Keeping your family healthy during winter is no mean feat. Here are some tips to help your family fend off the germs and recover more quickly.
Signs and symptoms: Fever and chills, sore throat, dry cough, headache, fatigue and body aches. Influenza may also lead to more serious complications like pneumonia. The worst symptoms usually last about five days, but coughing can continue for two to three weeks.
What to do? While your child is unwell, keep them away from school and preschool and make sure they have plenty of rest and fluids.
Influenza immunisation is recommended for children and is free for children from 6-months with an ongoing medical condition. More info at: www.fightflu.co.nz/information-for-parents/
Signs and symptoms: Sore throats, runny or blocked noses, watery eyes and sneezing, or coughs can last one to two weeks.
What to do? As there is no cure, it comes down to alleviating symptoms, but please note many over-the-counter cough and cold remedies are not suitable for children under the age of 6-years. Most colds will clear up of their own accord within a few days. Ensure your child has plenty of rest and a good intake of fluids. Keep your child away from school or preschool in the first few days when symptoms are at their worst.
Signs and symptoms: This is a lower-airway infection (ie, lung infection). Symptoms include cough, fever, wheezing and, in more serious cases, rapid heartbeat and rapid, shallow breathing.
What to do? While the symptoms are usually not severe, babies and infants with much smaller airways, and who may have other chronic illnesses, can be seriously affected. You can care for a child who is not seriously ill at home by making sure they rest, have pain relief and plenty to drink.
If your child becomes drowsy or non-responsive, or if your child has any kind of difficulty breathing, then seek medical advice immediately. Visit your GP if your child starts to get dehydrated or if symptoms do not improve.
10 ways to keep your family well this winter
- Teach kids to cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow (not their hands).
- Encourage lots of hand-washing and throrough drying.
- Keep your home at a comfortable, even temperature (between 18-20°C).
- Keep your children warm in cold weather with gloves, socks and hats.
- Stay away from other sick kids and don’t send your child to preschool/school if unwell.
- Ensure the whole family gets enough sleep; minimise late nights.
- Serve plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit (soups and smoothies are great for this).
- Don’t feed the kids sugary, fatty foods.
- Make sure your children drink enough fluids.
- Minimise screen time, keep the family active and spend time out in the fresh air.