Stay Healthy and Stay in School!

Parents, prepare yourselves! Sniffle season is already upon us, causing millions of Canadians to miss work and school. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian took 8 sick days in 2008. In 2005, over 22 million school days were lost nationwide due to the common cold. While we don’t recommend that you or your child go in to work or school when you are sick, there are some preventative measures that can help squash those nasty germs before they take effect.

  1. Wash your hands. Germs can survive on hard surfaces and then transfer onto your hands. Make sure you wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, getting your thumbs, pinkies and the backs of your hands. Also, regularly wipe down common surfaces, such as computer keyboards, TV remotes, telephones, tables and doorknobs to keep viruses at bay. Washing your hands is one of the most effective and easy ways to keep yourself and others healthy.
  2. Keep moving. Just by exercising for 20 to 30 minutes a day, you can increase blood flow and decrease stress hormones. Exercise boosts your immune system and will help keep you running smoothly throughout the winter.
  3. Rest up. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night in order to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Even just one night of less sleep can negatively affect your immune system – a continual lack of sleep will compromise your body’s ability to create T-cells (disease-fighting cells) and you will have a harder time fighting off illnesses.
  4. Eat well. The foods that we put in our body can help keep viruses and illnesses at bay. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains to get the nutrients your immune system needs. Foods such as oranges, garlic, carrots, almonds, broccoli and yogurt are great immune system boosters. Try to include these foods in your diet for an extra virus-fighting kick.

Try to follow these guidelines to build your immune system to its fullest potential. However, we know that it’s not always easy to get more than seven hours of sleep or get your children to eat broccoli. In our next blog, we’re going to talk about what actions you can take if you or your child already caught a bug.  Stay tuned!

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