Keep Your Kids Healthy With These Back to School Health Basics
With the school year officially underway, illness is inevitable. Whether your kid is fighting off a cold, the flu, RSV or an ear infection, having a sick child is always a stressful experience.
Thankfully, there are some simple ways to diminish your kid's chances of getting sick this fall. Dr. Naticia Mortensen, a family medicine physician affiliated with Covenant, breaks down the best ways to stay healthy.
"Getting enough sleep, getting enough nutritious food, and drinking enough water are huge boosters for their immune system. Rest is particularly difficult when kids are starting back to school, but it's the most important part of staying healthy," Mortensen stressed.
What this means is sticking to a schedule as best as you possibly can.
Additionally, proper hygiene habits are extremely important to teach at a young age. This includes regular hand washing, covering their mouths when they cough, and keeping their hands away from their faces as much as possible.
Mortensen also notes the importance of including certain foods and nutrients in your child's diet. "Definitely fruits, vegetables, and protein are really important. I think most people don't know how important protein is for your immune system, but it's one of the main factors for how your body reacts to things," she said.
Moreover, make sure that they are consuming enough vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. These are fantastic immune boosters as well. However, Dr. Mortensen emphasized the importance of not overdoing it.
"I don't recommend kids going over the recommended daily quantity in a vitamin. So if the vitamin has 100 percent, that's okay, but don't get a vitamin that has 2,000 percent. They don't need it," she said."
When it comes to hydration, Dr. Mortensen has a quick and fast rule that parents should try to follow. "A really easy rule of thumb for parents is as many ounces a day for your kid as how much they weigh," she said. "That's the ideal water intake."
Lastly, she wants parents to remember that salty foods and caffeine will dehydrate your kids. Thus, avoiding highly processed foods as well as sodas, tea, and energy drinks is best, especially if your kids are spending lots of time outside or participating in sports.