death and taxes. I, and every other parent and guardian on the planet share the secret wisdom of the third certainty …children and illness!
As much as we treasure our children, the continuous jaunt along every childhood illness takes it toll on the most patient of parent. Some visit soft play areas with enthusiasm, knowing their children will be occupied for at least an hour. Others approach it with the same trepidation some would liken to a dip in a vat brimming with every germ known to mankind.
Children’s parties are a veritable feast of bacteria, and schools …well why don’t we just teach children to wipe their noses on each other’s faces, and cough directly into a friend’s milk?
Until all childhood illnesses are eradicated, we must bear the joy of germ parties, but there are protection-providing strategies.
It All Lands on the Hands
We know hand-washing is important, although upon closer inspection, we may be less diligent with children’s digits as expected. Are they taking the time to wash them properly/? There is evidence to suggest that thorough, regular hand-washing significantly reduces the likelihood of contracting illnesses. Experts recommend scrubbing for 15-20 seconds. Washing hands after going to the bathroom is a given, but there are other key points in the day where children should wash hands, straight after nursery or school, parties, playdates, the park, inevitably anywhere they have frolicked with other children!
Secondly, if there is any miraculous way you can discourage your child from touching their mouth, eyes and nose a trillion times a day, this will also prevent the number of opportunities for sharing bugs.
The Hard Sell… Eat Well
No parent needs to be told this, but I will anyway, just for kicks. A healthy and balanced diet is a sure-fire booster for the immune system, enabling it to work harder at keeping those nasties away.
Get your hands on any foods which are particularly high in vitamins A, B, C and E, as these are the immune system’s best friends. Yellow and orange foods are especially good at battling bugs, so oranges, clementine, and mangoes are good options.
Most parents will be vigilant about including high levels of calcium in their children’s meals, but other important minerals to consider are zinc, potassium, magnesium, and protein.
Get Your Coat
The very last thing you want to do on a bitterly cold day is leave the warm house, but experts have found that exercise and fresh air provide children with many benefits, not least, reducing the incidence of illness. One theory is that the exercise promotes the circulation of bug-fighting cells, and the evidence stacks up.
We may be a long way off a world where children and bugs don’t walk hand in hand, but in the meantime, there are several strategies for parents attempting the unachievable. Let hygiene, nutrition and the outdoors help. Arm yourself with veggies and hand-soap, and may the strolls be with you.
Tim Aldiss writes for Pharmacy Requirements – shop for medication at your discretion.