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Want to Keep Your Kids Healthy This Winter? Here’s How.

If you have young children, you’ve probably noticed that little ones get sick -- a lot.  In fact, because their immune systems are immature, children under age five get sick an average of 12 times a year. Older children get sick between 6-8 times a year. Here are a few simple steps to keeping your kiddos healthy this winter.

Make sure they get enough sleep

Multiple research studies have proven that when you’re sleep deprived, you’re 30% more likely to contract a viral illness. So, make sure you prioritize sleep for your children this winter to help them stay well!   

Here are the amounts of sleep children should get based on their age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics: 

Infants 4 months to 12 months: 12-16 hours
Children 1 to 2 years of age: 11 to 14 hours
Children 3 to 5 years of age: 10 to 13 hours
Children 6 to 12 years of age: 9 to 12 hours
Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age: 8 to 10 hours

Make sure every family member gets a flu shot

Flu shots are an effective way to protect children against getting sick with the flu, which can lead to serious complications and, in severe cases, death. Even if your child is otherwise healthy, it’s important to get them immunized each year! The flu shot is approved for ages 6 months and up. It’s not a live vaccine, so it can’t make your child sick.  

Also, because it’s possible to be a carrier of influenza (meaning you can transmit the flu to other people even if you don’t have any symptoms), make sure the whole family gets immunized!

Spend time outdoors as much as possible

One of the reasons why rates of colds and flu rise in the fall and winter is because the weather is inclement, so people spend more time indoors, in close proximity, breathing the same air. A great way to help your kids stay healthy this winter is to encourage them to spend as much time outdoors as possible! As long as they’re appropriately dressed for winter weather, spending time outside lets them breathe fresh air, which can protect them from contracting many common airborne infections.

Keep hand sanitizer handy

Since many germs are spread by contact, it’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer accessible so your children can disinfect their hands frequently, especially after sneezing, coughing, or touching their face. By keeping sanitizer around the house, in the car, and in any other shared spaces, you can cut down on germ transmission, which will help your family stay as healthy as possible this winter.

Focus on foods that boost immune system health

While children’s palates often prefer starchy, salty foods, during the winter months it’s imperative to make sure they get enough vitamins and minerals to support their immune system. Good choices include yellow peppers (which have 6 times the Vitamin C of an orange!), almonds, turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberries. If your child is an especially picky eater, consider giving them a children’s multivitamin, especially during cold and flu season, to make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy

We're here if you need us

At GoHealth Urgent Care, we’re here to help you and your family stay as healthy as possible! We’re open seven days a week to care for you. If you have a minor injury or illness, don’t put off getting the care you need. We offer an easy check-in process and short wait times. Just walk-in or save your spot online. Select your location below to find the urgent care center nearest you.

Sources:
https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Supports-Childhood-Sleep-Guidelines.aspx
 

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