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Health & Nutrition

Winters are here – Keep your child safe

With the advent of winters, every mother worries about the viruses and woes it brings along. Sneezes and sniffles resound in almost every household and most children do not give in to coaxing or cajoling for that one extra layer of clothing that may not keep the viruses at bay but sure does allay a mom’s worries. Though colds and coughs are common in winters, keeping a few winter care tips in mind can help keep your child healthy in the winter season.

1. Keep your child warm

– Needless to say, you must keep your child warm. Layering keeps a child warmer than one thick sweater. As a thumb rule, I put one layer more than I’m wearing on my daughter. Do not encourage indulgence in cold and/or spicy drinks. It is the best time for mugs of hot chocolate!
– If your child is less than a year old, do not bathe her more than 2-3 times a week. Trust me, it’s more than enough.

2. Encourage healthy habits

– As all flus, including swine flu are air-borne and are transmitted through infected droplets, keep your child away from sick people.
– Encourage hand-washing and tell your child to not touch the mouth and face. Use of alcohol based hand sanitisers also solves the purpose.
– Teach your child to use a tissue while sneezing or practise sneezing into the elbow.
– Avoid overcrowded and ill-ventilated places.
– Do not send your child to school if she is sick.

3. Build up immunity

– As children go to school, it is difficult to avoid exposure to viruses. A good way to safeguard your child is to build up her immunity.
– Give your child a healthy, well balanced diet. Avoid junk food.
– Hot soup is a good snack as well highly nutritious for your child.
– Encourage the habit of eating green, leafy vegetables.
Jaggery is a yummy way to add iron to your child’s diet.
– Oranges will not only provide Vitamin C that wards off colds but also gives roughage for a healthy bowel.
– Honey also enhances immunity.
– A good night’s sleep is vital for good health.
– Keep your child fully vaccinated. Get a flu vaccine administered every year when the winters are approaching.

4. Know when to contact the doctor

– Though most colds and coughs can be managed at home, you must know when to contact your doctor. Contact your doctor if your child has sudden high grade fever (103 degrees F or above), if it is accompanied by diarrhoea or vomiting, or if they complain of fatigue and body ache.
– Do not try to self-medicate your child. Contact a doctor and follow his advice.

5. Skin protection

– Another area that requires care in winter is a child’s skin. Skin tends to get easily dehydrated in the cold. Moisturise your child’s skin and encourage fluid intake.
– Sunlight is good for your child but direct exposure to the winter sun can also cause damage to skin. Use sunscreen on exposed skin and a wide-brimmed hat to cover your child’s head and face.

Here’s hoping that the winters bring lots of festive cheer to your home and sniffles and sneezes stay away. Wish you and your child a healthy winter season!

A doctor, a healthcare administrator, an ever travelling army-wife and a hands-on mom who loves to bake, Dr Shivani Shourie gives multitasking a new definition. As if this wasn’t enough, she has recently taken up her long neglected passion for writing as well and is now juggling it all! Her writings are inspired by real life as she believes that everyone and everything around us has a unique story and someone must do the justice of weaving it into words. Shivani blogs at The Solitary Saunter.