Common winter health issues for kids
Have your kids already got the winter sniffles? Now is the time to get your children’s immunity and health on track to prevent the onset of the season’s most common bugs.
But before we look at the solutions, let’s firstly look at why kids seem to pick up bugs so easily, especially this time of year. “With the cold weather, adults and kids tend to stay indoors, which encourages the spread of viruses. Kids also have poor hygiene behaviours such as washing hands regularly,” explains Dr Louis Cheung, General Paediatrician at Prince of Wales Private Hospital.
“Help your kids avoid picking up bugs by teaching them good hygiene habits such as washing hands, using tissues and not sharing drink bottles and utensils. Also, immunise your kids to give them good protection against the more serious diseases,” suggests Dr Cheung.
So, what else can you do to help prevent some of the common ailments that tend to affect children this time of year? We spoke to Michelle Boyd, Natural Medicines Expert from Flordis Clinically Proven Natural Medicines to get her top winter health tips to help protect your family.
Michelle Boyd’s winter health advice:
Common cold and flu
There is an increased incidence of colds and the flu virus in the community during winter, so children become more exposed. Viruses thrive off the cool, dry air, and during winter we generally spend more time indoors breathing in the same air. As a result, we lack vitamin D, which can ward off the virus.
Ensure your kids eat a balanced diet with adequate amounts of complex carbohydrate, protein, good fats, fruits and vegetables, and keep them hydrated throughout the day. Also encourage hand washing with warm soapy water to prevent the spreading of germs and bugs, and make sure they get enough sleep.
Winter sees an increase in viruses, including the one that causes croup – an infection of the throat and windpipe that is caused by a virus like a cold.
The quality of a child’s diet plays a big part in preventing infections such as Croup. A diet high in sugar is likely to lower the immune system, while a diet high in fruit and vegetables is going to be protective.
SAD – Seasonal Effective Disorder
During the cooler and darker months, kids are exposed to less hours of sunlight and tend to spend more time indoors, which can increase the chance of children experiencing Seasonal Effective Disorder.
Encourage your child to get involved in winter outdoor sports and activities and family outings to the beach or park. Just be sure to wrap up them up in warm clothes! Also encourage regular social interaction with similar-aged children, sleep overs and play dates.
bh’s product recommendations to help treat winter health woes:
- An aspirator: a suction advice that can be used to remove mucus and fluids from the nose. This is particularly useful for young children who are unable to blow their noses.
- Saline drops: the salt water in saline drops helps relieve mild congestion, loosen mucus, and prevent crusting.
- Vicks VapoRub: when rubbed on the chest, this ointment helps to relieve congestion, and eases minor aches and pains and coughs.
- Olive leaf extract – this liquid interacts with the proteins in the cold and flu virus, which helps ease the infection.
What health issues have your children had in winter? How do you prevent your children getting ill in the cooler months?