"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
Based on a recent University of Arizona study, it only takes one child coming home from school with the flu to spread flu germs to 60% of your household surfaces. With health care costs escalating, flu viruses whipping around the country, obesity and type 2 diabetes on the rise, parents need all the help they can get to keep their children healthy. Research tells us that prevention is the key.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend some basic steps that all of us can take to protect our children and families from illness.
1) Get the flu vaccine.
2) Teach kids (and adults) to cover their mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing.
3) Get everyone to wash hands often. It will go a long way toward reducing the spread of germs.
4) Disinfect frequently touched surfaces (like phones and door knobs).
5) Exercise healthy eating habits (vitally important for today's kids). Pay special attention to good nutrition, consistent meal times, and regular, age-appropriate exercise.
6) Make sure all children have health insurance.
7) Make sure all children have regular check-ups, routine doctor visits, and regular dental care (essential for overall health). Don't wait until a problem becomes an emergency. Emergency rooms are over-crowded with cases that may have been prevented with timely interventions.
If your child is uninsured - sign her him up today. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has information on health insurance programs - many of them free - in your state. Try www.insurekidsnow.gov and www.coveringtheuninsured.com for more info.
As we consider ways to promote health and prevent illnesses, it's essential that we focus not only on acute medical problems, but also on mind-body wellness and overall psychological health. It is critical that we reach out for support if our children or other family members are struggling with behavioral, cognitive and or mental difficulties, like depression and ADHD.
Visit these websites to learn more about health promotion and illness prevention and to discover ways to encourage Healthy Habits for your family: www.mentalhelp.net, www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov, www.nmha.org, and www.aap.org.