It’s only about time until winter gets here. Everyone is excited to go ice skating, skiing, sledding, and building snowmen. Adults are busy buying gifts for their loved ones and are already preparing the house for all the festivities during the holidays. But for most parents, winter also meant preparing their kids for illnesses aggravated by the cold weather.
But is it true that winter is to blame for your kids getting sick during this time of the year?
Why Are Kids Getting Sick During Winter?
As it turns out, one can’t completely blame winter for your kids getting sicker during winter. More respiratory infections and other illnesses are recorded during winter because people spend more time indoors which means prolonged face-to-face contact. There is also low humidity in the air which means harmful viruses get to last longer in the air.
During summer and any other season, kids can spend more time outdoors to play. But during winter, we try to limit the amount of time they stay outdoors since the temperature outside is very cold. With the prolonged close contact with people indoors and the fact that viruses last longer in the cold and low humidity surroundings, kids are more prone to catch these viruses and get sick.
Childhood Illnesses Common During Winter
The flu, common colds, asthma, and other respiratory conditions are common in kids during winter. But did you know that there are other conditions more common during the cold months? Some of these are as follows.
Tooth Sensitivity and Cavities
Even your kid’s oral health can take a hit during winter. This is especially true for people who already have sensitive teeth. The teeth can experience thermal stress due to the cold weather and can make the teeth contract and eventually, crack.
Since we also tend to go for hot meals and drinks during winter, the heat can exacerbate the existing sensitivity. Add the fact that the holidays often come with sweet sugary foods, it can also cause cavities. Make sure to consult with your trusted kids’ dentist about their tooth sensitivity and cavities to avoid achy teeth from ruining their holidays.
Dry, Itchy Skin
The cold and low humidity tends to make the skin dry. Since we also spend more time indoors with your trusted heating system, it is quite easy for the skin to lose its moisture. The result is dry, itchy skin that can also exacerbate existing eczema.
It is also very tempting to choose a hot bath over a lukewarm shower in an attempt to keep the kids warm. But in reality, this can only add dryness to the skin. It would be best to go for a warm bath, keep the kids hydrated, use moisturizing creams on them, and check with a dermatologist if dry skin leads to eczema.
Kids and adults alike are more likely to gain weight in winter due to many reasons. For one, the festivities make it easy to indulge in tasty food and sugary treats. We also tend to slack more and exercise less in the cold weather, which means less physical activity to burn the extra calories we just consumed.
Parents should make it a point to encourage kids to stay active even during winter. Give them more reasons to hop out of bed and keep moving instead of simply eating and hibernating. Kids need guidance on how often they can eat unhealthy food items and hydrate themselves every once in a while.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Even kids are not safe from winter blues. Some parents tend to brush off the signs and symptoms of SAD thinking it is simply the cold making the kids grumpier and wanting to sleep longer. Parents should watch out for the following warning signs and symptoms of SAD that usually persist for two weeks.
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling tired or irritable
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Changes in appetite (craving for carbohydrates)
- Decreased interest in things they usually enjoy doing
Encouraging kids to stay active and healthy is a good way to discourage SAD. Have them spend more time outdoors, socialize with friends and family, keep them hydrated and feed them healthy and nutritious food. Stay connected to your child and make sure they know they can come to you to talk about their feelings or struggles.
We can only do so much to protect our kids from getting sick especially during winter. But what we can do is to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle to fight the winter blues away. Make sure to serve lots of healthy food and drinks and to set up fun activities the kids will surely love. Don’t hesitate to consult with a professional if their condition gets worse. This way, we can have better peace of mind that the kids are less likely to get sick this coming winter.