As young people and teachers head back to school in the coming weeks, there will be a lot of discussion about how best to keep them safe and healthy. These are valuable discussions this year, but they are important every year since cold and flu season often hits schools hard. While it is necessary that school officials take precautions to protect our children, we also must be proactive in preparing children to stay healthy. Here are 7 ways to keep your family well during the school year
1. Get Vaccinated
Doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine every year, optimally in October, so that we have time to build immunity to new flu strains by the time flu season hits. Covid-19 vaccines are readily available for free in the United States, approved for everyone age 6 months and older. If you have questions about vaccines, the best person to talk to is a doctor you know and trust.
2. Wear a Mask
Some schools are requiring masks this year, and some are making them optional. Requiring your children to wear masks at school is a way to protect your whole family this year. Studies show that wearing a mask in close quarters can help prevent people from becoming infected with airborne diseases, and if you are displaying symptoms of respiratory illness, you can help protect the people around you by wearing a mask.
3. Practice Good Hygiene
In addition to frequently washing your hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time, try to stop touching your face and rubbing your eyes. This will help prevent you from spreading germs from surfaces to your body. If your children don’t have the ability to wash their hands frequently throughout the school day, send them to school with hand sanitizer that they can use to protect themselves.
4. Eat Healthy, Whole Foods
Brightly colored fresh foods are the best sources of vitamins and antioxidants that we need to maintain good health. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also a good source. Fruits and berries such as Aronia berries contain essential vitamins and antioxidants. Superberries products, especially the Aronia berry Gummy Chews, make it easy to include these healthy berries in our families’ daily diet.
Exercise helps our bodies fight off disease. Besides boosting our serotonin levels and improving our sleep cycles, it also helps our bodies fight chronic inflammation and decreases the production of stress hormones. One other important benefit of exercise is that it speeds up the circulation of our white blood cells, which help protect us. Exercising together as a family is a great way to bond and keep everyone healthy.
6. Prioritize Sleep for the Whole Family
People who sleep an average of 8 hours per night experienced greater protection from illness even than people who sleep one hour less per night. We use a lot of energy to fight off disease, and sleeping conserves our energy. Also, our bodies produce cytokines, a disease-fighting protein, while we sleep. It can be difficult to make older children and adolescents, and even ourselves, go to bed at a reasonable hour but making sure we are well-rested is especially important as we head back to school.
7. Regularly Sanitize Surfaces
Regularly sanitize surfaces, even your phone. Though we all know to wash our hands regularly, it is equally important to sanitize surfaces where germs can collect such as door handles, computer keyboards, and cell phones. Not all illnesses can be transmitted from surfaces, but some can. Flu viruses can last for 24 hours on surfaces and some cold viruses live up to 7 days. If your child’s school isn’t providing wipes or sprays for cleaning their desks, send some with them in a plastic bag.
While it is not possible to control every aspect of our children’s school days, these easy steps will help them and our whole families stay healthier this year. Making a routine and commitment to health that involves the whole family will reduce your stress and improve everyone’s chance at a healthy school year. Including Superberries products in your diet is a healthy and delicious way to start.