How to keep kids healthy when starting school or day care

Is your child starting school or daycare soon? As many of us may have experienced, this time of transition can really impact a child’s health and wellbeing, so we hope the following information offers some key insights in helping keep your kids healthy when starting school or daycare.

This article is kindly sponsored by Flo, winners of the Tell Me Baby 2018 Best Baby Healthcare product.

The bane of many parents’ lives is when their little one gets a cold. In the early years, there seems to be a relentless reoccurrence of them. And even in the warmer, summer months, when most children start school or day care, this too can be a period of snotty noses and sneezes within many families.

School girl and Sibling

So, what’s the deal with these constant colds?

Colds are a regular occurrence in babies and young children because they’re just starting to build up their immunity. It might feel like your child is constantly sick or that their cold seems to hang around forever, but be reassured this is quite normal in very young kids.

Still, for many parents, knowing when to take your child to a GP or not, can be tricky. Parents sometimes take their children for treatment of a cough or cold expecting an antibiotic prescription.

However, antibiotics are not the answer for common viral infections. NPS MedicineWise cautions “Antibiotic resistance is a serious worldwide problem, and it’s happening in Australia.” 1

Antibiotics shouldn’t be prescribed in the case of colds and viral infections because they are ineffective because they are used to kill bacteria and not viruses.

If your child shows other symptoms other than a snotty nose, such as a temperature, fever, loss of appetite and/or is very unsettled then it’s a good time to see your GP.

If they seem to be sporting a constant runny or blocked nose, it might not be a cold – it might be an allergy, such as hay fever.

Child in grass

Colds vs allergies

Colds and allergies (e.g. hay fever) have similar symptoms and it can be hard to tell the difference, especially as colds in children tend to linger or return quickly after an initial cold.

What is hay fever?

Asthma Australia states that hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) is “an allergic reaction to allergens, or triggers, breathed in through the nose – this causes an immune response in the lining of the nose where the nasal passages become red, swollen and sensitive.”2

Some children may experience hay fever at certain times of the year (e.g. spring or summer) and others experience them all year round. Common allergens include pollen, pet hair, dust, mould or more.

In the warmer months, allergens such as mould, summer grass pollens and pollutants may be the triggers of a person’s allergies.

At school or childcare, your child may be exposed to dry, windy playgrounds and pollen in the air. If their school is in a built-up area, then pollutants could pose a problem. And with warmer temperature and higher humidity, there’s the issue of increased mould spores3 which are not particularly easy to identify in the home or at school or childcare.

What symptoms should I look out for?

If your child is suffering from some of the following symptoms, she/he may have an allergy and should see your GP.

  • Itchy, runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Always feeling like you have a head cold
  • Throat clearing or coughing to clear the throat
  • Mouth breathing
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

A more recent study has also shown that night time bed wetting is common in children with allergic rhinitis, particularly in young boys4.

There is a wide range of different options to help relieve hayfever symptoms but sound medical professional advice is key because treatment depends on many factors including age and severity and frequency of hay fever symptoms. For more information, visit Asthma Australia’s website.

How can a cold or allergy impact sleep?

Girls Asleep

Infants up to the age of two months are obligate nose breathers5. This means that when their nose is blocked, they do not instinctively know to breathe through their mouth which, can result in disrupted sleep. Whether a baby is bottle fed or breastfed, a blocked or congested nose may also interfere with feeding as breathing through the nose may be very difficult during suckling.

Toddlers and young children may also wake frequently during the night due to the discomfort of a blocked, itchy or runny nose.

What can be done?

For newborns, infants and children, a simple nasal saline, preferably one that can be used daily, without any preservatives, can be very useful in tackling a congested nose from a cold or allergy. A nasal saline can help thin mucus, wash away allergens and germs and as a result, help your child breathe easier6.

Whether you or your child has a cold or an allergy, Flo’s extensive family range of preservative-free products can help relieve symptoms of either.

There’s a product for every age in the family including Flo Baby Saline Drops or Spray, Flo Kids Saline Spray, Flo Saline Plus and Flo Sinus Care.

The Flo Range

The Flo family range prides itself on being;

  • Non-medicated and preservative-free for gentle daily use
  • Effective in relieving nasal congestion for both colds and allergies
  • Quick and easy to use to make dosing completely hassle-free
  • Available in most pharmacies throughout Australia

Flo Baby Saline Spray was recently awarded the best baby healthcare product by TMB Members. Parents love how effective it is but also how easy is to use, as it can be sprayed at any angle. This means that using it on the wriggliest of babies is a breeze!

Flo Baby Saline Nasal Spray

Flo spray products can easily be popped into a school or daycare bag too so that your child can get some relief from a runny, itchy or blocked nose even when they away from home.

Always read the label. Use as instructed. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional.

Don’t forget that along with regular nasal washing with saline, regular hand-washing is also important for both adults and little ones, to prevent the spread of germs. For more helpful cold hacks for all the family visit here.

Here’s wishing both you and your child a smoother, healthier transition to school or daycare this summer!

Find out more about the Flo range here and read reviews from Australian parents on Flo products here.

Flo advises that if your child shows signs of fever or illness and is not settling, please talk to your healthcare professional.

Online references:

  1. NPS Medicinewise
  2. Asthma Australia
  3. AMI Environmental
  4. NEJM Journal Watch
  5. International Journal of Pediatrics


Winner will be announced here sooon!

Would you like to win a healthy back to school pack for your child?

Giveaway Prize

This prize pack, worth $146.85, includes:

  • 1 x Flo Saline Plus
  • 1 x Flo Kids Saline Spray
  • 1 x Flo Baby Saline Spray
  • 1 x soft Flo elephant
  • 1 x Smiggle Back Pack
  • 1 x Smiggle Lunch Bag
  • 1 x Smiggle Drink Bottle

To enter to win this fantastic prize, complete the form below, answering the questions “What is your best tip to get a child ready to start school for the first time?”

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Entries close at 11.59pm on January 23rd 2019 and the winner will be announced in our newsletter, so make sure you’re signed up here.


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Terms and Conditions:

  1. These terms and conditions of entry, including information on how to participate and prize details (Terms), apply to the promotion and entry into the promotion is deemed acceptance of these Terms.
  2. The promoter is Tell Me Baby. ABN 25 155 148 093.
  3. Entry is open to residents of Australia aged 18 years or over excluding:
    a) management, employees, directors and contractors of the Promoter, its related bodies corporate, firms or companies associated with the promotion (including suppliers of prizes);
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