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Dr. Tanya’s Tips for Staying Healthy during Cold & Flu Season

By Dr. Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP
November 13, 2017

While we’ve had a mild fall so far, that hasn’t stopped the start of cold season. Because we all know catching a cold doesn’t come from actually being cold!

My office is already busy with little ones coming down with stuffed noses and coughs. With germs everywhere and kids in school, sometimes a cold is inevitable, but there are certain tips I tell my patients to keep their family as healthy as possible during cold & flu season.

5 Easy Tips for Cold & Flu Season

  • Wash your hands. So simple, but so important! Get kids in the habit of washing their hands before every meal time as they’ll most likely be handling their food in addition to using utensils. Parents of babies, make sure you’re washing your hands and baby’s hands before eating. Even if you’re only giving them a small snack – it’ll help prevent germs from entering their mouths and little bodies.
  • Healthy eating! Think of food as medicine. Filling your body and your kids’ bodies with lots of nutritious foods will help strengthen your immune system and keep your body feeling its best. My foundation foods that should be a staple in every home and work for babies, kids and adults include eggs, prunes, avocados, fish, yogurt, cheese, nut butters, chicken, beans, lentils, berries, citrus fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, and water. For example, babies can have mashed avocado and eggs, kids can have a whole grain quesadilla with chicken and spinach and parents can have salmon and steamed vegetables. When you start with real, wholesome foods, you have plenty of options to get creative with and make the ingredients applicable for every family member.
  • Probiotics. Working with Stonyfield YoBaby, I’ve talked a lot about the benefit of probiotics for baby’s tiny tummy. Probiotics play an important role in helping to support digestive health which in return helps support overall health. While you should be getting enough probiotics year round, they’re extra important during cold & flu season. Research has found that children that have enough daily probiotics have less sick days at school.
    • One of the best natural probiotic sources for babies, kids and parents is yogurt. It’s one of my foundation foods and is full of important nutrients including probiotics!
    • For the littlest ones in your home, I recommend Stonyfield YoBaby. YoBaby, the #1 Pediatrician recommended yogurt for babies 6 months – 2 years among refrigerated yogurts*, has the probiotic BB-12® which has been studied in babies and has been shown to have a digestive health benefit when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet.
  • Get the flu vaccine! I advise all of my patients to get the flu vaccine at the start of the season. It’s safe for anyone, including babies six months and older. And, no, the flu vaccine is not going to give you the flu, so don’t let that be an excuse. There are also needle -free options if you need it.
  • Sleep more! I can go on and on about the benefits of sleep because it’s that important. Sleep is crucial for little growing bodies. Babies and kids need to get enough sleep in order to stay healthy. Pick an early enough bedtime and stick to it. Make sure babies and toddlers are getting enough nap time – again, try to create a schedule that you stick to every day. If you’re concerned about your child’s sleeping habits, talk to your pediatrician.

*(IMS Health ProVoice Survey, 12/01/15-08/31/17)

BB-12® is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Stonyfield. The content provided, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If you have any questions about health or nutrition, we always think it’s best to consult with your doctor or healthcare practitioner.