It’s that time of the year again when the sounds of sneezes and sniffles, and coughs and congestion, are in the air. That’s right, it’s flu season, which can be a concerning time for any parent. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we want you to know that your child doesn’t have to suffer this year. Here are some easy tips you can try to keep your little one healthy all the way to spring.
There’s a reason you’ll find posters in every bathroom stressing the importance of proper handwashing and why your pediatric dentist in Long Island stresses washing those hands regularly — because it works! A little bit of soap and warm water can go a long way in keeping your kids healthy and flu-free. Encourage your little one to wash his hands after using the restroom, touching another person, touching anything in public (think escalators and doorknobs!), and before every meal or snack. While soap and warm water work best to kill those pesky germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can work well in a pinch.
Having clean hands is one thing that can certainly help reduce the risk of catching the flu, but having a clean house is also helpful. Pay attention to the areas where your kids and your family spend the most time – like the bathrooms (don’t forget the toilet handles!) and kitchen. Sanitize things that are often overlooked, such as remote control, faucets, and toys. When in doubt, give it a quick wipe down with an antibacterial cleaner.
Hands touch so many things throughout the day, and even if your little one is washing them regularly, there’s still a chance germs are lingering around. In fact, the CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick.
The truth is, toothbrushes can play host to all sorts of gross germs that can make your child sick. But with proper care, those germs don’t stand a chance. Make sure the bristles are getting a thorough rinsing with warm water after every use to help flush bacteria down the drain (where they belong!). When it comes to storage, keep all toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles at the top and allow them to air dry. Avoid using those little plastic toothbrush covers — they create the ultimate home for bacteria because it’s wet, cold, and dark. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross-contamination, and of course, never share toothbrushes.
Water is the best thing for everyone to drink, but even more so during flu season. The truth is, a well-hydrated body is better equipped to fight off any infection. Try your best to have each member of your family drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. During flu season, if you can get them to drink a little bit more, it can only help.
Follow these tips this flu season to help keep your kids and entire family healthy all winter long. However, sometimes pesky germs find their way inside and make us sick. If that happens, your Long Island pediatric dentist encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate symptoms.