5 Ways to Keep Your Family Well This Winter

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How can you keep your family healthy during cold and flu season? Follow these tips to boost their immune systems and keep viruses at bay.

Winter doesn't have to be a time for sniffles, sneezes, and fevers. Of course, germs will always be around and you can't seal your kids in a bubble, but you can follow some steps to help your family ward off illness.

  1. Keep the immune system healthy with good nutrition. A balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, helps the body fight off colds.
    • Buy a box of apples or oranges and keep them in a cool place like the garage. Peel oranges and use apples in desserts to encourage kids to eat them.
    • Make soups with spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and other vegetables. Puree and add cheese on top for a wintry day.
    • Serve celery, carrots, snap peas, and other vegetables with low-fat ranch dressing for a quick and fun snack.
  2. Make sure your kids get enough sleep. Children who don't get enough sleep are more susceptible to winter viruses. Kids need differing amounts of sleep, ranging from 12 hours for toddlers to about nine hours for teens.
    • A child who is a little cranky or irritable or simply looks tired may not be getting enough sleep.
    • Set a regular bedtime and stick to it.
  3. Encourage your kids to be physically active. Recent research shows that moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and adolescents be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day. This can be done generic levitra soft with  in smaller chunks of time throughout the day. Exercise is important to good health.
    • Take family walks together. Young children love being with their parents, and a family walk is good for everyone.
    • Keep TV and computer time to a minimum.
    • Provide outside fun. Swings, bikes, skates, or even something as simple as a jump rope can keep kids busy and active for hours.
  4. Teach proper hand washing. Also remember to tell your kids to sneeze into their sleeves, not their hands.
    • Keep in mind viruses can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.
    • Keep waterless hand sanitizer handy for times when a sink isn't available.
  5. Have regular checkups and get immunized.
    • Talk to your doctor about getting the flu vaccine.
    • A no-shot vaccine is available for some children.