Keeping kids healthy through cold season

Published On: Mar 20 2012 09:52:44 AM CDT   Updated On: Sep 25 2012 10:20:37 AM CDT

(NewsUSA) - Sniffles and sneezes, sore throats and coughs -- the return to school heralds cold and flu season's start. Children, between uncovered sneezes and unwashed hands, quickly spread germs to classmates.

When cold season comes, it arrives with a vengeance. But parents can boost their children's overall health, helping young immune systems fight disease. Here are some tips for parents looking to escape flu season unscathed:

- Keep children active. For many children, cold weather means couch-potato behavior. But from visiting pumpkin patches to ice skating, the fall and winter provide fun activities. Physically active children possess healthier immune systems, which help fight off infection. When it's too cold to play outside, consider indoor activities, like bowling or dancing.

- Watch your kids' diets. A healthy diet keeps young immune systems strong. Make sure that children eat healthy meals that include vegetables, fruit, healthy protein and whole grains. A healthy breakfast before school keeps young minds sharp and provides immune-supporting nutrition. If children won't eat breakfast, offer milk or 100 percent fruit juice and a multivitamin.

Even in children who don't skip meals, multivitamins fill nutritional gaps. Look for multivitamins without artificial preservatives or colors, like L'il Critters Immune C plus Zinc and Echinacea, which support healthy immune function and taste like regular gummy candies. L'il Critters Omega-3 Gummy Fish contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which improve concentration and help prevent disease.

- Allow unstructured play. Among school, sports, music lessons and community organizations, children can feel stressed and tired. While structured activities have their benefits, too much stress leads to poorer immune function. Make sure children have time for imaginative play, and you will see fewer sniffles through the school year.