Heading back to school after a summer of fun in the sun, late nights and sleeping in, is always a transitional challenge for parents, and while we may look forward to the back-to-school routine, we don't look forward to all the germs that come with our children's return to school in the new year.
"While the best way to prevent germs from spreading is by washing hands with warm, soapy water it is important to ensure a healthy and functioning immune system as the basis for avoiding nasty flu bugs," says PharmaChoice spokesperson and pharmacist, Liezl van Tonder.
"The fact is that kids live in the fast lane, going from pre-school and school to aftercare and extramural activities with laden backpacks; and they're exposed daily to the germs and viruses carried by schoolmates, friends and strangers and germs are swapped faster than text messages.
"When our immune systems are robust and the viral exposure is relatively limited, we shrug off any attacks.
"But when the viral contact is repeated and quite heavy, or when our immune systems are compromised, we succumb, and get a cold, or flu and most parents will agree this is a nasty way to begin a new school year."
Typically, the flu it affects 10 to 20 percent of the population each year, which leads to many lost school days. There can be little doubt that this highly contagious viral illness should rather be prevented.
Although it is not always possible for our children to completely avoid getting sick during the school year, it is possible to significantly reduce the number and severity of infections.
Van Tonder recommends some simple preventative measures to keep those bugs at bay:
Keep their hands clean
Washing hands with warm, soapy water for 20-seconds will eliminate germs on the hands if washed correctly. Alternatively send your child to school with a waterless hand sanitizer and show them how to apply it and when they should use it.
Take immune-boosting supplements
As parents we like to think our children have a nutrient rich diet but the truth is they are probably not getting their optimal requirement just from their daily food intake. The easiest way to boost their immune system is by giving them a supplement containing natural immune boosters like ViralChoice Junior.
It contains Echinacea extract, green tea, rosehip, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D and E, folic acid, Biotin, Pantothenic acid and Selenium altogether making up the superpower ingredients provided by nature, and works by reducing susceptibility to cold and flu infection as well as helps recovery by reducing the duration and severity when sick.
Early to bed, early to rise
Heading back to school after a lovely summer of fun will mean that the body needs some time to adjust to early nights and early mornings. Remember that your kids are going to be faced with an initial lack of sleep in the first weeks as they get used to the new routine. This can make for a sleepy and weak immune system. If possible start to wean them back to an earlier wake up time four days before the big back-to-school day.
Make sure they eat right
Reduce your children's intake of food high in sugar, like soft drinks. Also reduce any foods that are significantly processed and contain artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives. Try to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and veg and the amount of whole foods in their diet.
Be creative and experiment with different foods to find healthy options that your children enjoy.
Keep them active
These days kids spend most of their day sitting at a desk in school or in front of the TV at home. Make sure that they get a minimum of one hour (preferably two) of moderate physical activity per day. Playing sports is great, but not all kids are interested in sports or enjoy competitive activities. So get outside with them kick a ball or have their friends over.