It’s no secret that kids are germ magnets, but why do kids get sick so often? How can you help them avoid viruses this cold and flu season?
If you’re looking for ways to reduce the number of viruses your little one catches this season and want to cut down on the medications needed to treat those viruses, we’re here to help.
There are many holistic ways to avoid getting sick this cold and flu season. In this blog, we will provide details on why kids get sick so often and how to keep them healthy at school, daycare, and beyond.
Why Are Kids Always Sick?
Let’s explore a few of the reasons that kids seem more prone to every bug that’s going around.
They’re Still Learning the Basics of Personal Hygiene
While adults recognize the unseen germs lurking on commonly used items, kids have a hard time understanding things they can’t see or feel.
Young children, especially babies, also tend to put things in their mouths that play host to a lot of germs, such as remote controls, shopping cart handles, and toys. On top of that, kids are still learning how to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, meaning you, their siblings, and their friends are likely going to be hit with a big ‘ol sneeze spray at some point this season.
Handwashing is also a learned skill. While running water over one's hands with a little soap is easy enough, scrubbing your hands thoroughly (and long enough) is something that children are still learning. Try encouraging them to sing the ABCs or another favorite song to help them pass the time and know how long they should be washing their hands.
Immune Systems Take Time to Develop
In addition to poor hygiene, one of the primary reasons children seem like they are always sick is that their immune systems are still developing. Babies have some immunity passed on from their mothers through maternal antibodies, which fade over their first 12 months of life.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a child’s immune system isn’t fully developed until they are 7-8 years old. So, while each cold and flu virus may make your heart ache (and lead to lots of missed daycare, school, and work), getting and fighting viruses is an important piece of building a strong immune system.
How to Keep Your Toddler or Child Healthy
If your little one goes to school or a childcare center during the week, you’ve likely had your fair share of daycare crud, coughs, and sneezes make their way into your home.
If you feel like you constantly have a sick toddler (or baby), finding ways to stay healthier is likely at the top of your wishlist this season.
Here are a few tips to help your little one get better faster:
Make Hand-Washing and Toy Cleaning a Game
Being sick is no fun, but you can add a little cheer to your home this virus season by turning cleaning into a game.
Play “I Spy” while washing your hands with your kids. This will help them keep their hands under the water longer and give you a nice bonding opportunity. You can also try setting a timer when wiping down toys to see who can clean the most toys before the buzzer.
Soak Up the Sleep
Not only is sleep needed when your little one is sick, but sleep is also important in building a strong immune system.
While your child is sleeping, their immune system releases cytokines, a protein that helps them sleep and fight off infections.
Get Enough Fluids.
Water is important to maintaining a healthy immune system, as well as flushing toxins from your little one’s body.
According to HealthDirect, kids ages 4-6 should get 5 cups of water daily; kids ages 9-13 should get 6 cups of water a day; and kids ages 14-18 should drink 6-8 cups of water a day.
What to Do If Your Teenager Feeling Sick All the Time
Teenagers yearn for more independence, and as a parent, you’re likely ready to hand over more responsibilities to your teens. However, if your teenagers seem to be sick all of the time, it may be time to take stock of what’s happening in your teen’s life to see what changes can help boost their overall health.
Encourage a Good Sleep Routine
Most teenagers get between 7 and 7.25 hours of sleep, yet their still-growing bodies need 9+ hours of sleep a night for optimal health and for their immune system to be functioning at its highest.
Keep an eye on your teenager’s sleep habits. If need be, play the strict parent/guardian card. Consider setting curfews or limiting phone time in the evening to make sure they get enough rest — especially when fighting off some kind of illness.
Pay Attention to Diet
In addition, not getting enough nutritious foods can lead to more infections and illnesses. If your teenager packs their own lunch and snacks for school, try to provide them with options to pick from to make it easier for them to eat balanced meals at school, work, or while hanging out with friends.
Help Them Manage Stress
There’s no doubt that the teen and young adult years can be a stressful time. You’re balancing school, jobs, relationships, and more — all while hormones are going crazy. However, excessive stress can make your teen more susceptible to illness and throw their body out of whack.
Teach your teens that it’s OK to feel stressed, and tell them about ways they can relieve stress, such as talking about it, journaling, or practicing mindfulness.
How to Not Get Sick From Your Kid
While it’s almost impossible to escape illnesses altogether, you can help prevent viruses from spreading like wildfire throughout your home by following these tips.
Encourage Good Hygiene Habits
No matter what time of year it is, make sure everyone in your household is getting cleaned up on a regular basis.
For younger children, that means taking baths a few times a week. For older kids, that’s a daily shower.
Make sure all kids (and grown-ups) are washing their hands promptly after arriving home, before cooking and eating meals, and after using the restroom at a minimum.
Changing clothes when arriving home can also help you keep germs from spreading throughout your home.
Contain the Germs
Having your sick loved one stick to their room and use a separate bathroom (if possible) will help limit the spread of viruses to the rest of your family.
Of course, you can’t leave little ones unattended, so wearing a mask or gloves when you have to make contact can be helpful.
In addition to cleaning hard surfaces with a disinfectant solution, don’t forget to wash your clothes, jackets, blankets, etc., which can all harbor germs and help viruses spread.
Try to help each member of your household (including you!) get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night so your immune system has time to produce its much-needed virus-fighting proteins.
Take a Preventative Approach with Somaya Life
Somaya Life is different from a probiotic. It has 10 targeted Smart StrainsTM of good bacteria, each specially chosen to regulate your immune and digestive system.
The inhibitor strains in Somaya Life help block unwanted pathogens that can harm the body and make you sick. The communicator strains help improve collaboration between the gut and brain, helping to support your entire body, including immune system function.
Somaya Life can help you build a strong immune system year-round, and doubling your dosage when you start to feel under the weather can help you get better faster. In addition, it’s safe for family members of all ages, though it should not be given to children who are not ready to swallow a pill yet.