Give your kids a back-to-school-boost

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By Rebecca Seratt
Chester County UT Extension Director

Summer is winding down and school is officially back in session!
With COVID-19 cases rising in many parts of the country, including Tennessee, and flu season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to help the kids (and adults) in your life give their immunity systems a boost. Check out these tips from Harvard Health:
OFFER fruits and vegetables at snack time and meal time to boost antioxidants in the body. Examples of these disease-fighting vitamins are A, C and E.
INCORPORATE plenty of physical activity in the day to improve blood flow and increase the effectiveness of cells that fight disease.
ASSIGN a bedtime that will provide adequate rest according to the child’s age. Grade school children need at least nine hours of sleep, while teens need a minimum of eight hours each night.
INTRODUCE your child to stress management techniques, like deep-breathing and meditation. Stress – even the good, exciting kind – can weaken the immune cells. Teach kids to manage stress early for better overall health.
PROTECT your child from exposure to tobacco smoke in homes and vehicles. Being around secondhand smoke increases the likelihood that a child will have more respiratory infections, middle ear issues and asthma symptoms.
CONSULT your family’s pediatrician before giving your child vitamin supplements, even those advertised as being “natural.” There are many options that offer various claims, but a health professional with knowledge of your child’s health history can give the best advice on whether they need a supplement.
Teach and practice proper handwashing at home! Educating your child on how to wash (with warm, soapy water); how long to wash (20 seconds or more); and how to dry (with a clean paper towel) can limit the number of germs that enter the body.
For more resources on health for the entire family, call the UT Extension—Chester County office at 989-2103.