Winter is the season for snow, warm hats and coats, and cups of hot cocoa, but it is also the time for colds, flu and other health issues. Parents, help this winter go a bit easier with these important health and safety tips.
Prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Colds and flu are caused by viruses. Viruses are spread more easily when children are in school or in close contact with one another. Remind children to wash hands often and use hand sanitizer between hand washes.
Use proper “cough and sneeze etiquette.” Use a tissue or the bend of the elbow to block germs and bacteria spread through coughing and sneezing.
Recognize when your child is too sick for school. Keep your child at home when he/she has a temperature of 100o or higher even after medication, is vomiting or has diarrhea, or their eyes are pink and crusty. Call the doctor or school nurse if these symptoms last longer than 2 days or if your child still has asthma symptoms even after taking asthma medication.
Get your yearly flu shot. The flu vaccine can help prevent the flu or lessen its effects.
Hygiene & Health
Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water to help reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. Teach your children to wash hands for at least 20 seconds (the length of time that it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice.)
Change toothbrush after your child gets sick. Germs can hide in the bristles and make your child sick again.
Do not share hats, combs or headsets/earbuds. Head lice can be spread through the sharing of various items of clothing, such as hats or scarves, as well as items such as combs, hair accessories or headphones/earbuds. Check your child’s hair frequently and minimize head-to-head contact.
Eat well. A healthy diet can help build the body’s immune system.
Get plenty of sleep. Ample sleep is important to a healthy immune system. Ten (10) hours of sleep is recommended for younger children while children aged 10-17 should get 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night.
Use a cool mist humidifier. Added humidity in the home can help prevent nosebleeds and dry skin.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Think about using a reusable water bottle rather than drinking from a water fountain.
Dress warmly. Warm clothes make outside play more fun Warm coats, hats, boots, and gloves or mittens can protect the body when going to and from school or playing outside.
Snow can be fun, but play safely. Limit the amount of time playing in cold temperatures. Check children for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. When sledding, go downhill sitting up and feet first, instead of headfirst. Stay away from roads, trees and other obstacles.
Ice can be deceptive. Children may be tempted to walk or slide onto ice-covered ponds, but the ice is probably not thick enough to support their weight.
This winter, remember to stay warm, play safely, and stay healthy! See you in school!