When my daughter first entered preschool, she was sick almost every month. This was so frustrating for me because I also caught whatever bug she brought home.
When I talked to my fellow moms, I realized that we all had the same problem. So how can your child stay healthy amidst all the potent school germs?
Dr. Anna Lisa Lopez-Gabriel, pediatrician at the Makati Medical Center and Medical Center Parañaque, and owner of MommyDepotOnline.com lists down the ways.
If your child is already sick
1. Go to the doctor – Let’s say your child did catch a bug at school. If it’s something you feel is more than a regular cold, take him to the pediatrician. “The doctor will clear you or advise if it’s safe for your child to go to school, meaning is it transmissible,” says Dr. Lopez-Gabriel.
2. Cover their mouths while coughing or sneezing – Not easy to teach a toddler or a preschooler to do. But the more you remind them or maybe even make a game out of it, they might one day surprise you and even remind you to do it.
3. Complete rest
If you want to keep your child illness-free
1. Keep clean – Do not underestimate the importance of washing your hands.
2. Update immunizations – “Vaccines are not one hundred percent protective,” says Dr. Lopez-Gabriel. “But they may ensure that even if your child gets the disease, he may get a milder form of it and more importantly, be protected from fatal complications.”
3. Boost your immune system with vitamins and minerals from good food – “I am a strong believer that if a child eats healthy, a lot of diseases can be prevented,” says Dr. Lopez-Gabriel. Here are her suggestions on what to and what not to feed your child.
What to feed your child:
• Fruits - These are packed with vitamins and minerals and so even just a couple of bites or pieces are enough. I usually suggest avocado, papaya, strawberries, apples, and bananas. These are very good as immune boosters and very good for the tummy. One to two servings every day is okay.
• Vegetables – These are a bit of a hard sell. Not everyone likes them, but I find that some children like okra, broccoli, and cauliflower (drizzle a bit of Cheesewhiz and bake). If your child likes soup, shred pechay leaves or malunggay leaves into very small pieces so that they don’t necessarily taste them, but they get some for every spoonful of soup.
• Probiotics – Yakult and yoghurt are very good for digestion (they fight against gastroenteritis) and also boost immunity. One to two bottles a day of Yakult and one to two cups of yoghurt every day is fine.
• Tomatoes - If your child likes pasta or pizza, make the sauce with real tomatoes. Tomatoes are very high in lycopene, which has anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.
Stay away from:
• Bottled/canned/boxed food - To eat this occasionally is okay, but remember that these are laden with preservatives that can harm the body.
• Red hotdogs – They are processed and unhealthy. Buy the brown ones instead.
• Instant noodles – These are incredibly high in salt and MSG
“I understand that these are the ones that most kids like, but it’s also about putting your foot down,” reminds Dr. Lopez-Gabriel. “Remember that they are kids, if they had their way, they would really only eat the food they like, and most of the time these are the salty and the sweet. But as parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure that they grow up healthy.”
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Olivia Yao has been writing ever since she can remember. She has written for health, teen, parenting, and children's magazines. Her latest endeavor is being a mom to her three-year-old daughter—her toughest assignment yet.
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