We can’t stop our children from catching every infection. Coughs and colds are an inevitable part of childhood, especially once children start making new friends at nursery or school. In fact, building up some immunity to minor colds and infections now may help your child’s immune system to grow stronger. However, that doesn’t mean that you should try to catch these infections on purpose. Some childhood infections can be very serious, so you should do what you can to avoid them.
Get Your Child Vaccinated
Getting the childhood vaccinations is the most important thing you can do to keep your child healthy. We can protect your child against potentially life-threatening conditions such as measles. The vaccines that are given as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme in the UK have been selected to protect against the most serious threats in this country. If you’re taking your child overseas then you may need to get some extra vaccinations too.
You should also consider getting the seasonal flu shot, which is especially important for younger children or children with other health problems who are more likely to experience complications if they catch the flu. The seasonal vaccine can’t prevent all types of flu, but it can reduce the chances of catching it by protecting your child against the main strains that are circulating during each flu season.
Practice Good Hygiene
All of the good hygiene practices that you learned as a child are designed to stop germs from spreading. It’s important to keep using them yourself and to teach your child to do the same.
Wash Your Hands
Make sure that everyone in the family is washing their hands thoroughly with soap, especially after using the toilet and before eating or handling food. Germs can hang around everywhere, so we often pick them up on our hands as we touch toys, door handles, and other objects. Giving our hands a good wash can get rid of these germs so that we don’t transfer them into our mouths or anywhere else they could cause trouble.
Keep the House Clean
Keeping toys and surfaces clean can also help to eliminate germs, which is especially important if your child is still at the stage where they want to put everything in their mouths. Washing clothes and bedding regularly can also stop germs from building up.
Brushing teeth is important for healthy teeth and gums. It can help to shift the bacteria that could cause gum infections. Brushing our teeth and rinsing out our mouths can also make it harder for other kinds of germs to get into our bodies and cause problems like colds.
Cover Mouths When Coughing or Sneezing
If someone in the family does catch a cold, then it’s important to stop it spreading to everyone else. Covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze can help with this, so it’s an important habit to teach to your children. The best way to catch germs is to sneeze into a tissue, bin it, and then wash hands right away. However, covering your mouth with your hand or coughing into your elbow can also prevent germs from spreading.