Winters in India are varied. Some parts of India experience severe cold and snow while in some parts it is beautiful chilly weather. However winter brings with it some common viruses and organisms that cause common illnesses. As we are aware, during any weather change, it is children that are affected easily and prevention is better than cure, hence as parents, we should be aware of these common illnesses, how they are caused, and how they can be avoided.
Here is a list of the most common winter illnesses in children:
1.Common cold and fever: common cold and fever is a viral infection. It is the most common illness in any season. The symptoms are runny nose or a blocked nasal passage, sneezing, sore throat, headaches, and fever. The best way to combat common cold is to keep warm and drink lots of water, especially Glucose water. Rest during cold and fever is crucial as the body recovers when it rests.
2.Ear infection: ear infections mostly occur during winters because upper-respiratory infections such as cold and flu are on the rise then, too. Children who are 2 and younger tend to get ear infections because of the small size and shape of their Eustachian tubes. Ways of easing ear infection: do warm compresses, keep your child hydrated, and keep their head elevated.
3.Stomach Flu:stomach flu in the winters is mostly cause by ‘Norovirus’. Stomach flu is contagious; this is a virus that is in the air year-round. However, during the winters people stay indoors in close proximity to each other hence it spreads faster. The symptoms of stomach flu are loose motions, stomach cramps, fever, chills, vomiting, and nausea. There’s no specific treatment for the viruses that cause stomach flu. The best way to avoid the stomach flu is to stay clean and maintain good hand hygiene – wash your hands with warm water often.
4.Itchy skin: Winter cause dryness in the skin as it takes away the natural barrier, creating dry, itchy, and irritated skin. Apply child skin-friendly moisturizer regularly to keep skin hydrated, drink lots of water, and give them Vitamin D rich food. 5.Sinusitis: there are two kinds of sinusitis: acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis can be triggered by cold or allergies and will most often than not get cured on its own. While chronic sinusitis lasts longer and is caused by infections. The symptoms of sinus are headaches, nasal congestion, loss of tastes, pain, fever, sore throat.
Organisms are everywhere, they are part of nature and they are invisible to the naked eye. The best way to keep illnesses at bay is to help your child build a strong immune system. Hence it is important to introduce them to a healthy diet right from the beginning. With every season you must add foods that are rich in preventing the common illnesses other than the regular vegetables and fruits that are part of your child’s daily diet. Instil healthy hygiene habits in your child – bathing regularly, brushing twice a day, good hand hygiene whenever entering the home from outdoors etc. However, we encourage you to let them play outdoors, with peers and in the sand/ mud as getting dirty and exposure to dust and mud aids in overall immune building. Work on building your child’s immune system so that they can fight these common illnesses.