Follow these easy do’s and don’ts to help keep your family safe from colds and flu.
1. Do: Trap it
Encourage your children to always cough sneeze or blow into a clean, open tissue.
Explain to children that cold and flu viruses are spread into the air by coughing, sneezing, speaking, singing and laughing. The sneeze is the biggest culprit in the transfer of colds and flu. Once the invisible particles are in the air, someone else can breathe them in and ‘catch’ the virus.
You might like to use a balloon to illustrate the effect of a sneeze. Fill the balloon with confetti and inflate. Release the balloon. The confetti spreads like freshly sneezed virus particles into the air. Similarly, you can show virus particles by blowing bubbles into the air. Watch them float and see where they land.
2. Do: Bin It
Remind your children to always throw their used tissue into the bin. Tell them to use a tissue only once. A pocket or sleeve is not a good place for a used tissue.
If your child has a cold at day care or preschool, encourage them to take a box of tissues from home; ready to trap sneezes that often comes with little warning.
3. Do: Wash It
Teach your children that if they don’t have a tissue, cup their hands over their nose and mouth to block their cough or sneeze. Wash their hands with soap and water straight afterwards.
For the surprise ‘dry’ sneeze, encourage the elbow sneeze technique i.e. cover the nose and mouth with the crook of the elbow.
4. Don’t: Eat It
Remind your children to always wash their hands before eating food, keep their hands away from their eyes and mouth at all other times and to never share cups, glasses or drink bottles.