16 Sep 2017 Keep children healthier this winter
by Katelin Whiddon
The fall and winter months tend to bring along more illnesses – in both children and adults. While there are many factors you cannot control to prevent your children from becoming ill, you can try to protect their health this winter as much as possible.
Having your children up to date on their vaccinations is one of the greatest ways you can prevent some of the more serious illnesses. Vaccinations can protect from many debilitating diseases that can affect your children year round. Some vaccinations help combat illnesses that tend to run more rampant in the colder months, when children and their germs stay cooped up inside.
Be sure to take your children in for their wellness visits and talk to their pediatrician to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations to try to protect them as best as you can.
Another simple way to prevent the spread of many germs is good hand washing.
Of course, we want to encourage children to wash their hands frequently – especially after blowing their nose, using the restroom and before eating. As parents, we need to be vigilant about good hand hygiene for ourselves as well.
We also can spread illnesses from our hands to our children, most commonly when preparing foods.
In addition to hand washing, we should teach our children to refrain from touching their faces any more than absolutely necessary as the eyes, nose and mouth are the most likely pathways for germs to enter our bodies.
Having a balanced diet can help keep our bodies healthy and better suited to fight off illnesses. Prepare meals with fruits and vegetables and limit the sugary, processed foods for your children and family. A daily multivitamin is never a bad idea for children and adults alike. This will help to ensure we have the proper nutrients our bodies need to function to the best of their abilities.
We often overlook the importance of a good night’s rest. Sleep allows our bodies to rest and rejuvenate. Without sleep, we are far more likely to become ill and have a harder time recovering. There are numerous theories as to why the body needs sleep, but all of them come to the same conclusion – sleep is vital.
Following all of these tips and more will not guarantee that your child will not be ill, but hopefully providing our bodies with the best tools to prevent and fight illnesses will keep us as healthy as possible.
A Conway native, Katelin Whiddon is a nurse practitioner at the Conway wound clinic for Arkansas Heart Hospital. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A University of Central Arkansas graduate, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and works in pediatrics.