As September comes to an end, and the new school year is back in session, our children are much more likely to be exposed to different viruses that have the potential to spread throughout our households. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2018), our children (on average) have 8-12 colds or flu-like symptoms throughout the school year. Often our children’s immune systems wear down a bit due to the stress and their hectic schedules. The spread of germs and viruses tend to overwhelm the environment.
Knowing that this is the season of sharing and spreading unwanted viruses and bugs, we all want nothing more than to keep our children and households free of the spread of infection. Ideally, doing our best at prevention measures will surely decrease the risk of acquiring those nasty illnesses.
Here are a few healthy tips to share with your children to help PREVENT illness from occurring and reduce the likelihood of SPREADING those nasty little bugs:
1. Get plenty of rest: 8-10 hours a night (National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-11 hours for kids aged 6-13, and 8-9 hours for teenagers age 14-17)
2. Be sure to get the FLU Vaccine (CDC studies show it to be 83% effective but it does vary year to year)
3. Wash your hands with soap and water after each interaction with another child
4. Provide non-toxic hand sanitizers to children to carry in their backpacks
5. Teach kids to cover their coughs and sneezes
6. Eat healthy foods (immune systems take a hit when a child’s body is bombarded with food additives, preservatives & sugar; eat plenty of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds & legumes)
7. Talk with your health care provider about adding probiotic supplements containing lactobacillus & bifidobacteria strains
8. Make time for creative PLAY and DOWN TIME
9. Supplement with Vitamin D, Zinc, Elderberry, Fish Oil & Vitamin C
10. Don’t share drinks or food with other children
11. Epsom salt baths before bed (1 tablespoon in bath water)
12. Diffuse essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus & tea tree oil (they possess antimicrobial properties, and when evaporated, they can begin eradicating airborne fungi and bacteria within 30 minutes)
13. Finally, keep your child well-hydrated avoiding drinks with high sugar content
As a parent of two teenagers & a healthcare business owner myself, wellness has become increasingly important in my household, as our lives just keep getting busier. Keeping my children well and teaching them strategies to prevent illness has always been top of mind and is my priority. Navigating life in the healthiest way possible, helps keep our home free of illness.
So keep pushing on these prevention tips and teach your kids the best habits when they are young. You just may see the positive change you may be looking for.
Dr. Elsie Crowninshield, DNP, RNP, CCRN, NE-BC

Dr. Elsie Crowninshield, DNP, RNP, CCRN, NE-BC
Dr. Elsie Crowninshield, DNP, RNP, CCRN, NE-BC received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Loma Linda University. She is a CV Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Entrepreneur with over 30 years experience in Critical Care Cardiovascular/Trauma Nursing and Executive Nursing Leadership. Dr. Crowninshield is Board Certified in both Critical Care Nursing and Executive Leadership and has a strong background and expertise in Holistic Clinical Patient Care, Academia, Executive Leadership, Program Management, Clinical Informatics, Healthcare Business Strategies, Community Outreach and Strategic Nursing Development. She is currently Vice President of the San Fernando Valley Association of California Nurse Leaders.