As your family may have already realized, it’s not just Covid-19 we have to worry about as we head back out into the world. A year of isolation means most of us have avoided the usual seasonal colds and flu, leaving our immune systems particularly at risk as we return to work, school, and social events. Young children at daycare or camp are some of the most vulnerable to these illnesses, but fortunately, we have five tips to prevent illnesses from making the rounds in your household.
Don’t put those masks away yet
Many health professionals are recommending the continued use of masks to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, even among vaccinated individuals. These masks also come in handy when someone brings home a runny nose or a cough. If you’re caring for a sick relative, wear a cloth mask in the home, especially when having direct contact with the person. If it’s a child that is sick, and they are old enough to wear a mask comfortably, have them put one on when venturing into common areas like the bathroom and kitchen.
Air things out
There’s a reason we implemented social distancing during the pandemic. More space and fresh air means less chance of contagious spread. If one person is sick, put them in their own private room, if possible, and open up windows to increase airflow. Use fans and air purifiers to keep air extra fresh.
Wash those hands
Handwashing is a top recommendation for avoiding illness as we usually transfer germs to our face from our fingers. Teach your children proper handwashing techniques (20 seconds with hot water and soap) and encourage them to wash their hands after using the restroom, before eating, and after spending time in a public space like the grocery store or a playground.
A little bit of prevention goes a long way
The easiest way to treat disease is to avoid it in the first place. Make prevention measures like a healthy diet, proper sleep, handwashing, and regular exercise a part of everyone’s day-to-day life. Building up a strong immune system and taking small everyday precautions to ward off illness will pay off in the long run.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
At the end of the day, there’s no way to prevent every cold and cough. These illnesses are part of life. Most viruses don’t live on surfaces, so you should wipe down high traffic areas, but don’t spend hours scrubbing down the counters. Encourage everyone to follow health recommendations and be smart, but don’t panic if someone brings a runny nose home from school.