How to prevent winter illnesses in toddlers?
With the change of season and the arrival of autumn and then winter, many diseases well known to parents are reappearing: gastroenteritis, bronchiolitis, nasopharyngitis, otitis ...
On the other hand, we have many prejudices about diseases and why we catch them: the cold, the fragility of one child in relation to another, contagion… These are not always the real reasons why your children fall ill. We explain everything there is to know about these diseases, their symptoms and how to prevent them .
The different diseases typical of winter:
All winter illnesses end with "ite". This suffix indicates that it is an inflammation of a part of the body in particular: throat, ear, sinuses ...
The usual symptoms of gastroenteritis are stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
However, contrary to popular belief, it is not a "very" contagious disease. In fact, contagion occurs only through contaminated stools, by touching your face after taking care of your baby for example. To avoid the spread of this disease in your family circle, it is important to wash your hands regularly, as well as those of your children. Remember not to touch your face if you have not yet washed your hands, after changing your diaper, for example.
To treat gastroenteritis the best treatment remains hydration and digestive rest.
Bronchiolitis is a disease that only exists in children . It is the equivalent of the common cold in adults. Symptoms of the bronchiole can be difficulty in breathing, coughing fits, wheezing in the voice… it sounds like asthma but it isn't.
Bronchiolitis is a contagious disease that can be caught by direct, hand-carried or airborne contact. To avoid spreading your own cold to your child, which would then turn into bronchiolitis, wash your hands regularly and do not kiss babies' faces or hands (or even their feet if they put them in their mouths).
There is no actual treatment for bronchiolitis, it is mainly a question of improving the comfort of your child by regularly cleaning his nose and by dividing his meals.
Nasopharyngitis is a typical winter disease , found in both children and adults. It is characterized by a sore throat and runny nose.
It is a contagious disease through airborne contact. To avoid passing your nasopharyngitis to your baby or catching hers, remember to wash your hands regularly and do not kiss babies' faces or hands (or even their feet if they put them in their mouths).
No treatment is needed for this disease. Paracetamol can be used to help bring down the fever, if there is any.
Otitis is a much more common disease in children than in adults. It is characterized by pain and severe discomfort in the ears.
It is not a contagious disease . Very often an ear infection is due to a badly treated nasopharyngitis which has gone up to the ears. To prevent this from happening, when your child has nasopharyngitis, remember to clean your baby's nose carefully and never do it while your toddler is on his back. It is better to favor the position sitting on the knees of the parent, or lying on the side.
To treat an ear infection, antibiotics are often necessary .
In any case, if your child feels unwell or has worrying symptoms , do not hesitate to see your doctor.
During a covid period, children cannot be kept in a crèche if they have the following symptoms: fever, cough or breathing difficulties, diarrhea, etc. In this case, you can visit your doctor who will decide what to do. .
Preventive actions in the face of diseases:
Here is a look back at a few simple and accessible actions that help prevent the onset of winter diseases. To be applied by toddlers, like parents, for maximum prevention!
Wash one's hands :
Hand washing is the first preventive gesture against disease. Our hands are in contact with many surfaces that can be contaminated: furniture, screens, objects ... In toddlers it is all the more true as they are used to putting their hands and objects in their mouths. that they hold.
Hand washing, carefully, with soap, and recurring, is therefore the best solution to avoid the risk of contagion . Especially before a treatment or hugs, before eating; and after a treatment or having touched something, or when returning home.
At Babilou we train our early childhood professionals in hand washing. We take care of the hands of toddlers and our professionals, for whom it is the working tool, using mild soap bearing an ecological label .
With your children, do not hesitate to make this moment a game so that they do not hesitate to do it and that they adhere to this new habit.
Air out the mind and body:
We have many prejudices concerning the cold and the disease : "cover yourself well", "it is not surprising that you are sick, you did not have your scarf" ... These received ideas are not, contrary to what one can think, the causes of the disease.
If a child is not cold, it is not necessary to insist on covering him up. The important thing is to understand why he absolutely does not want to put on his coat or his socks: is it outright opposition to your request or because he is really hot?
In the latter case, you can leave him in the outfit he feels good in. Children regulate their body heat differently from adults and are often less cautious.
It is also important to keep in mind that it is not the cold that makes winter sick but rather confined and overheated spaces where microbes can multiply. That is why it is important that children continue to play outdoors in winter. Whatever the weather, don't hesitate to go play in the park or in your garden. And for your interior, remember to ventilate at least twice a day.
Beware of beliefs and prejudices:
Another prejudice that we often find about diseases concerns a possible "fragile ground": "he always gets sick". From the moment we strongly believe in it and repeat it, we will make it a belief.
This is also called a limiting belief : it is an ingrained idea that sends a powerful message to the body. If you think that you are going to get sick, it will happen because your body is going to try to live up to your belief.
When we say this type of sentence to a child, it is the same thing, the child has a fundamental unconscious loyalty towards adults and especially towards his parents; he will therefore also endeavor to confirm their belief, in a totally unconscious way.
We can therefore work on these beliefs and avoid transmitting our "automatic thinking". This can help the child in terms of his health , but also in any other area of his development.
In winter, look on the bright side, let your child have fun and enjoy the outdoor spaces. Indeed, the outside air is always healthier than that of a closed room. Remember that falling ill is not inevitable , it is even sometimes a necessary step to develop immunity .
And finally, remember to wash your hands and those of your little ones regularly to reduce the frequency of these little winter worries.