Flu, influenza, middle ear and tonsillitis, bronchiolitis, acute sinusitis… Decrease in air temperature almost invites upper respiratory tract infections. So much so that children under the age of 5 get upper respiratory tract infections 6-8 times a year. There are several reasons why children often get sick during the winter months: The decrease in air temperature and humidity causes the viruses to become stronger, and they also make it easier for them to stay alive and reproduce in the air for a long time.
Children are exposed to germs due to the increase in time spent in closed and crowded environments and the generally insufficient ventilation in these places. In addition to these, the weakening of the immune system in cold weather is another important factor that causes infectious diseases.
Although most of the upper respiratory tract diseases resolve with treatments applied for complaints without the need for antibiotic treatment, sometimes they can cause serious problems that require hospitalization. Therefore, it is of great importance to protect children from germs in the winter months.
1- Hands should be washed frequently
Child Health and Diseases Specialist Dr. Çiğdem Yavrucu pointed out that even though the disease is transmitted by respiration, dirty hands also carry a great risk in terms of contamination of microbes and continues her words as follows:
Germs are easily transmitted by contact with other people or objects with hands contaminated with mouth and nasal secretions. Children also pick up viruses by taking their contaminated hands to the mouth or nose. For this reason, have your child wash their hands before and after eating with plenty of soap and water for at least 10-15 seconds after going outside.
2- Bol bol su içmeli
The air in the room, which dries up during the winter months with the effect of the radiators, prepares the ground for the airways to dry and irritate. As a result, the risk of upper respiratory tract infections increases. You can also prevent the situation by making your child drink plenty of water. Most importantly, consuming enough water strengthens the immune system. It regulates blood circulation, increases metabolism, and facilitates the removal of harmful substances and toxins from the body.
3- Breast milk is very important
Breast milk is a miraculous food that is the source of all the nutrients the baby needs to strengthen the immune system. World Health Organization; Because of its numerous benefits, it recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months and continue to be breastfed with supplementary foods until the age of 2, after the 6th month. To keep your baby’s immune system strong, continue breastfeeding even when you have the flu.
4- Keep away from sugary foods
Excessive sugar consumption is an important factor that weakens the immune system. In addition, the obesity it causes causes other health problems and reduces body resistance. That’s why it is very important to keep your child away from harmful carbohydrates such as sugar.
5- Honey ginger or turmeric
Ginger’s natural antiallergic (antihistamine) property provides a natural therapeutic effect on cough. It both stimulates the immune system and provides antioxidant properties with the vitamin C, E, calcium, phosphorus and iron it contains. With its antioxidants, vitamins C and E, turmeric strengthens the immune system, provides a protective effect and resistance against diseases.
If your child is not allergic, have them consume foods such as ginger and turmeric with honey. Once a day, you can add 1 teaspoon of ginger or turmeric to 1 cup of milk, or you can mix 1 teaspoon of honey (if you are not allergic to honey) and 1 teaspoon of powder or fresh ginger to form a paste. In addition to these, you can add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger to 1 cup of linden. But beware! These foods are not suitable for children under 1 year old.
6- Get complete vaccines
It is very important that vaccines are made at the right time and completely against childhood diseases that can have serious consequences. Influenza vaccination should be provided in risky children with chronic diseases such as asthma, rheumatic heart disease and blood disease, and infants older than 6 months.
7- Do not wear thick clothes
To protect from diseases, choose clothes that are not sweaty, not too thick, and also not cold. In cold weather, instead of a single thick outfit, dressing thin clothes in one or two layers provides better protection in terms of heat balance. It is also very important to protect the heat of the feet well. You should choose cotton socks that do not sweat and are not too heavy, and shoes that provide good thermal insulation and are not too big for your feet. Do not neglect to wear a hat or beanie, as there may be a lot of heat loss from the head area. In addition, for temperature regulation, you should prevent the contact of the neck area with cold by wrapping the scarf. However, wash the scarf frequently, taking into account its contact with the mouth area, because germs enter our body mostly through the mouth and nose.
8- Encourage sports
Gain sports habits that increase body resistance against diseases by strengthening the immune system. Sports chosen in accordance with his age will provide a multifaceted benefit to the development of the child. You can direct your child to swimming and gymnastics at 4-5 years old, tennis or football at 7-8 years old, and after 9-10 years old to various sports such as basketball, volleyball or water polo.
9- Ventilate for at least 5 minutes
In indoor spaces, microbes are spreading rapidly to the environment through droplets scattered through coughs and sneezes. The risk of contamination of these microbes is very high in crowded and closed spaces such as schools. Therefore, it is extremely important to ventilate indoor areas for at least 5 minutes per hour in combating infections. Take care to regularly air the rooms in your home to avoid infections. In addition, you should adjust the temperature of the house well and prevent the air from being too dry.
10- get regular and adequate sleep
When children are tired and sleepless, their body resistance decreases and they get sick very easily. Make sure your child gets enough sleep to increase his ability to fight disease.
11- Must consume these foods
Dr. Çiğdem Yavrucu states that healthy nutrition plays an extremely important role in increasing body resistance and makes the following recommendations:
Children should have a diet rich in proteins, which are building blocks for our body. For this, at least 2 times a week fish, 2-3 times red meat, 2-3 times legumes (dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.) should be consumed. It is also very important that they eat eggs, cheese and olives every morning. Vegetables and fruits that contain plenty of vitamins, especially orange, tangerine and pomegranate, which are vitamin C stores, should definitely be present on the table. Calcium and protein-rich milk, homemade yogurt that strengthen our immune system, probiotics such as kefir, and prebiotics such as bananas should be essential nutrients.
12- Don’t forget the nuts
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts strengthen the immune system thanks to the vitamin E, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids they contain. Have your child eat a handful of various dried fruits (such as 2-3 walnuts, 5-10 almonds, 5-8 cashews or pistachios, 8-10 nuts, 7-8 raisins, blueberries) every day.