It’s winter, so it’s no surprise we’re all hearing more about the common cold and flu.

The latest research from BioCeuticals and YouGov reveals it’s not just feeling sick that worries us when it comes to the common cold and flu.

One in two Aussies with children under 18 are concerned about how they will support their family if they get sick (50%), while many others worry about money lost when sick (75%).

While we can’t always prevent catching a common cold or flu, there are extra steps we can take to support our family’s immune health.

We all have our own tips to get through winter, and here, Jacqui O’Donnell, Practitioner Business Director at BioCeuticals shares her top 5 tips to support your family’s immunity this winter.

Tip 1: Create a healthy sleep routine

A recent study found up to 45% of Aussies are getting inadequate sleep and research shows that inadequate sleep does no favours for our immune health! A great way to support your family’s sleep habits is to instil a sleep routine. A routine essentially becomes a habit when practised enough, so by agreeing to set times for sleep – whether it’s for you or the kids – you’re kept more accountable on ensuring a good night’s rest.

Adults need more than seven hours per night, school age kids need around 9-12 and younger children need even more! Make the switch to more snooze-time easier by switching off blue light, tech and the TV 30 minutes to an hour before bed.

Not enough sleep can effect our immune system. School age kids need 9-12 hours sleep per night and younger kids even more.

Tip 2: Feed them more fruits and veggies – even if you have to hide them!

Fruits and veggies are a trickier food group to find fans for, especially if you have children! It’s also a problem when we consider the fact that fewer than 1 in 10 Aussies meet their daily intake requirements for veggies and less than 50% meet them for fruit.

As a general rule of thumb, Aussies should be aiming for at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day. Why are they so important? Flowing in nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin C and E, and even antioxidants – fruits and veggies are a must-have in your family’s immune support regimen.

Plus, they can actually taste good! If your kids hate broccoli, try grating finely into sauces or sauteeing veggies of a variety of colours if your kids aren’t a fan of salads and plain steamed veg.

Tip 3: Consider supplements for extra support

While we can’t always avoid catching a common cold or flu, we can take steps to support our immune health, so we are in the best position possible. A healthy diet is the best way to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs.

If you need a little extra support, one way to do this is to consider immune-supporting supplements, such as ones that utilise vitamin C, D, zinc and other nutrients to support our immune system health. One option to try for children ages two and up is ArmaForce for Juniors, while adults can lean on the original ArmaForce and other products. It’s important to always read the label and follow the directions of use when using supplements.

While we can’t always avoid catching a common cold or flu, we can take steps to support our immune health, so we are in the best position possible.

Tip 4: Help your family practice good hygiene

Personal hygiene should be an ongoing practice and it’s important to teach kids good habits, especially while they’re young. Establishing good hygiene habits like washing hands before and after eating, going to the bathroom, or after touching things in public places (like train stations), is a good place to start.

Especially when common colds and flu are more prominent – like in winter – social distancing is a great, effective tool to reduce the risk of catching viruses like the common cold and flu.

Tip 5: Make mindfulness a must-have tool in the home

Stress is common in the homes of Aussie families. A study by BioCeuticals and YouGov has found that Australian parents of children under 18 have additional concerns on top of symptoms of the common cold and flu, including losing money, infecting others and being able to take care of their household when sick.

Stress is also proven to impact our immune health. To support your family in reducing their stress, make mindfulness a must-have tool in the home. Whether you encourage yoga, meditation, mindfulness colouring or the practice of gratitude, working to remove unnecessary and prolonged stress for you, your kids and loved ones, is an effective way to support your immune health – and at the same time, works to make mental health an open topic for communication at home.