Back to School: top tips for supporting your child’s immune system by Boots UK Chief Pharmacist Marc Donovan

20 August 2020

September is fast approaching and up to 7.25 million children are preparing to head back to school after the summer holidays, with some returning for the first time in nearly six months.

With some parents understandably feeling a little anxious about how they ensure their children stay safe and healthy, Chief Pharmacist for Boots UK, Marc Donovan shares his top tips to consider as you prepare for your children to head back to school.

Be Prepared

“Being organised and getting prepared for your children to return to school will help you feel more at ease. Label your children’s belongings such as their bag, lunch box and water bottles with their names to avoid them getting mixed up. You can also make sure your children’s bags are packed with the essentials to help them stay protected while out and about such as hand sanitiser and tissues. It might also be good to remind your children of the importance of coughing and sneezing into a tissue and then binning it straight away and to remember to regularly wash their hands for 20 seconds.” says Marc

Marc, continues: “For bigger kids - particularly if they travel to school on public transport, they might also need a face covering and something to store it in during the day.”

Eating Well

Marc adds: “Eating a healthy, varied and balanced diet and making sure you drink plenty of water is a great way to support your immune system.

“It is also important to make sure that there is plenty of fibre in your family’s diet as this helps with digestion and also helps to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. Over 70% of the immune cells in our bodies are found in the gut.” 

Vitamins

“A vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C and D is recommended by the Department of Health for children up to five years, and if your child is a fussy eater, you may want to consider one beyond that age.  From October, through the autumn and winter you should consider giving your child a daily vitamin D supplement as it’s difficult to get enough of this vitamin from the diet and the sun isn’t strong enough to make it at this time of year.” Suggests Marc.

Staying Active

“Regular exercise like bike rides or walks and a consistent sleep routine will also promote a healthy immune system as well as our overall wellbeing.” Said Marc.

Flu Vaccination

Marc adds: “The best way to help protect yourself and others from catching and spreading flu is to have the flu jab every year.”

Free NHS flu vaccinations are offered to two and three year olds and also to all school children up to school year seven – not only to help protect the children against flu but also importantly, to help stop them spreading the infection to their family and the wider population. (Children are usually invited to be vaccinated against flu at school where they are usually given a nasal spray vaccination rather than an injection).

Earlier this month, Boots announced that it will be opening its Flu Jab booking system earlier this year to help more customers plan ahead to get their flu jabs before the winter months and help relieve pressure on the NHS.