We are lucky to live in an area with an abundance of recreational opportunities during the winter season. That’s why contracting an illness can be even worse during the holidays. We want to make sure your kiddos aren’t missing school and enjoying the winter season by staying happy and healthy. “Little kids tend to get sick pretty frequently this time of year. At school, they’re gathered indoors in large groups, sharing everything. Kids’ immune systems are still developing, so they tend to pick up everything” (Dr. Booker, BMC Pediatrics, 2016). Here are a few tips to help you tackle seasonal illness and ensure a healthy winter for your child!
- “The most important way to ensure a quiet, healthy flu season is by getting yourself and your children vaccinated against the influenza virus. The best time to do this, is before flu season even starts. Bend Memorial Clinic Pediatrics will be offering the influenza vaccine beginning in late September. Any child over 6 months of age should be vaccinated. If it is their first year being vaccinated against influenza, they will need a booster vaccine one month after the initial dose. If they have had the vaccine in prior years then they only need one vaccine. The influenza virus causes ‘the flu’ which presents as high fever, cough, runny nose, headache, and muscle aches. It is also much more severe than the common cold and carries a higher risk of complications and hospitalization.” -Dr. Jennifer B. Schroeder, MD, BMC Pediatrics
- Proper Hand Washing
- Proper hand-washing techniques are extremely important for children to begin practicing. Make sure kiddos are washing their hands before eating, not coughing or sneezing into their hands, or putting fingers into their eyes, nose or mouth. Children encounter many germs at school and after school activities, so it is important to reduce their risk of illness by practicing proper hand washing techniques. This includes scrubbing between fingers and under nails and lathering for at least 20 seconds.
- Maintaining Child’s Regular Sleep Schedule
- During winter break, maintaining your child’s regular sleep schedule is extremely important for a healthy immune system. During winter, children’s immunity is lowered by cold and flu season. Establishing a consistent bedroom environment where it is quiet and dark with no computers, TVs, and phones in the bedroom is essential for beneficial sleep. To assess sleep guides for your child’s age group click here.
- Staying Hydrated
- When it’s cold outside, it is much harder to drink the necessary amount of water our bodies need than on a sunny day by the pool in summertime. Keeping your kiddo hydrated is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Hot teas and beverages also count toward daily liquid intake. Liquids helps growing bodies regulate temperature and provides cells, tissues and organs the nutrition to function and helps prevent illness.