3 clever ways to teach kids cold and flu etiquette

3 clever ways to teach kids cold and flu etiquette

With the cold and flu season fast approaching, now is a great time to teach kids how to build good health and hygiene habits. We spoke to Scott Annett, Health, Hygiene & Safety Specialist at Winc, to discuss three clever ways to teach kids cold and flu etiquette this Winter.

But first, why is it important to teach kids about cold and flu?

Did you know kids can experience the common cold up to ten times a year in comparison to the average adult who only experiences a cold two to four times a year?1

Influenza, also known as the flu, is more dangerous than the common cold, and in Australia, more children under five are hospitalised with the flu than any other vaccine preventable disease.2

“Kids who have had little to no previous contact with viruses that cause the cold or flu have a much lower resistance to infection,” informs Scott.

Use activities to teach kids about germs

“Young children may find it difficult to grasp the concept of germs, especially when they can’t be seen. That’s why a fun activity that demonstrates the way they spread might help them understand a little better,” explains Scott.

Try the glitter activity below.

Activity:

  • Tell the child that in this activity, glitter represents germs. Ask them to talk about what they observe and learn throughout the activity.
  • Ask the child to rub some hand lotion all over their hands, ensuring their hands are completely covered.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of glitter into the palm of the child’s hand and ask them to rub their hands together. Ask them what they see. The glitter should stick to both hands.
  • Ask the child to shake your hand and see what happens to the glitter. The glitter should have spread to your hands.
  • Ask the child to quickly wipe their hands on a tea towel. This method won’t be affective in removing all the glitter.
  • Finally, ask the child to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 40-60 seconds. All traces of glitter should be gone. Discuss how the same works with germs and explain that this is why it’s important to wash our hands.

Practice the vampire cough

“Teach kids they should always cough and sneeze into a tissue or do the ‘vampire cough’ to prevent germs from spreading. Show them how to cover their cough by bringing their inner elbow up to their face, like a vampire. If you demonstrate this technique step by step and practice with them regularly, you can help them build that habit,” says Scott.

Make handwashing fun

“There are many ways to remind kids to wash their hands throughout the day and even make the process fun. The Colop Wash Me Stamp is just one example. When you stamp a child’s hand with the ‘virus monster’ imprint, they get that reminder to wash their hands during the day. If handwashing has been done correctly, the imprint should be gone at the end of the day,” says Scott.

“Another great way to build handwashing habits is by using a simple reward system. Oversee hand washing and reward children with a sticker when they wash their hands correctly. This positive reinforcement can aid in their learning,” says Scott.

Help keep your kids safe this cold and flu season by teaching them about cold and flu etiquette and good hygiene. Shop our Winter Hygiene sale online for all your cleaning and hygiene essentials this Winter.

References:

1Health Direct, 2020, ‘Colds and flu’, <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/colds-and-flu>

2Health NSW, 2020, ‘Immunisation of young children against influenza – evidence review’, <https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Pages/young-children-flu-immun-evidence.aspx>