Welcome to our new contributing writer, Dr. James Hubbard of My Family Doctor Magazine, who will be writing for our Health Corner column. Having a doctor in the house definitely works for me!
The following is an article written for HomemakerBarbi.com by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H., publisher of James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor, the magazine written by health-care professionals. Read more from Dr. Hubbard at his blog, and get special holiday gift pricing on subscriptions.
9 Tips for Keeping Kids Healthy in the Winter
Prevent infections by getting your children to:
1. Exercise. It boosts immunity. Let them outside for a half-hour or more unless the weather is horrible. (Cold weather does not cause infections. Instead, the culprit is exposure from other sick kids, exacerbated by crowding inside to get out of the cold.)
2. Use tissues. Sharing is not good when it comes to germs. Teach them to use tissues properly to cover their mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing. Just using a hand for cover does not work as well since most germs are spread by contact. So …
3. Wash hands frequently. Teach them the proper technique: Wash with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds. (Sing “Happy Birthday” twice, says the CDC.) Lead by example. The Scrub Club has some fun online games to help.
4. Consider the flu shot. The CDC recommends it for all children 6 months to 18 years old. Fear of needles? It’s OK to use the nasally inhaled vaccine for those who don’t have asthma and are over 2 years old.
5. Use a humidifier in the bedroom. The winter air can dry up the mucus that protects your airways.
6. Eat a nutritious breakfast to boost immunity.
Prevent trauma by:
1. Protecting them from space heaters and fireplaces. Little ones fall without warning. Every year, I see burns and hear crying (from the parents mostly).
2. Layering. The kids need to get outside, but to stay warm. After they start to exercise, they may need less cover. Don’t forget about the head and hands. Use common sense. Some days it may just be too cold.
3. Using helmets for sledding.
After all that, your child will probably get a cold occasionally. Keep your little one home a couple of days to rest until he or she feels better. Trust me, the teacher won’t mind. For more great health information from your family doctor, subscribe to My Family Doctor’s RSS!