Winter is coming (to steal the now iconic line from hit TV show, Game of Thrones). It means that days are getting rapidly shorter and temperatures are starting to fall – and this change in the seasons also brings with it new health risks that dads must be aware of. Hitesh Dodhia, Superintendent Pharmacist at PharmacyOutlet.co.uk, shares his top health tips with DAD.info…
The common cold
Everyone knows that when the winter chill sets in, colds and flus become more common, sparking a vicious circle of infection and illness. Whether in school or the office, children and adults alike will be surrounded by people carrying the common cold, with the ailment seemingly spreading at will.
But how do you stop it? It’s the age old question and, naturally, a very difficult one to answer. One of the main problems with the common cold is that people can be infected and spread it before they begin showing symptoms – so attempting to avoid sniffling colleagues or classmates will do little good. Don’t abandon all hope though; there are some top tips for limiting your child’s chances of catching a cold this winter:
1. Make sure they wash their hands frequently – touching germ-infested items and allowing these to remain on the body is one of the most common ways of becoming infected.
2. Encourage them not to rub their face – once touching germ-covered objects, then rubbing the face is an easy way to allow these germs to enter the body.
3. Make sure they have a heathy diet – ensuring a child eats healthy foods such as plenty of fruit and vegetables, and drinks lots of water, is a good way of building up the body’s ability to fight off a cold.
4. Keep sick children away from school – as noted above, people can carry a cold before they show the symptoms, but although the damage may already be done, parents can help prevent the illness spreading further by keeping a sick child out of school or nursery. Each school will usually have its own policy around this issue, so be sure to look into it.
Escalating asthma issues
The colder months that lie ahead can also cause particular trouble for people – principally children and the elderly – who suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as increasingly prevalent colds and flus can trigger more severe respiratory problems. Paracetamol is useful for controlling the main symptoms of a common cold; it can also prevent temperatures from escalating and asthma issues from worsening, but be very careful in the dosage given to children.
If your child does suffer from asthma, it’s important to ensure they have a functioning, in-date inhaler. Another useful tip: for those who many not be aware, the NHS’s Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) means that patients can get prescriptions such as inhalers delivered straight to their home, saving trips to the pharmacist or GP on a freezing cold winter’s day.
Staying in the home… or not
Over winter, as days get darker and colder, many people opt to stay at home far more often. For many children, playing outdoors gives way to indoor fun, so make sure the house is clean and as dust-free as possible – this can help prevent children from catching any unwanted illnesses.
That being said, it is important that children do still spend as much time outside as possible to ensure they get natural light, exercise and fresh air. And for those children who do brave the elements and continue to play outside, parents must make sure they wrap up warm. Low temperatures can wear down the immune system and open your child up to a range of conditions beyond the common cold such as Raynaud’s phenomenon (when fingers and toes change colour and become very painful), cold sores and – albeit only in very serious cases – hypothermia.
Always be prepared
A final important piece advice to leave you with: it’s an absolute must that your medicine cabinet is stocked with all the essentials. This is true all year round, but over winter when colds become more common and leaving the house becomes far less appealing, making sure you have everything from vitamin supplements and bandages to cold medicine and cough syrup in the house is crucial. It will mean you can tackle any health problems promptly, helping to limit their disruption to both you and your child’s day-to-day lives.
Hitesh Dodhia is the Superintendent Pharmacist at PharmacyOutlet.co.uk, the local online pharmacist. As well as running a physical premises in Surrey, PharmacyOutlet.co.uk provides online advice, support and a wide range of pharmaceutical and health products to help people lead healthier lives, and also specialises in the NHS’s Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), which means they can arrange, dispense and deliver your NHS repeat prescriptions.