How to avoid the back to school flu

Whether you are delighted that it is time to go back to school or you’re finding your mornings a nightmare, that time of year is officially upon us. When the new school year arrives, it’s a busy time for both parents and children. This creates the perfect playground for new germs to thrive. Right after ‘back to school’ there is often a wave of new strains of colds and flu as students, teachers and parents get knocked out one by one.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot we can do to stop these germs from coming to the party each year. However, you can put in place some simple tricks to help avoid and prevent the back-to-school plague.

1) Keep your hands to yourself

 One of the most common and often overlooked ways of keeping germs at bay is a little warm water and soap! Washing your hands regularly can help to keep colds and flu away. The World Health Organisation recommends singing “Happy Birthday” twice can help ensure you wash your hands for the right amount of time. Teaching kids in schools to adopt this approach whilst also making sure they get in between their fingers and dry their hands properly with a clean towel too. It’s not only washing regularly but teaching them to understand when the right time is. For example, not just when they use the bathroom but also after break time and before they eat too.

Touching screens can also spread germs and it can be best to avoid touching your mouth and eyes before washing your hands. Washing your hands regularly can remove dirt, virus and bacteria and can help to stop them from spreading.

2) Get enough vitamins

It’s not just vitamin C that can help to prevent colds, but getting enough zinc, vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A and Selenium can all help to stay healthy. Stocking up on oily fish, egg yolk and butter can help to boost your Vitamin A levels, whilst topping up your Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin D and B12. Red meat can also add to your Zin, B12 Vitamin D and Selenium levels too. Vitamin C can be found in oranges, kale and broccoli as well as plenty of other food sources. Packing up a healthy lunch for the kids can help them to fight diseases.

These vitamins and minerals can help to fight colds from the inside out. They don’t just help protect the immune system but can also fight dry skin, low mood and actively fight infections to keep you healthy.

3) Add in some garlic

Garlic is often used both in your food but also has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Garlic contains a specific compound called alliin that converts the Sulphur to release medicinal properties. These compounds can help to boost the immune system by increasing white cells in the body.

Eating garlic can help to reduce the risk of getting a cold or the flu as well as reducing the severity of the symptoms. If you don’t like garlic, there are supplements you can buy instead. But if you’re a fan, you can also cook in garlic oil too to give your immune system a boost.

4) Limit sugar intake

Whilst most people are aware that eating a balanced diet can help to keep you healthy. Sugar can also interfere with how much vitamin C we absorb into our system. The more glucose you take in, the less your body can absorb Vitamin C and prevent colds. Vitamin C is a key component in staying healthy as it increases the activity of white blood cells. As a result, it helps to build our immune system.

This is only in the case of excessive amounts of sugar. So, you don’t need to cut it out immediately. But it is best to try to avoid sugary Vitamin C supplements as they can counteract the benefits of the vitamin C. Try to get your vitamin C hit from natural foods such as oranges and broccoli.

5) Stay at home

Okay, so it’s a little unrealistic to lock yourself away in the hope of avoiding a cold, but it can be beneficial to stay at home if you start to see signs of a cold. Often people have the mentality that having a cold shouldn’t stop us from heading to work or school. But actually, staying at home can help to stop spreading germs further. If you feel like you’re contagious, the best thing you can do is to stay home, rest and make sure you drink plenty of fluids.

6) Get the flu vaccine

The flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS for vulnerable people such as pregnant women, the over 65 or if you suffer from certain medical conditions. Flu vaccines are also free for children aged 2 and 3 as well as up to year 5 in school. You can get this at your local GP or pharmacy too. With the flu vaccine being more accessible now, it can help to prevent the spread of flu amongst the school kids.

7) Get enough sleep

A lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your immune system. You are more likely to contract an illness if you’re not getting enough sleep. Sleeping is also involved in healing and repairing your heart. An ongoing lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, high pressure, diabetes and stroke. Infection-fighting antibodies are reduced in periods you don’t get enough sleep. Getting around 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night can help to fight diseases.