How to Keep Your Child Healthy this Flu Season

You will know it’s flu season when the temperature starts to drop and almost everyone around you is sneezing, coughing, or clutching a tissue. It is important that your child’s immune system is strong to protect them from sickness, especially as the weather starts to get colder. In this blog, we will explore how to boost your child’s immunity and keep them healthy during this time of year.

Practise good hygiene

Handwashing is one of the best strategies to avoid getting sick. As viruses can survive outside of the human body, your child can get sick by touching surfaces, objects, or other people. Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap, making sure areas around the fingernails, between fingers, and the back of hands are not missed. You should teach your child how to correctly wash their hands and encourage them to do it often, especially after using the bathroom, before and after eating, and after coughing or sneezing. If your child is unable to wash their hands, encourage them to sanitise their hands instead. 


Coughing and sneezing etiquette is also important for good hygiene. Teach your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow rather than into the air You should also make sure they throw the tissue into a bin and wash or sanitise their hands straight away.

Eat healthy

Healthy eating habits are essential for a child’s health, growth, and development. As the digestive tract makes up a large part of the immune system, eating a healthy balanced diet will also work wonders for your child’s immunity and their ability to fight off infections. The Australian dietary guidelines recommend that children should enjoy a variety of foods from the following 5 food groups:


  • Fruit.
  • Vegetables, legumes, and beans.
  • Grains, including bread, rice, and pasta.
  • Lean meat, fish, and poultry.
  • Dairy, including milk, yoghurt, and cheese.


In addition to the above, children should limit their intake of foods that contain saturated fat, added salt, or added sugar. They should also be drinking plenty of water. The body is made up of 50-75% water, but has no way of storing it and needs a fresh supply each day. The recommended daily intake of water for children under 5 years old is 5 cups per day, or around 1 litre. Drinking enough water can help your child’s body to flush out toxins and keep mucus thin when fighting off an infection. At Little Zak’s Academy, we help your child develop healthy eating habits and make smart food choices. Every week, our children participate in Little Zak’s Kitchen, which encourages your child to try new foods, develop good hygiene, and be responsible. Activities include sushi making, sandwich making, and cupcake decoration.

Boost immunity with vitamins

As children grow, it is important that they get enough vitamins and minerals in their diet, especially as we enter the colder months. This can help promote immunity as well as overall health, well-being, and childhood nutrition. The best immune-boosting vitamins and minerals for children are as follows:


  • Vitamin C: the body does not produce its own vitamin C, nor does it store any. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights inflammation and repairs damage caused by free radicals. It is also necessary for cellular death, which clears out old cells and replaces them with new ones.
  • Vitamin D: naturally, we get vitamin D from the sun. However, reduced sun exposure during colder seasons can limit your child’s intake. Vitamin D is essential for proper immune function as it supports white blood cell function and decreases inflammation.
  • Zinc: essential for the development of immune cells, zinc also promotes communication between cells which helps the body recognise foreign pathogens and respond quickly. 
  • Probiotics: with around 70% of your child’s immune cells being in their gut, balancing the gut microbiome is key to a healthy immune system. A healthy gut interacts with immune cells and quickly signals a response to assist in the case of infection.
  • Multivitamins: a wide variety of vitamins and minerals play different roles in keeping your child’s immune system healthy. It can be difficult to stay on top of your child’s vitamin regime and your child may not appreciate taking lots of different ones. This is where a multivitamin can come in handy. Multivitamins come in many forms, including a drink, tablet, or gummy, and can ensure your child receives the different vitamins they need all at once.


It is important to consider your child’s individual needs when it comes to taking vitamins. If their diet is lacking a specific nutrient or they have a particular health concern, then a vitamin supplement may be appropriate. However, vitamins are unnecessary if your child is getting adequate nutrition from their diet already. While some unnecessary vitamins are expelled if taken in excess, others can be toxic to your child in high doses. It is important to seek advice from your child’s doctor before giving them any dietary supplement and always adhere to the recommended dosage.

Make sure vaccinations are up to date

When a child gets a vaccine, their body produces an immune response as it would after exposure to a disease. If they come into contact with that disease in the future, their immune system remembers how to respond to it, which prevents the disease from developing further. 


The NSW Immunisation Schedule outlines the vaccines that each child should receive within the first 4 years of their life. In addition to these vaccines, it is important that you take your child to get the annual Influenza vaccination each year to protect them from the latest strain. As the flu changes every year, an annual Influenza vaccine will reduce the risk of your child contracting the flu. Flu vaccinations help to promote herd immunity, meaning if your whole family is vaccinated, your chance of catching the flu is reduced. This year, the influenza vaccine is free for children aged between 6 months and 5 years.

Stay home if you are sick

Illnesses spread easily when sick children cough, sneeze, share toys, and play together. Keeping your child away from your childcare centre when they are sick helps to minimise the spread of infection among other children. Australian health and regulatory authorities also recommend this, as sick children need additional attention that is difficult to provide in a childcare centre without compromising the health and safety of other children. They can also recover more quickly if they can rest and be cared for at home. 


Your child should stay home if they have any of the following symptoms:


  • Abdominal pain that lasts for more than two hours.
  • Cough.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Fever (temperature of 38°C or higher) or chills.
  • Mouth sores and drooling that the child cannot control.
  • Rash with fever or behavioural changes.
  • Runny nose or congestion.
  • Signs of severe illness that include being unresponsive, irritable, crying more than usual, or having difficulty breathing.
  • Sore eyes with pus or mucus.
  • Skin sores that are weeping fluid.
  • Vomiting more than twice in 24 hours.


In addition to the above, if your child is diagnosed with an infectious condition such as Chickenpox, Hepatitis A, head lice, or ringworm, they should not attend childcare. 


If we believe that your child has an infectious illness, we may ask you to collect them as soon as possible and only return when a doctor has given medical clearance. This helps to reduce the risk of other children as well as our educators getting sick. 


As the flu season approaches, keeping your child healthy and boosting their immunity becomes a top priority. By practising good hygiene, eating healthy, supplementing with vitamins, and making sure vaccinations are up to date, you can protect your child from sickness and boost their overall health. To learn more, contact us at Little Zak’s Academy.