Keeping Your Children Healthy This Winter
As parents with young children, we can all empathise with the issues winter brings in its wake of cold, wet weather. Winter brings with it its fair share of infection and illnesses resulting in coughs, colds and high temperature. Young children are more prone to getting sick in the winter than in any other time of the year.
As parents, we always want to protect our children from all forms of pain and discomfort. We try our best to help our children to live healthy lives, similarly, charities are working tirelessly in supporting orphan children around the world, especially through the Rohingya crisis appeal to help children of Rohingya deal with the health threat from the upcoming winter.
No matter where the child lives in the world, a sick child is not just in pain and discomfort but it also means missing school days and learning. For parents, it means managing babysitting or taking days off work to look after the sick child. This post aims to support parents on how to reduce instances of illness and on what to do when your child gets sick.
How to Reduce Instances of Your Child Becoming Sick
No matter how hard you try it is almost impossible to stop your child from becoming sick in the winter months, simply because the children’s immune system is developing and they are more prone to catching infections and illnesses. There are, however, somethings we can do to reduce the number of instances your child becomes sick.
- Encourage your child to wash their hands frequently, this helps in reducing the risk of catching an infection through dirty hands
- Encourage your child to blow their nose using a tissue to reduce the chances of spreading of germs through hand contact
- Encourage your child not to touch their eyes unnecessarily as this increases the risk of spreading germs through the eyes
- Ensure your child’s vaccinations are up to date
What To Do When Your Child is Sick
- Ensure your child rests – the more your child rest during a bout of illness the quicker they will recover as the immune system will have the opportunity to focus on fighting off the infections recover. Resting doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping throughout the day, although this is the best means for an early recovery. Encourage your child to sleep as much as possible, however during the times the child is not sleeping, they should rest in bed doing a relaxing activity such as reading, colouring or playing board games.
- Encourage frequent blowing of the nose – encourage your child to blow their nose frequently, this encourages the removal of mucus from the inner linings of the nose. During a bout of illness, the body produces mucus which if left in the nasal system increases the feeling of heaviness. The frequent blowing of the nose helps remove the extra mucus produced by the body.
- Encourage your child to drink more fluids – during times of illness, the body dehydrates quickly, losing water through sweating and breathing as the body tries to regulate its body temperature. Children, especially lose more fluid if they have a high temperature or diarrhoea. However, the body needs water for recovery as most of the organs in the body use water for efficient functioning. So encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids such as water, warm drinks, milk or juices especially ones consisting of electrolytes. Offer your child soup, these have high water content and fruit such as oranges which are not only high in water content but also have vitamin C which is vital for recovery from colds and flu.
- Ensure your child eats food high in Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps in shortening the period of a cold or flu by helping to boost the immune system, easing the symptoms of cold and flu. Orange or lemon juice, fresh oranges and citrus fruit and supplementary tablets are all helpful during times of illness.
- Use a humidifier – Night time is when the symptoms of coughs and colds are the worst. Using a humidifier during the night or during your child’s nap time can moisten the air helping the child breathe more easily as it thins the mucus, helping to relieve congestion and soothe coughs.
- Have a cuddle time with your child – Children require plenty of love and affection during times of sickness, they may be extra irritable and cranky because they are not feeling well but a cuddle can help soothe your child. Cuddling up to your child helps in comforting them, helping to take their mind off the discomfort and pain they are feeling. Reading a book in bed with them or watching a film with them would benefit both you and your child.
It is an especially difficult time for parents when their child is sick, no parents want their child to suffer unnecessarily and we all want to do our utmost to ensure our child is as comfortable as possible during their times of sickness and discomfort. I hope these tips will be helpful for you to support your child through their period of sickness.