Cold weather means flu season and kids spending more time indoors. Learn how to keep your children healthier through flu vaccination and more exercise.
THE VALUE OF VACCINATION
The flu runs rampant during the fall and winter months, causing a wide variety of symptoms, including cough, fever, headache, and sore throat. In severe circumstances, the seasonal virus can be fatal. To help reduce your child’s risk for the flu, talk with your pediatrician about an annual flu shot.
“Getting a vaccination helps the body recognize germs and fight them,” says Andrew L. Jones, M.D., pediatrician with Summit Healthcare “A common myth is that the shot causes the flu, but the virus has actually been killed in the process of making the vaccination. Contracting the illness from the shot is not a risk, and the benefits are well worth the momentary discomfort and inconvenience of getting the vaccine.”
THE BENEFITS OF MOVEMENT
With the prevalence of computer-based homework, social media, and video games, kids are increasingly likely to be sedentary. If your child is not getting enough exercise, he or she may be at higher risk for a variety of problems, including diabetes, depression, low bone density, and obesity.
To decrease the likelihood of developing weight-related complications— boost your child’s energy levels—make sure he or she gets at least an hour of exercise every day. Play outside together as a family, take walks, or host an evening dance party in the living room to get everybody moving. Talk with your child’s pediatrician about specific bone- and muscle-strengthening exercises your child can do at least three days each week.
“Now is the most important time to make exercise a priority,” says Daniel Brewer, D.O., pediatrician with Summit Healthcare Medical Center. “Your child will never have more energy or a higher metabolism than he or she does now. At older ages, it’s harder to make exercise a habit.”