CHENNAI: Children are susceptible to infections during winter. Respiratory infections, such as the flu and common cold, sore throat, and sinusitis are the most common illnesses during this season. Since these infections are highly contagious, it is crucial to monitor early symptoms and take preventive measures.
(The writer is a senior consultant-neonatology & paediatrics, at Aster CMI Hospital)
Vaccination: Ensure the child is up to date with all the vaccinations; flu vaccination is crucial.
Surrounding hygiene: Keep the surroundings clean, and sanitise the toys, and the most frequently touched surfaces.
Hand hygiene: Practice hand hygiene and encourage children to wash their hands frequently.
Social distancing: Practice social distancing and avoid getting in contact with anyone who has symptoms.
Nutrition: Follow a well-balanced diet that is high in protein, fibre, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. Avoid highly processed foods and junk food.
Adequate hydration: Drink at least 6-7 glasses of water even during colder months.
Respiratory etiquette: Always use a mask; covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow while coughing or sneezing as it is instrumental in reducing the transmission of respiratory droplets.
Adequate rest: Rest plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to combat illnesses. One should sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day, which is vital for optimal immune system function.
Avoiding contact with infected individuals: Within close quarters of schools and playgrounds, contact with infected children can lead to illnesses. Children should avoid close contact with infected individuals and the use of face masks.
Specific focus on influenza and flu: Children are particularly susceptible to influenza and flu during winter. Taking precautions, such as timely vaccinations. It is crucial to be aware of specific medical perceptions, considering factors like the child’s health history and potential allergic reactions to vaccines.
Timely medical consultation: Seeking medical attention promptly when a child displays signs of illness is crucial for early detection and treatment.
Coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, and fever are the most common symptoms. Additionally, children may experience extreme fatigue, body aches, and discomfort.
When to consult a doctor
When the high fever lasts for more than 5 days
Dehydration due to vomiting and inability to keep fluids down
Loose stools that lasts for more than a week
Difficulty in breathing and rashes all over the body