Here are five tips to keep your children healthy during the chilly season

As the winter season approaches, Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, reminds parents and caregivers of the importance of maintaining their children’s health and well-being. 

Colds and flu are quite common among children, especially during winter. The colder weather and increased time spent indoors close to others can contribute to the spreading of respiratory infections. 

Children, particularly those in school or day-care settings, are more susceptible to these infections due to their developing immune systems and frequent exposure to other children. 

The close contact and sharing of objects among children provide ample opportunities for viruses to spread. Additionally, the influenza virus circulates more widely during the colder months, increasing flu cases during winter.

“It’s important to note that with the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been changes in transmission patterns and public health measures that may impact the occurrence of respiratory illnesses in children,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health. 

“It’s always recommended to follow local health guidelines and take appropriate preventive measures.”

As much as we’d love to protect our little superheroes from every sneaky cold and flu villain, they can still catch a case of the sniffles. However, there are ways we can help our children ward off troublesome winter illnesses. Read on for Affinity Health’s five essential tips to keep children healthy in winter.

Encourage Proper Hand Hygiene

Regular handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. You must encourage your children to wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water, especially before meals, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing. 

If soap and water are unavailable, alcohol-based hand sanitisers can be an alternative. By instilling good hand hygiene habits, you can help reduce the risk of infections.

Ensure Adequate Nutrition

A well-balanced diet plays a crucial role in maintaining a robust immune system. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your children’s meals. 

These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can bolster their immune response. 

Additionally, consider incorporating immune-boosting foods such as citrus fruits, berries, yoghurt, and green leafy vegetables into their diet.

Promote Regular Physical Activity

Encourage your children to engage in regular physical activity, even during winter. 

Whether indoor activities like dancing, yoga, active games, or outdoor activities such as playing in the garden, jogging, or walking, keeping them active helps boost their immunity and overall well-being. 

Remember to dress your kids appropriately for the weather to ensure comfort and safety.

Ensure Sufficient Sleep

Adequate sleep is essential for children’s overall health and immune function. 

Establish and maintain a consistent sleep schedule, ensuring your children get the recommended amount of sleep for their age group. 

A well-rested body is better equipped to fight off infections and support their overall well-being.

Practice Respiratory Etiquette

Teach your children proper respiratory etiquette to prevent the spread of respiratory infections. 

It would help if you encouraged them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing. Remind them to dispose of used tissues properly and wash their hands afterwards. 

By practising respiratory etiquette, you help reduce the transmission of germs and protect their health.

Signs And Symptoms of Colds and Flu In Children

While cold and flu symptoms can overlap, some distinguishing features can help differentiate between the two. 

Common Cold:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Mild headache
  • Cough, usually dry and hacking
  • Mild fatigue or tiredness
  • Mild body aches
  • Watery eyes
  • Low-grade fever, if present, is generally mild

Influenza (Flu):

  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • High fever (often above 38°C)
  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue and extreme tiredness
  • Muscle or body aches, which can be severe
  • Chills and shivering
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose, although less common in flu than in colds
  • Nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhoea more common in children than in adults

Did You Know?

On average, children can experience anywhere between 6 to 10 colds per year, especially during their first few years of life, while, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during typical flu seasons, flu illnesses can affect around 8% to 20% of children. 

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