In the cold and dry winter, influenced by the temperature variation, our physical functions and eating habits will change accordingly. The body of kindergarten children is not fully developed yet and their immune system is not strong enough to resist the weather change, so they are especially prone to common cold or other diseases in winter. To take care of your baby and spent a lovely winter, go on reading this article on winter health tips from our pediatrician.
Tip 1: Avoid over-dressing
Parents are often worried that their children cannot stand the chill and biting cold; therefore, they tend to dress their baby with so many layers of clothes, resembling a chubby snowman sometimes. The truth is, muffling up your children won’t make them healthy and even may lead to “Muggy syndrome” such as high fever, dehydration, short of breath and even coma in severe cases. Children are more active compare with the adult, therefore, the dressing principle is to make sure that they are neither too cold nor too hot. Check and feel their hands, neck, chest or the back, as long as it doesn’t feel chilly, it is fine. Parents should pay extra attention when entering the kindergarten which usually is very warm inside, take clothes on and off to protect the child from getting cold of temperature change.
Tip 2: Adapt to the cold
The human body is an automatic temperature-adjusting system that adapts to the environment. It will do more harm to the child if you keep them inside all the time during winter. Meanwhile, the cold resistance of a child can be strengthened through exercise. When cold air enters the respiratory system through the nose, the whole body is activated to make adjustments accordingly. When weather and air quality is good, encourage your baby to play outside because by doing so, they build up the defense against diseases both physically and mentally.
Tip 3: Balance the diet
In winter, parents are recommended to modify their babies’ diets and avoid eating cold or raw food. Under the general guideline of a diverse food intake, you can add more high-protein food like meat, egg and milk to produce more calories for winter. Meanwhile, don’t forget to add fiber-rich vegetables and fruits; otherwise, is likely to cause constipation in this dry season. Dietary fiber and water are two key factors to avoid this discomfort. The dietary fiber absorbs large amount of water, increases feces production and stimulates bowel movement to speed up the excretion. For instance, celery, white radish, spinach and apple are good for various enternal vitamin synthesis by the Escherichia coli. Literally, children are made of water and their daily fluid consumption equals body weight multiply by 80~100ml (i.e. a child weighs 5 kg needs 500ml fluid per day). It can be breast milk, water, natural fruit juice or soup, including cow milk as well. It is suggested to drink by multiple times and small amount each time.
Tip 4: Exercise properly
Most children are lively and active, even in the cold winter. Exercises help the body to warm up, regulate its metabolic function and strengthen the immune system. But try to avoid outdoor activities in heavy smog weather, extremely low temperature and windy days. On one hand, the heavy smog is harmful to their delicate respiratory system; on the other hand, if they can’t change the sweat-soaked cloth in time, it’s easy to catch cold.
Tip 5: Prevention
Children don’t know anything about prevention or quarantine, as a result, many diseases such as diarrhea and upper respiratory infection (URI) spread quickly by cross infection because of frequent physical contacts with the sick baby in kindergarten. Therefore, it’s the teachers and parents’ responsibility to teach them good sanitary habits like washing hands with soap before meals, avoiding sharing tableware, putting hands inside the mouth or holding food with dirty hands. In the case that the child already feels uncomfortable, if symptoms are mild, they can be sent home to rest. You may give the sick baby light food, enough fluid and symptom-relieving drugs (e.g. antifebrile). If the fever lasts more than 3 days, accompanied with heavy cough with phlegm, wheeze and withered spirit, please seek medical help from a pediatrician as soon as possible.
Tip 6: Regular ventilation
In winter, high room temperature and poor air circulation make ideal breading grounds for viruses and bacteria; as a result, winter is also the high peak season for respiratory diseases. Therefore, remember to open the window for better ventilation, especially in kindergartens where children are gathering. Also pay attention to the room temperature to prevent child dizziness or dehydration may due to the high temperature. Besides, humidifier and air purifier are also recommended to children for healthy ventilation as well.
Tip 7: Flu shot
Being a common respiratory disease of winter, flu causes high fever, headache, sore throat, cough and extensive discomforts while children are prone to develop severe complications. To safeguard the babies’ health, it is recommended that the kindergarten should remind the parents to arrange flu shots for their child that is usually starting September every year.
The flu tends to occur seasonally and it takes roughly 2 weeks for the vaccine to take effect, therefore, a kind reminder from the doctor: don’t wait till the outbreak, start vaccinating your family every year in October or November! Build the preventive circle to protect your loved ones as early as possible!
Hong Kong International Medical Clinic, Beijing provides 2016/2017 vaccination services to individual and group clients. Group (over 20 people) reservation is entitled to an onsite injection service (free of door-to-door charges).
For more information, please contact:
Individual: (010) 6553 9752 firstname.lastname@example.org
Group: (010) 65539751 email@example.com