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5 Tips for Keeping Kids Healthy this Winter

Last year we published a post about keeping kids healthy during cold and flu season.  In addition to heating healthy and frequent hand washing, there are plenty of ways that your home’s HVAC system can also help out.  This year, as we enter cold and flu season while also in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, it is even more important to focus on our health.  So, once again we offer you advice for keeping kids healthy–with some minor updates for 2020.

There is probably no one who hates cold and flu season more than the parents of young children.  Not only are the immune systems of young children more susceptible to sickness, but daycares, schools, and indoor play places can be particular breeding grounds for germs.  This year, kids may not be in school as often, and they probably aren’t heading to indoor play gyms, but we still want to do our best to keep them healthy, right?  And, no matter what health issues are going on in the world, it seems that toddlers are always wanting to put everything in their mouths and preschoolers are very adverse to washing their hands.

All of this can add up to what seems like a whole winter full of sickness, especially if you have more than one kid in your home.  Despite all of these factors, how can you help your kids stay healthy?

1. Regulate the Humidity of Your Home

The flu virus tends to occur in very low humidity levels.  This is one of the reasons why you often see it popping up during the dry winter months.  If you don’t already have one, installing a whole home humidifier can be the simplest way to regulate your entire home’s humidity.  Or, you can always try placing portable humidifiers throughout your home.  The goal would be to keep your home at the recommended humidity setting of 40-50%.

2. Encourage Sleep

There are lots of reasons why your child should be getting plenty of sleep–staying healthy is just one of them.  One way to help with good quality sleep is by making sure that your home’s temperature is ideal for sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends a nighttime temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ideal temperature for sleep for infants is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Parents can easily be creating uncomfortable sleep situations for their children by trying to make sure they don’t get too cold at night.  A programmable thermostat can help you with this by automatically turning the temperature back in the evening for you.

3. Wash Your Hands, Wash Your Kids’ Hands

I have a 3 year old who often likes to tell me that he couldn’t wash his hands because we are out of soap.  Rarely is that true.  For some reason, it just feels like the worst thing in the world for him to spend 30 extra seconds in the bathroom washing his hands.

Especially during cold and flu season, hand washing is SO important to be vigilant about.  Make sure your child is using soap and water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.  Singing “Happy Birthday” twice through while scrubbing is usually the right amount of time.  Don’t forget to keep up with your own hand washing habit as well!

4. Prevent Your Child from Touching His/Her Face

With babies and young toddlers, this can seem like an impossible task.  Everything, including body parts somehow ends up in the mouth. This is problem because as Parents magazine explains, “Cold and flu viruses enter the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth….”  As much as you can, try to limit how often your child touches his face.  For older kids, this is a great time to teach about sneezing and coughing into an elbow instead of a hand.

5. Don’t Forget the Flu Vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year….”  Talk with your child’s pediatrician about when your children can become vaccinated this year.

6. Wear a mask and social distance

When indoors, or in areas where you can’t maintain social distancing, make sure to wear a mask that covers both the mouth and nose.  When possible, stay 6 feet away from others who do not live in your same household.

Helping your kids stay healthy is not an easy task.  Please feel free to contact us at FLAME Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical to learn more about programmable thermostats and whole home humidifiers.

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