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Children's health

12th Sep 2023

Back to school: Nutritionist shares four ways to get ahead of cold and flu season

If you want to avoid a cold and flu outbreak in the family home, these are great tips to follow!

While your family may have settled into school life again or for the first time, the last thing you need to worry about is an outbreak of colds or flus in the house.

According to the HSE, it is normal for a child to get eight or more colds a year, but that doesn’t mean they have to.

A nutritionist with over 20 years of experience has provided us with her top four tips for getting out in front of cold and flu season and preventing your little ones from catching one in school.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., RDN, says schools are full of ‘hot zones’ for germs, but there are precautions that parents and teachers can take to help reduce the number of students falling ill.

A number of items can be put into your child’s schoolbag to help keep them healthy as we enter the colder months.

Firstly, a personal water bottle is key to avoiding water fountains, which are considered one of the germiest places in a school.

Having your kids bring their own water bottle to limit or even eliminate the use of a water fountain is one of the surest ways to maintain their health over the cold and flu season.

Implementing probiotics and vitamins into your child’s routine can promote better digestive health and immunity, which, in turn, will help them be better equipped to combat viruses.

Skipping what’s on offer in the school cafeteria or shop can help limit the spread of germs on trays or items that have been pawed by other people.

Packing a lunch with healthy food options can assist in this matter, and it also allows parents to control the level of sugar their kids are consuming, ultimately lowering their risk of getting sick in the long run.

And finally, packing some sanitising wipes into your child’s school bag and encouraging them to use them to wipe down desks and cafeteria tables before eating is the most powerful way to prevent the spread of germs.

Try using them in the family home to normalise this practice that will keep your little one germ-free this cold and flu season and avoid an outbreak within schools and your household.