Dr John D’Arcy, family physician, medical editor for the Seven Network’s ‘Sunrise’ program, and supporter of the Sneezesafe program, provides his top ten tips for preventing your little one picking up the cold and flu this winter.
“Sad as it may be, there are no cures for colds or for the flu. Both are caused by a virus and because of that are not susceptible to antibiotics. Prevention is the name of the game,” said Dr John D’Arcy.
- Wash your hands because cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact with the bugs. They can live outside the body for many hours and a wash with soapy water for 15 seconds and proper drying does the trick.
- Never cough or sneeze into your hands. That’s looking for trouble. You should always use a tissue when you’re sneezing. Remember the simple 1-2-3 message: Catch it in a tissue, bin it and kill it with a wash or an antibacterial wipe.
- Keep away from family and friends with a cold! A visit to ‘the sickies’ is asking for trouble!
- Hands away from your face. The bugs enter your system through the eyes, nose and throat. Put a road block to that access.
- Chicken noodle soup is a good idea. Apart from the importance of keeping well hydrated and making sure your metabolism is well flushed there may be some immunological strength in the soup.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, especially red, green and yellow coloured veggies which are full of powerful antioxidants to battle the bugs. Make sure your kids also enjoy three serves of dairy a day.
- Get enough sleep. 3 to 7 year olds need up to 10 hours a night. Sleep reduction upsets immunity and increases the risk of becoming infected.
- Don’t expose your children to tobacco smoke. It frazzles the immune system as well as drying out their airways and increasing the risk of infection.
- Stop watching TV and swap it for exercise in the garden. Any exercise that makes the heart beat faster and the lungs work more efficiently will help!
- Remember that warning? If symptoms come on, persist or get worse, see your pharmacist or doctor.
What is Sneezesafe?
Sneezesafe is an exciting and fun respiratory hygiene educational program designed to teach children about coughs, colds and flu in the classroom and at home to provide good hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of viruses.
Using a combination of entertaining Internet based games and free teaching materials, Sneezesafe has been developed by Australian teachers for Australian school children in the early years of education and is consistent with the Federal Government’s guidelines relating to the control of viruses like flu, H1N1 and the common cold.