When you have children, it’s common for unwanted illnesses to plague your household during the school year, particularly with the all colds and their germs that come home from school and daycare.

It can be difficult to juggle a child’s illness along with full-time work and personal commitments, so it’s no surprise that parents often catch symptoms from their young ones.

Discount Drug Stores Pharmacist, Nicky Muscillo, shares her tips for parents to remain healthy when their children are ill or recovering from illness.

Nicky Muscillo

Discount Drug Stores Pharmacist, Nicky Muscillo says there are ways to stay healthy, even when the kids are sick.

1. Regularly wash your hands

Washing your hands can reduce the number of times a person contracts illness. People that wash their hands four times a day have up to 24 percent fewer sick days related to respiratory illness, and 51 percent fewer sick days due to gastrointestinal illness compared to those that do not wash their hands regularly.

“Washing your hands helps rinse away the bacteria and while it doesn’t take long for the bacteria to resurface, it’s important to wash your hands after touching household items that have come into contact with sick kids,” said Ms Muscillo.

If you’re out of the house or washing your hands with soap isn’t an option, Ms Muscillo recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

“Hand sanitiser is ideal to keep around the house or in your handbag when on-the-go, as they work well against bacteria and germs that may have caused your child’s illness.”

WATCH: The little boy who makes bears for sick kids. Continues after video …

2. Boost your immunity with vitamins

While it’s important to eat a balanced diet for good health, many know this isn’t always possible. Eating a fresh, healthy lunch is sometimes more idealistic than realistic.

A report from CSIRO found that Australians’ diets are increasingly lacking in the nutrients necessary for proper growth and development, with deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Folate increasing worldwide. A deficiency in essential vitamins and nutrients will weaken your immune system, meaning you’re more susceptible to your children’s illness.

“To strengthen your immune system and increase vitamins and nutrients that protect the body, we suggest incorporating vitamins supplements into your diet,” said Ms Muscillo.

“Vitamin C, B6, and E are the best vitamins for immune support, however it is recommended you visit your local healthcare professional to determine what’s right for you and your health.”

3. Maintain your vaccinations

Influenza is one of the most common viruses to spread, making it easy for parents to catch symptoms when their child is unwell. In addition, the virus is very adaptive, meaning a new influenza strain can develop every year.

“Vaccines not only prevent viruses from spreading to you, but they also protect your loved ones, particularly the elderly or children who are more susceptible,” said Ms Muscillo.

“If you have children aged 6 months to 5 years, it is recommended that they receive an influenza vaccination annually.”

Father helping son blow his nose

Washing your hands can reduce the number of times a person contracts illness.

4. Wipe down surfaces and apply disinfectants

One of the most common ways symptoms spread is via contact with infected surface. Clothes, towels and other household objects that have come into contact with infected hands are most likely to spread disease. Though it may be common practice to share just about everything with your kids, this may lead to you contracting an unwanted illness. Germs can survive for upwards of 24 hours and with viruses such as the common cold, bacteria can linger on surfaces for up to seven days, leaving plenty of time for them to spread from child to parent.

“When it comes to choosing disinfectants, look out for products that are alcohol or bleach-based, as advised by the World Health Organisation,” said Ms Muscillo.

“Disinfectants are effective at killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses. As a precaution, always use gloves and a face mask when using bleach, and work in a well-ventilated area.”

5. Keep bugs at bay

One of the best ways to stay healthy while your kids are sick is to actively prevent illness from occurring in the first place. On top of maintaining hygienic practices, such as handwashing and disinfecting, avoiding bugs is also a great way to avoid catching “the bug”.

Germs and disease are commonly spread by insects and rodents directly to humans. When these pests come into contact with people or materials, they can transfer germs and bacteria to other people.

“To protect your household against insects, make sure to keep house areas clean and cover any food you may have out. Your body is also important to care for, particularly your skin so use repellent or natural alternatives, and avoid sweet or strong-smelling perfumes as these can attract insects” said Ms Muscillo.

For more information about Discount Drug Stores and their professional services available, please visit www.discountdrugstores.com.au.