By Louise Ratcliffe, Information Officer
I love Winter. Cold, crisp air. Big blue sky. Wearing all my hand-knits finally after 9 months of baking in a singlet and shorts.
However Winter bugs can be a big problem for those of us with children, especially if those children have a disability or health impairment, which can make it easier for them to catch bugs, and harder for them to understand how to protect themselves and their family from passing on the germs.
Obviously if your child has a health issue that prevents them having specific medication or vaccinations, you should consult with your child’s doctor about how best to protect them, but we have some general tips for you to share with friends and family about helping to keep us all healthy over the chilly season.
We also have some strategies for teaching children basic hygiene such as hand washing and nose-blowing.
Wash your hands!
We all know handwashing is one of the best ways of preventing the spread of bugs, but do we all know how to properly wash our hands?
The NHS UK website has a short video and visual guide on the best way to wash our hands:
Having a good range of fresh fruit and veg in your diet along with meat, fish, pulses and starchy foods is the best way to fuel your body and enable it to fight off seasonal invaders, as well as heal and rebuild if you do get sick. It can be difficult to make sure our children are eating enough, especially if they have food issues, so have a look at our article on picky eating – https://parent2parent.org.nz/picky-eating/ – and talk to your medical professional about supplements or vitamins that your child might benefit from as well.
Practice good food hygiene
Food poisoning and tummy bugs are no fun for anyone involved. Here are some tips on keeping ourselves safe from the nasties – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/10-ways-to-prevent-food-poisoning/
If you do get an upset tummy here are some ideas of how to manage it: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/food-poisoning/.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids and rest and if you feel worse or you are worried about symptoms you can always call Healthline for medical advice on whether you should manage it at home or see a health care professional. Call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 (24 hours).
The nose knows
Kids are not born knowing how to blow their noses or sneeze into their elbows, it’s up to us to teach them. There are a lot of developmental skills needed for children to be able to blow their noses independently, but we can still teach them as much as is appropriate for their age and abilities: https://www.theottoolbox.com/tips-help-kids-learn-how-to-blow-their-nose/
Keep yourself and your tamariki warm and well this winter whanau!