Help for children while their immune systems are developing
Children seem to pick up all kinds of illnesses – especially at this time of year. Which is why the teaching of effective hand washing techniques to youngsters is so important, according to a recent report on the Irish Examiner website.
It poses the simple question “…why do kids get sick so much, and can you do anything to help?”
For the answer they spoke to an immunologist and university lecturer with 20 years’ experience of immune system research, Dr Jenna Macciochi, who for extra credibility, also has two young sons.
Dr Macciochi urges parents not to panic when illnesses such as colds and sore throats – even flu – occur. “It’s normal for your child to get maybe eight to 10 infections a year” she is quoted as saying.
The reason is that a young child’s immune systems is still developing. It needs to evolve and become more effective as they get older.
The best protection? Teach hand washing
Properly washed hands provide the best protection against the spread of infections says the report. Dr Macciochi acknowledges that this can be an issue with kids, based on her personal experience.
“No matter how many times I tell my kids about hygiene, they’re never the best hand-washers!”
Persist with the hand washing message she advises. It really is worth it.
“From my side, what we know is that good old handwashing with soap and water, where you get a good lather – and it’s actually the friction and motion of rubbing your hands together that gets rid of the germs – is more than sufficient.”
The article also provides an interesting insight into how and when a child’s immune system develops, referring to a “window of opportunity” that is presents for the first three years of a child’s life, which tails off further by the time they reach their fifth birthday.
The perfect mobile sinks for the teaching of handwashing
Free EYFS handwashing themed work sheets are available from our Kiddiwash site »
How to wash your hands
Here, children in your care can learn the ten simple steps that show how to wash hands effectively.