Fall means changing leaves, cooling temperatures and back to school. It’s also prime time for kids to start getting sick. They’re back in classrooms with twenty-five other kids, playing on playgrounds out the cold, and rolling around in piles of leaves. Here are some tips for keeping kids healthy during the fall season.
Go to the Doctor
Your kids should be going to the doctor each year for a basic check up. Bring them at the end of the summer so your child’s pediatrician can make sure that he or she is in good health. You should also get your child vaccinated with the age and seasonally appropriate vaccines. Vaccines keep your child from contracting contagious viruses, and prevent other children—ones who may not be able to get vaccines—from getting sick, as well.
Get Enough Sleep
As school, homework and extracurricular activities start to pick up, sleep can become less important than trying to fit in everything your kids have to do. Sleep is crucial to staying healthy, and kids need even more than adults in order to feel well rested. They’re still growing, so their bodies are doing a lot all the time. Plus, getting a good night’s sleep will help your child focus throughout the day. Decide on a bedtime for your kids and stick to it, no matter how busy the day gets.
Keep Things Clean
This means everything. The spread of germs is what causes flu and common colds, so keep germs at bay as much as you can. Encourage hand washing all day—before meals, when using the restroom, after sneezing or coughing, or after playing outside. You should also take care to keep surfaces in your home and car clean. You shouldn’t go overboard with antibiotics, but a regular wipe down of countertops and doorknobs will go a long way.
Staying active isn’t just good for your health in the long run. It actually boosts your immune system almost immediately. It can flush bacteria and other toxins from your lungs and airways, helping prevent sickness. It also gives you a burst of natural energy that lasts throughout the day. While summer heat can make it dangerous to spend too much time outdoors, fall’s cool temperatures make it the perfect season for outdoor games and sports or long hikes and walks.
Getting enough vitamins and nutrients will keep illnesses away. Look for what’s seasonal for an inexpensive way to get your fruits and veggies. Fresh apples and pears, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables are all harvested in the fall. Make eating healthy more fun by pairing apples with peanut butter, or making butternut squash into a delicious soup. Packing a lunch for your kids will ensure that they get healthy food while they’re at school.
Fall weather can be unpredictable. If you send your child to school in a heavy sweater and jeans, they could become very warm playing on the playground and your child could get ill from overheating. You also don’t want them to get too cold, either. Send them in layers with light sweaters, scarves and other removable pieces.
If your kids do get sick, let them stay home from school. Forcing them to go all day when they’re not feeling well will only make things worse, and they could get their classmates sick, too.