Well the first day of fall has come and gone, and most of us have settled back into our regular routines. For many of us that means kids are back in school or child care. Wherever they are, they are sure to be around lots of other kids and that gets parents thinking:
- How can I keep my kids healthy?
- How can I protect them from getting the flu?
These and many more questions come to mind. Let’s start with the basics. Here are some simple but important tips to keep your child healthy:
- Eat well with Canada’s Food Guide. Offer your child a variety of foods from all four food groups
- Ensure your child gets adequate rest. Children need 10-13 hours of sleep every day
- Make sure your children are physically active. Aim for a minimum of 60 minutes every day of physical activity
- Teach children how and when to wash their hands
Immunization is also an effective way of keeping kids healthy and many vaccines are available free of charge. Talk to your family doctor about keeping your child’s immunizations up to date.
As in the past, Halton Region will continue to offer seasonal flu clinics beginning in November. This year, one of the high priority groups for receiving the flu vaccine includes children aged 2 – 4 years. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, this age group has experienced the highest hospitalization rates overall in the past few years due to flu.
Despite our best efforts, kids will still get sick. Some illnesses are straightforward and others are not. If you suspect that your child has a contagious infection that may spread to others, keep your child at home and contact your family doctor.
It’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan in place for your child’s school or child care so they know who to contact in case of illness. Remember, teaching kids to wash their hands and cough into a sleeve or elbow is often the best defence against many common illnesses. For more tips and hints on keeping kids healthy and anything else related to parenting, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- talk to us on Twitter
- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Joan Joyner is a public health nurse who has worked in a variety of programs in public health over the last 26 years. She currently works with the preschool health program and is an accredited Triple P and Nobody’s Perfect facilitator. Her other areas of interest related to working with families include child safety with a special focus on children’s health and the environment.